College Football News Preview 2020: East Carolina Pirates

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Preview 2020: East Carolina Pirates

East Carolina

College Football News Preview 2020: East Carolina Pirates

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4. College Football News Preview 2020: East Carolina Pirates Defense 3 Things To Know

– Blake Harrell comes in from Kennesaw State to try getting something out of the nation’s 119th-best defense. The pass defense was bad, the run defense worse, and overall the D allowed 469 yards and 34 points per game. It all starts with getting more out of the defensive front.

The big problem is the size – there isn’t much.

This isn’t a bulky front four, but there weren’t enough plays in the backfield or activity against the run. Top pass rusher Kendall Futrell is gone, and now it’s up to 6-4, 233-pound senior Chance Purvis to become a more of a threat on the outside.

There’s going to be a rotation on the inside, but the tackles are around 270ish pounds – there isn’t a 320-pound Coke machine to gum things up.

The linebacking corps went young, and now the sophomores of last season should grow into bigger producers. At least that’s the hope with the entire two-deep expected back.

There might not be size on the line, but 244-pound junior Xavier Smith brings some thump on the inside of the linebacking corps. He led the team with 81 stops, and corner-sized Gerard Stringer is a hitter on the outside. On the way is former Oklahoma super-recruit Ryan Jones – he’ll be eligible right away on the inside.

– The pass defense has to be a whole lot better. The offensive side came up with the big yards, and the ECU secondary was too quick to give them right back – at least at times – giving up over 400 yards three times and a total of 20 touchdown passes in the last six games.

Almost everyone is back, starting with rising star true sophomore Ja’Quan McMillian at one corner, and with Alabama’s Nigel Knott a monster get for the other side – if he can stay healthy. Duke transfer Isaiah Kemp will be a factor in the near future.

71-tackle Davondre Robinson is back at one safety job, but sixth-leading tackler Daniel Charles is in the transfer portal. Redshirt freshman Juan Powell has the upside to be a statistical star.

NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Top East Carolina Pirates Players

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