4. College Football News Preview 2020: FIU Golden Panthers Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense has been okay under Butch Davis, but it hasn’t been a killer. It finished 69th in the nation allowing 394 yards and 27 points per game, giving up 34 points or more five times, losing all five games.
Now the Golden Panthers have to replace four of the top seven tacklers, starting with finding someone to step in for Sage Lewis in the middle of the linebacking corps.
6-2, 225-pound senior Jamal Gates is the best player of the bunch on the outside, but it’ll be up to senior Daniel Jackson on the other side, and junior Tevin Jones adding some speed in place of Lewis. 6-0, 230-pound Boise State transfer Tyson Maeva is a bulky option who might just become a statistical star.
– The line has to do a whole lot more to get into the backfield after generating just 1.62 sacks and 5.2 tackles for loss per game. Senior Alexy Jean-Baptiste is back after leading the way with 4.5 sacks, and Kevin Oliver is a veteran on the other side. The tackles are big with a whole lot of options, but losing Teair Tart on the inside hurts.
– The secondary made a whole lot of tackles and plays, and now three of the top four tacklers are done. The D is fine here, though – it’s a deep group.
Senior Rishard Dames is back at one corner spot and Richard Dames returns at safety. The two combined fir 115 tackles, with Rishard leading the way with four picks. Iowa transfer Josh Turner helps the cause at corner to go along with a good base of veterans.