4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PURDUE DEFENSE
– There are good pieces that have to be a whole lot stronger for the Big Ten’s second-worst defense. The pass rush and playmaking in the backfield have to be stronger, and the run defense has to avoid the big gashes. It all starts with a potentially nasty linebacking corps, working around all-star Markus Bailey on the strongside and grad transfer Ben Holt – WKU’s 2018 leading tackler – somewhere in the mix.
– Everyone of note returns to the defensive front, but the new guys are need to be the stars after a little bit of time and work. Freshman George Karlaftis is going to be special, and less-heralded recruit Dontay Hunter will eventually be a factor. However, the front four – including the pass rushing ends – as is isn’t all that bad around terrific veteran DT Lorenzo Neal.
– The pass defense was the fourth-worst in America, allowing 285 yards per game and getting hit for 12 yards per completion. Junior S Brennan Thieneman is a good one who can hit, but the corners have to be stronger and allowing the big shots down the field have to slow down. Purdue gave up 300 yards or more seven times.