4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE KENT STATE DEFENSE
– The defense was the worst in the MAC, allowing 467 yards and 37 points per game. The biggest culprit was a run defense that was pushed around way too much – the line couldn’t generate any pressure.
The loss of all three starters on the front three hurts, but it’s not like the production was there. There’s little bulk, so the rotation has to be there to keep everyone fresh. No matter how this works, generating more than 24 sacks is a must.
– The linebacking corps is getting some more help. It’s already okay in terms of experience, but it has to be more disruptive. Nick Faulkner and Kesean Gamble are good-sized tacklers for inside or out, and Mandela Lawrence-Burke – who made 76 tackles two years ago, but was hurt last season – will be a part of the group to use his speed to make big things happen.
– The lack of a pass rush didn’t help the secondary that wasn’t totally miserable, but didn’t come up with enough picks or big stops. The safety tandem of Jamal Parker and Jeremiah Salaam should be a big positive as the year goes on, and Jamal Parker is a smallish baller at one corner. Now they all need a little help from the defensive front.