What You Need To Know About The WKU Defense
– Defensive coordinator Clayton White welcomes back a veteran group with seven starters returning after allowing a not-that-bad 377 yards and 27 points per game.
The secondary is the team’s biggest strength, four of the five starters return – WKU usually employs a Nickel defender – with safeties Drell Green, Devon Key and Ta’Corian Darden forming one of Conference USA’s best trios.
More interceptions would be a plus – with just ten picks – but DeAndre Farris might be the team’s top player. He’s holding down one corner job, but veteran Joe Brown has to be replaced on the other.
– Leading tackler Joel Iyiegbuniwe left early to try his hand at the NFL, but Masai White is a decent veteran leader who came up with 63 tackles. This is an interesting group with a nice mix of speed and athleticism along with some young thumpers. There isn’t a Iyiegbuniwe, though.
– The pass rush wasn’t there. The Hilltoppers came up with just 12 sacks and a mere 69 tackles for loss, and to make things worse, seven of those sacks are gone. Heath Wiggins is a decent all-around end, but the defense has to find a rotation to manufacture more pressure into the backfield.
There’s bulk in tackles Julien Lewis and Jeremy Darvin – a pair of 300-pounders who should be good against the run – but it’ll take the fall camp to come up with the right starting four.
Biggest Key To The WKU Defense
The D has to carry the team. The offense will eventually be fine, but it’s starting over in several areas and needs time. The veterans are on the defensive side, and now the group has to be far, far better at getting off the field.
The lack of a pass rush led to a lack of takeaways and not enough third down stops. The Hilltoppers allowed teams to convert 43% of their chances after checking in under the 40% mark over the previous two seasons. Basically, the WKU D will have to hold its own – and more.