4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TOLEDO DEFENSE
– Six starters and five of the top seven tacklers are gone from a defense that struggled overall and was disastrous against anyone who could throw.
Two starters are gone in the secondary in the 4-2-5 alignment, but senior safety Khalil Robinson is back after finishing second on the team with 69 tackles, and top corner Justin Clark returns.
Senior DeDarallo Blue is back in the hybrid star role after coming up with 41 tackles, and the other parts filling in should be okay. Again, it’s not like the pass defense was anything special before.
– The linebacker combination of Richard Olekanma and Tyler Taafe are done after combining for 139 tackles. 6-2, 210-pound senior Erik Davis is the first option to take over for Taafe in the middle, but he’ll be in a fight in fall camp for the job. 238-pound Jordan Fisher is the new star after finishing fourth on the team with 59 tackles – he should be the team’s leading tackler.
– Two starters might be done on the line, but it’s one of the team’s deepest areas with plenty of options and experienced producers to fit into the mix. Top pass rusher Tuzar Skipper is done along with dangerous interior pass rusher Reggie Howard, but 6-2, 216-pound sophomore Jamal Hines is a good veteran who should start to work more in the backfield. There will be a rotation in the interior around 292-pound senior Nate Childress and 290-pound sophomore Devonte Dunn.