4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WYOMING DEFENSE
– The defense wasn’t quite the killer it was expected to be and probably should’ve been, but it still managed to finish 19th in the country and allowed just 22 points per game. Eight of the top 12 tacklers are back, but the secondary loses tackling machines Andrew Wingard and Marcus Epps.
Alijah Halliburton finished fourth on the team with with 61 tackles, but the rest of the safeties are relatively inexperienced. Antonio Hull is back at one corner, and Tyler Hall is getting a shot on the other side after mostly working as a 190-pound hybrid linebacker.
– Leading tackler Logan Wilson is back in the middle of the linebacking corps after making 103 stops in an all-star season. 248-pound senior Cassh Maluia is bringing a little thump again after generating 46 tackles.
The depth isn’t there, though – it’ll take a bit to get the right parts in place – and the hope will be for sophomore Keyon Blankenbaker to go from being a decent corner who made 29 tackles, to a Nickel defender who’ll step in for Tyler Hall.
– The pass rush was lacking, and now the line has to replace all-star Carl Granderson on the outside and starting NT Sidney Malauulu on the nose. There’s not a lot of bulk inside with the tackles all checking in under 280 pounds, but there should be a decent rotation on the ends around veteran Garrett Crall on one side.