What You Need To Know About The Oregon State Defense
– Defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar spent the last few seasons coaching linebackers at Wisconsin. Wisconsin is pretty good at this whole defense thing, and now he’s bringing it to Corvallis as Jonathan Smith’s defensive coordinator.
The Beavers didn’t have the Pac-12’s worst defense, but the secondary was a huge issue, there wasn’t much happening behind the line, and it allowed a whopping 43 points per game.
With seven starters returning, including eight of the top nine tacklers, there’s hope for more production right out of the gate. However …
– The best player is gone. Manase Hungalu didn’t make every tackle for the Beaver defense; it just seemed like it. He’s done, but Jonathan Willis is back after finishing fourth on the team with 68 tackles, and there will be a rotation at the other inside job in the 3-4.
Bright Ugwoegbu made 55 stops and has the talent to be a top pass rusher if turned loose again – he made 5.5 sacks two seasons ago. Kee Whetzel is a safety-sized linebacker on the outside who can fly around behind the line.
– The front three has a whole lot of potential to step up and be a plus. Start with massive 380-pound Elu Aydon, with the upside to be a rock on the nose. The tackle-sized ends are going to be a positive, too, starting with 316-pound Kalani Vakameilalo, who showed promise with 20 tackles and two sacks last season.
It’s not going to be the job of the front three to get behind the line, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing if it did – the secondary needs the help.
Three starters are back in the defensive backfield, led by Jalen Moore at one safety spot and David Morris a the other, after they tied for second on the team with 75 tackles each.
The corner situation should be stronger if Dwayne Williams and Xavier Crawford can stay healthy. Both were knocked out early last season, but Williams was a good one two years ago. Shawn Wilson is back after making 34 tackles with a pick, and now …
Biggest Key To The Oregon State Defense
The D needs to take the ball away more, and it has to come up with a few third down stops. Interceptions have been an issue over the last few seasons, coming up with seven in each of the last two years and eight in 2015. The biggest issue, though, has been doing anything right on third downs.
The Beavers were dead last in the nation in third down stops, allowing teams to convert over 53% of the time. Nine teams were able to convert at least half of their attempts. To put this into perspective, UTEP and East Carolina were the only other teams to give up the 50% mark on the season.