4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNLV DEFENSE
– Six starters and five of the top eight tacklers return to a defense that gave up 454 yards and 37 points per game, having big problems against the decent passers and wasn’t strong enough against the run. However, there’s hope, because …
– The linebacking corps should be okay. The Rebels get back junior Farrell Hester in the middle, and senior Javin White is back as the team’s leading tackler making 74 stops. However, watch out for former Minnesota QB and JUCO transfer Vic Viramontes to step into a role in fall camp, and expect more out of hybrid Gabe McCoy either at outside linebacker or as an edge rushing end.
– Can the secondary be any sharper? Three JUCO transfers are about to become major factors in the rotation – with CB Jeremiah Houston the best of the bunch – but senior Jericho Flowers is all but certain at one corner spot. The safeties are a wee bit stronger around senior Evan Austrie – who made 66 tackles last year – to go along with the JUCO transfers.
– There’s a lot to like about the defensive front. 330-pound Kolo Uaskie is a big body on the inside, and there are plenty of pass rushing options to upgrade the playmaking in the backfield. The JUCO types are about to bring some options, and getting back a healthy Nick Dehdashtian helps for the versatility.