4. College Football News Preview 2020: UCLA Bruins Defense 3 Things To Know
– The nation’s 113th-ranked defense – and the second least-efficient pass defense in the country – loses three of its top four tacklers, but it gets back ten of its top 13. If the goal was to build things up to get to a better place, this needs to be it – except in the linebacking corps.
Those three lost tacklers were all linebackers, with only 225-pound senior Leni Toailoa back on the outside. There’s some bulk in the group – 230-pound Bo Calvert needs to be a factor in the middle – and there’s a good-sized talent coming in the recruiting class. The young depth, though, is an issue with five guys leaving through the transfer portal.
– The secondary that got torched for 311 yards per game is at least experienced. CB Darnay Holmes was drafted in fourth round by the New York Giants, but the other three starters and their backups were underclassmen, and junior Jay Shaw is likely to take over the open spot after making 30 tackles and a pick.
Junior Stephan Blaylock returns at one safety job after leading the team with 86 tackles and the combination of Elisha Guidry and Quentin Lake will be factors at the other safety jobs.
Helping the overall cause will be two transfers, Obi Eboh coming in from Stanford at corner. and Qwuantrezz Knight looking to see time at safety after making 74 tackles with 10.5 tackles for loss for Kent State last season.
– The defensive line should be the best in the Chip Kelly era. At the very least, it’s the most experienced and has the most potential. The tackle combination of juniors Otito Ogbonnia and Tyler Manoa are over 300 pounds, and 280-pound DE Osa Odighizuwa tied for the team lead in tackles for loss.