4. College Football News Preview 2020: Vanderbilt Commodores Defense 3 Things To Know
– After working with Appalachian State last season, America’s defensive coordinator Ted Roof – this is the former Duke head coach’s 12th DC gig – needs to improve the nation’s 101st defense. It struggled against the run, allowed too many deep passes, and it didn’t show much of a pass rush.
Other than that, everything was great.
But it was a true rebuilding year, but the top 11 tacklers and 26 of the top 28 are expected back, and DE Alex Williams is transferring in from Ohio State.
Roof’s first job is to generate a pass rush and more pressure from the defensive front. Vandy came up with just 20 sacks, and just 4.5 came from true defensive linemen.
6-6, 280-pound Dare Odeyingbo led the team with 12 tackles for loss, but he wasn’t much for getting to the quarterback. 6-3, 265-pound Rutger Reitmaier was the second-leading defensive linemen in tackles for loss, and he only came up with 4.5.
There’s size on the inside – Cameron Tidd and Drew Birchmeier are both 300-pounders – and there’s a veteran rotation to help the cause.
– The defensive backs had to make way too many tackles, but the linebackers did their part, too – and now all four starters are expected back. 230-pound junior Dimitri Moore led the team with 99 stops, but 6-3, 246-pound senior Andre Mintze led the corps with 7.5 tackles for loss – the linebackers did most of the heavy lifting when it came to getting into the backfield. There’s lots of size and lots of experience.
– All of the DBs are back, too. The safety trio of Brendon Harris, Dashaun Jerkins and Tae Daley combined to be the top three tacklers behind Moore. Harris and Jenkins went through trial by fire, and now the sophomores should grow into their jobs.
Daley led the team with three picks, but the guys on the outside have to do a whole lot more. There’s size in 6-1 corners BJ Anderson and Allan George, but Georgia is the only one to come up with an interception – he got one.