What You Need To Know About The Arizona State Defense
– ASU not only has a defensive-minded head coach in Herm Edwards, but it scored big getting San Diego State defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales to take over. Now he has to find players who can step in and play for all of the lost talent.
ASU was occasionally better than the stats after allowing 450 yards and 33 points per game, but now it has to replace the top four and seven of the top ten tacklers. The biggest part of the puzzle that has to be put together is …
– The secondary needs to be stronger. Teams were able to throw at will at times against the Sun Devil secondary, but to be fair, ASU had to face Texas Tech, Sam Darnold, Colorado’s Steven Montez, Josh Rosen, and NC State’s Ryan Finley.
Big-tackling safeties J’Marcus Rhodes and Chad Adams are done, but corner Kobe Williams is coming off a decent season and Dasmond Tautalatasi made 22 stops at once safety spot. At least going into the season, Chase Lucas might be the team’s best defender.
– Almost all of the pass rushing production is done. ASU got to the quarterback, but only 6.5 of the 36 sacks return. Jay Jay Wilson is back as a hybrid linebacker, but JoJo Wicker is gone on the other side, and the tackles have to be replaced.
Linebacker is an issue with the team’s two top tacklers – Christian Sam and DJ Calhoun – done. This is where the recruits kick in, starting with JUCO transfer Merlin Robertson along with – potentially – speedy Reggie Hughes.
Biggest Key To The Arizona State Defense
The run defense has to hold up. The secondary was a bigger issue throughout the year, but the run defense was the bigger indicator of success. The line stunningly held up well against Washington and Utah, and got beaten on by most of the top ground games on the slate.
The Sun Devils were 1-4 when allowing 160 yards or more – getting destroyed by USC, Stanford and San Diego State – and got hammered for 20 touchdown runs over the final six games.