What You Need To Know About The UTSA Defense
– The UTSA defense will still be the UTSA defense, but without several of the key parts. Head coach Frank Wilson knows how to coach up a D, and he’ll need new defensive coordinator Jason Rollins to be terrific right away after the Roadrunners finished fifth in the nation in total defense, second in pass defense, and eighth in scoring D.
Nothing changes – Rollins knows what he’s doing as a part of the Wilson staff for a third year – but the pressure is on to repeat the success under Pete Golding, who took off to be on the Alabama staff.
– Losing the defensive coordinator won’t matter too much, but not having Marcus Davenport around anymore is an issue. There are replacements to help fill in the hole left by the new New Orleans Saint, but it’s asking a whole lot for star JUCO transfer Lorenzo Dantzler or any of the parts of the pass rushing puzzle from last year to be another Davenport.
However, three starters are back up front, and most of the key backups return, too. The linebackers are able to bring the pressure as well, but that one Davenport-like alpha dog has to emerge.
– In all, four of the top six tacklers have to be replaced, but the safety tandem of C.J. Levin and Carl Austin is terrific, Josiah Tauaefa is a thumper in the middle of the linebacking corps, and the schemes are still in place to make this 4-2-5 D a killer again. However …
Biggest Key To The UTSA Defense
The corners have to come through. The pressure from Davenport and the D line went a long way to helping out the nation’s second-best pass defense, and corners Austin Jupe and Devron Davis had a lot to so with that. So did the four interceptions from FS Nate Gaines, who’s also gone.
The secondary looked terrific in spring ball, but that’s partly because the offense was still getting its feet wet. With games against dangerous Louisiana Tech, Marshall and North Texas offenses to deal with in conference play, the secondary has to shine again.