4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE OREGON STATE DEFENSE
– The defense had a few issues. It was the second-worst in the nation – allowing 537 yards and 46 points per game – hurt mostly by the second-worst defense in college football. At least it’ll be an experienced group with the top ten tacklers and eight starters returning along with seven JUCO transfers, beginning with …
– The linebacking corps has the upside to be great. Hamlicar Rashed is the team’s best playmaker in the backfield with edge rush skills, and 235-pound Shemar Smith is back on the inside after coming up with 85 stops. Veterans are in place for the other two stops, there’s depth, and coming in this summer is 6-4, 253-pound Oklahoma transfer Addison Gumbs to join Rashed in an outside pass rushing role.
– The secondary is also full of veterans, but there’s no developed depth, and it’s coming off a season with just one of the team’s three interceptions. Leading tackler Jalen Moore returns to one safety spot, but the corner spots are up for grabs. Junior Isaiah Dunn should hold down a job after starting for half of last season, but the recruiting class has to help contribute right away.
– There was little no pass rush from the front three, and less happening against the run. At least there’s a whole lot of size.
6-2, 320-pound JUCO transfer Jordan Whittley will be stuck in the middle of the whole thing and asked to gum up everything right away, 6-3, 385-pound Elu Aydon is a giant body to get through, and 6-0, 269-pound sophomore bowling ball Isaac Hodgins is coming off a 30-tackle season.