4. College Football News Preview 2020: Purdue Boilermakers Defense 3 Things To Know
– With all of the injuries and issues on offense last season, it was the time for the defense to step up and help the cause – it didn’t happen. The Boilermakers finished second-to-last in the Big Ten in total defense and allowed 31 points per game – the team went 0-6 when the D allowed 34 points or more.
While the ongoing youth movement has generally worked on the other side of the ball – head coach Jeff Brohm is upgrading the talent – it hasn’t done as much for the other side. However, most of the starting defense was made up of underclassmen – eight of the top 12 tacklers – and only a few key parts are missing.
– The linebacking corps never had Markus Bailey last year – the former star only played in four games – but that allowed others time to step in. Bailey is a Cincinnati Bengal, and leading tackler Ben Holt is gone, but Jaylan Alexander is a good-sized hitter to start with.
The pass rush should be terrific with 265-pound hybrid Derrick Barnes on one side and freshman sensation George Karlaftis on the other after the two combined for 15 sacks. The tackles have enough bulk and options to hold up around 300-pound sophomore Lawrence Johnson.
– The secondary that was hit for 244 yards per game gets in a potential superstar. UConn transfer Tyler Coyle made 261 tackles with 7.5 sacks, three interceptions and 15 broken up passes over the last three years, and now he should instantly step in and be the best player in a secondary that needs more big-play options.
Coyle can play any spot in the defensive backfield – he can work fine at corner, but he’d be a whale of a free safety in this D. Very, very young, now the secondary returns experienced with veterans in Coyle and fifth-year senior Brennan Thieneman as the anchors.