4. College Football News Preview 2020: Washington Huskies Defense 3 Things To Know
– New head coach Jimmy Lake became a star as a defensive coach – serving as the UW defensive coordinator over the last few years – and Pete Kwiatkowski is still around after starting as part of the DC mix with the program since 2014. The defense is going to be really, really well coached.
It has the talent back, too, with nine of the top 12 tacklers back, and with a whole wave of underclassmen about to become really big deals – at least in terms of providing depth – for a D that finished third in the Pac-12 overall and 15th in the nation in scoring defense.
– The Huskies run a versatile style built around two big defensive tackles and adapting from there. Outside linebackers are hybrid types, there are usually five defensive backs, and everyone can hit. It starts on the inside with 288-pound Levi Onwuzurike and 298-pound Josiah Bronson – both seniors – as the anchors, and they’re the lightweights. There’s a whole lot of young bulk behind them.
Joe Tryon is technically an outside linebacker, but the 6-5, 262-pounder is really more of a pass rushing defensive end, as is 6-0, 280-pound Ryan Bowman on the other side. On the way, though, is freshman super-recruit Sav’ell Smalls – he was the big get who made the class. Overall, the pass rush could be better, and there need to be more tackles for loss, but they’re coming.
– Losing Kyler Manu and Brandon Wellington from the linebacking corps is the biggest hit, but sophomore Edefuan Ulofoshio rose up and rocked late in the season and is more than ready to take over one of the spots full-time.
The real stars are in the secondary that get back four starters, all revolving around peerless leader and star Elijah Molden, a great-hitting playmaker who led the team with 79 tackles and four picks. Myles Bryant is done, but ten of the 13 interceptions accounted for are returning.