4. College Football News Preview 2020: Army Black Knights Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense was missing the same bite it had in 2018, but it was still more than fine, finishing 30th in the nation overall and allowing just 23 points per game. There weren’t enough sacks and there weren’t enough tackles for loss, but the offense didn’t always do its part to help the cause – Army was 0-6 when allowing 24 points or more. The D only allowed more than 24 three times in 2018, going 1-2.
– Three of the top four tacklers are gone, losing CB Eric Riley and S Ryan Velez from the secondary. Not having Jaylon McClinton around hurts, too, but junior Cedrick Cunningham is a great-sized safety and there are plenty of options for the other spots. Senior Javhari Bourdeau is a veteran at one corner.
– The linebacking corps loses the team’s leading tackler Cole Christiansen, but there’s good size returning in 240-pound Arik Smith – who finished second on the team with 83 stops – and 255-pound Jeremiah Lowery, who came up with 42 stops. There’s no Christiansen among the group, but holding up with a good rotation in the 3-4 won’t be a problem.
Can anyone in the front three get behind the line? There’s no real pass rush – senior Edriece Patterson came up with just three last year – and the plays in the backfield have to come from the outside linebacker.
There’s decent size, though, starting with 6-4, 280-pound Kwabena Bonsu on the nose, and 6-5, 300-pound senior Nick Stokes or 6-4, 300-pound David Gray needing to rise up on the inside.