4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TULSA DEFENSE
– The Tulsa defense has players. It has veterans – nine starters are back – and now they know what they’re doing in the 3-3-5 alignment that had a few positives. But now the production has to come, especially against the run. The pass defense was the best in the American Athletic Conference, but that’s a technicality – the run D was pounded on for 233 yards per game.
– It starts with a pass rush that was non-existent at times and didn’t do nearly enough on third downs. It’s up to senior Trevis Gipson and sophomore Zaven Collins to become fixtures in opposing backfields, but everyone has to do more for a D that only came up with 14 sacks.
– The secondary is good, but again, there needs to be more of a pass rush to help the cause. LB Cooper Edmiston led the team in interceptions, but S Manny Bunch leads a solid group that will make plays, but just won’t do enough to take the ball away. The defensive backs won’t be the issue if the defense struggles again.