4. College Football News Preview 2020: SMU Mustangs Defense 3 Things To Know
– It’s not that the SMU defense was bad. It just wasn’t good against the teams that knew how to run an offense. The D led the nation in sacks and should still bring pressure from all sides, but it also got lit up like a Christmas tree for 289 passing yards per game.
There weren’t too many high-powered offenses on the first part of the slate – part of the reason for the 8-0 start – but Memphis, the Navy ground game, and somewhat stunningly, East Carolina went crazy. Throw in the bowl loss to Florida Atlantic, and SMU allowed 500 yards or more of total offense in five of the last six games. Now it has to rebuild a bit.
– Yeah, the sacks and tackles for loss came in bunches. but junior Turner Coxe is the lone returning starter up front. There’s bulk on the inside, and there should be a decent rotation on the ends, but the run defense might be an issue early on. Making things worse, the linebacking corps is undergoing an overhaul, too, with Delano Robinson the only returning starter and top tacklers Richard McBryde and Patrick Nelson done.
– The secondary that was ripped up is the most experienced unit of the bunch. The corner tandem of Ar’mani Johnson and former UCLA transfer Brandon Stephens are okay, and the safeties can hit, but they all have to start getting off the field a whole lot faster. Everyone will get help from the pass rush, but they all have to come through.