4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE EASTERN MICHIGAN DEFENSE
– The defense that led the MAC in total and scoring D has to replace seven parts including the starts on the defensive front. The early departure of Maxx Crosby to the NFL stings, putting the pressure on junior Turan Rush and senior Clay Holford to step up on the outside and bring the pass rush. The beef is there in the interior with 6-3, 352-pound senior Ty Eddington and a good rotation around him.
– The top two tackling linebackers – Kyle Rachwal and Jaylen Pickett – are done after combining for 208 stops. It’s a thin group in the 4-2-5 with junior Terry Myrick looking to replace Pickett on the outside, and with a rotation early on – and help from the JUCO world – for the middle.
– The secondary will be the strength, starting with S Vince Calhoun coming off a strong 84-tackle season. He’s got the range at Rover, and Brady Hoying is a good 69-tackle veteran at another spot. Kevin McGill is coming off a three-pick season, bringing good size and experience at one corner.