4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEVADA DEFENSE
– What did you do with the Nevada defense that was such a doormat for so long? The Wolf Pack D that got ripped apart for 3,571 rushing yards in 2016 improved a bit in the first season under Jay Norvell and the new coaching staff, and last year allowed just 142 yards per game.
Overall, there were a few dud performances, but the Pack gave up 25 points or fewer eight times on the year. In 2017, the defense allowed 25 or fewer in just three games. Just five starters are back, but this defense knows how to produce.
– Four of the top five tacklers are done, but leading tackler Gabriel Sewell was one of the stars of the front six from his middle linebacker spot, but now he’ll work on the outside and veteran Lucas Weber will work mostly from the interior. These two should combine for close to 150 tackles. The linebacking corps will be fine and should be relatively deep, and …
– The D line will be a strength early on. Not having Korey Rush around anymore isn’t a plus, but there’s beef up front with 315-pound Dom Peterson at one spot and 275-pound Hausia Sekona next to him. As long as they’re holding firm against the run, they’ll be doing their jobs.
– The secondary will be a work in progress. Losing 53-tackle Nephi Sewell to Utah takes away one good safety, and not having CB Jomon Dotson and S Dameon Baber takes away two good pieces.
Daniel Brown is a good-tackling corner, and sophomore Tyson Williams can play at a number of spots, but this will be the defense’s biggest area of concern in fall camp.