What You Need To Know About The Houston Defense
– The defensive line might just be the best among the Group of Five programs. Start with all-world tackle Ed Oliver, throw in TCU transfer Isaiah Chambers to add into the mix, and get fired up about the – cross fingers – healthy return of Jerard Carter after suffering a broken foot, and look out.
The Houston D was fine against the run, but even with Oliver, it didn’t do enough to get behind the line. Expect that to quickly change.
– The secondary is coming off a strange year, and it should be okay this time around. The Cougars didn’t just give up lots of yards; they gave up lots of big plays, too. The gave up 274 yards per game through the air and a whopping 11.2 yards per throw.
However, they only allowed ten touchdown passes and came up with 15 picks, giving away multiple scoring passes to Texas Tech and East Carolina, and that was it.
Two starters are back in the secondary, and Garrett Davis is a good all-around secondary who can pop, but the real excitement comes from the grad transfers with Notre Dame’s Nick Watkins and Ole Miss safety Deontay Anderson ready-made to shine.
– The linebacking corps doesn’t need an overhaul in the 3-4 alignment, but it could use some tweaking. Emeke Egbule is a good one – coming off a 62-tackle season – but leading tacklers D’Juan Hines and Matthews Adams are done.
Overall, the linebackers need to be more disruptive, despite the lack of experience and they need to come up with a solid rotation helped by the addition of Miami grad transfer Darrius Owens.
Biggest Key To The Houston Defense
The D line has to do more in the backfield. The defensive front seven as a whole has to do more to get behind the line, even though that’s not always the job of the front three.
The Cougars came up with 75 sacks in 2015 and 2016, but generated just 23 last season with 20 fewer tackles for loss than the preview season. Oliver will do his part, but Chambers and Carter have to be up to their billing. If they are, all of a sudden, everything else on the defense will start to work.