4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE AIR FORCE DEFENSE
– Technically, the run defense was fine last season, but that’s partly because the secondary was being regularly torched. Three of the four starters are back – starting with star S Jeremy Fejedelem – but the group got hit for 244 yards per game and gave up 24 touchdown passes. Worse yet, it only generated seven picks with two coming in the finale win over Colorado State.
– The four-man linebacking corps has to come up with more big plays. Three starters return from the young group, and there’s decent size, but there wasn’t enough happening in the backfield and the run defense has to be a whole lot stronger. The tackles for loss were lacking from this group, and the pass rush was non-existent for long stretches.
– Jordan Jackson is the team’s best pass rusher from his spot up front in the 3-4, but the D needs 312-pound Mosese Fifita to hold his one on the nose. There’s not a whole lot of bulk up front, but the run D did a great job overall, only allowing one 200-yard day to Army.