4. College Football News Preview 2020: Michigan State Spartans Defense 3 Things To Know
– How fast will the rebuild take? Mel Tucker worked his way up as a defensive coach, and defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton comes in from Kansas State to help figure out how to keep the Spartan defense going like it’s supposed to.
MSU’s D was a slight disappointment after a special 2018, but it still finished 18th in the nation overall allowing 322 yards and 22.5 points per game. Seven of the top ten tacklers are gone with six starters needing to be replaced.
– The defensive line gets the most early attention, especially at tackle. Jacub Panasiuk is a decent veteran on the outside, but he’s sitting out the season. Drew Beesley has been around long enough to take on a bigger role at one end. Again, though, the tackles – it’s going to take a bit to find the right rotation around 6-4, 338-pound senior Naquan Jones.
The linebacking corps got used to life without Joe Bachie halfway through last season, but Antjuan Simmons stepped up and is back after leading the team with 90 tackles. He’s built like a big safety, and he can move – he’ll get in on everything. Throw in junior Noah Harvey, and this group should turn out to be fine.
– Safety Xavier Henderson returns after finishing second on the team with 83 tackles – and he’s going to need some help for a pass defense that allowed 208 yards per game but allowed way too many big plays. Shakur Brown is a good veteran corner on one side, and it’ll be up to senior Dominique Long to do more at one of the safety jobs after coming up with 16 stops.
NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Top Michigan State Spartans Players