What You Need To Know About The Washington Defense
– Look … out. If you liked the 2017 Washington defense that finished first in the Pac-12 and fifth in the nation in scoring D – allowing just 16.1 points per game – and led the league and finished eighth in college football allowing 298 yards an outing, you’re going to love this version.
Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake is back along with nine starters and 11 of the top 14 tacklers. And it all starts up front with a run defense that finished fourth in the nation, allowing just 101 yards per game.
– The line loses Vita Vea, and needs All-Pac-12 tackle Greg Gaines to be fine after banging up his knee, but the the front three will be a rock again. Jaylen Johnson can get behind the line, but mostly, the job of the line is to hold up so the linebacking corps can take all the glory.
Ben Burr-Kirven is back after leading the team with 84 tackles from his spot in the middle, but he’s hardly alone. Ryan Bowman leads a dangerous group of outside options to rotate in and fly into the backfield, and Tevis Bartlett will be a factor again after leading the team with 12 tackles for loss.
– The secondary is beyond loaded. This is a deep, talented, and experienced group with size, options, and too many good players to get on the field at once after allowing just ten touchdown passes and came up with 15 picks.
Safeties Taylor Rapp and Myles Bryant are among the team’s leading returning tacklers, corner Byron Murphy led the team with three picks in his freshman season, and JoJo McIntosh is an All-Pac-12 performer with 117 tackles over the last two years.
Biggest Key To The Washington Defense
Handle the big-time running backs. The Huskies have been amazing against the run over the last few seasons, but they allowed multiple touchdowns twice last year.
One time was against Bryce Love – 166 yards and three scores – in the loss to Stanford, and the other was when Saquon Barkley went off for 137 yards and two touchdowns in Penn State’s Fiesta Bowl victory.
Before that, the UW 2016 season ended after getting pounded on for 180 yards and two scores by Bo Scarbrough in the College Football Playoff loss to Alabama.
The D will have to deal with Love again, has to go on the road to face Oregon, and starts the season off against Auburn’s ground attack.