4. College Football News Preview 2020: Washington State Cougars Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense that finished dead last in the Pac-12 was equal opportunity awful. Four teams were able to run for 200 yards or more on the Cougars, five teams were able to throw for WAY more than 300 yards, and six of the last ten teams on the slate were able to blow past the 500 total yard mark.
But there’s hope.
Jake Dickert takes over at defensive coordinator after leading a Wyoming defense that allowed 17.8 points per game. Washington State will still probably give that up after one drive, but at least there’s a whole lot of experience returning with 12 of the top 13 tacklers back.
The pass rush wasn’t good enough, but at least the veterans are there. The big issue is size – there isn’t much. Will Rodgers returns at one tackle – he led the team in sacks with four – but he’s only 6-4 and 255 pounds, and junior Dallas Hobbs on the nose is 6-6, 285. It’ll be up to junior Willie Taylor to do more at one end.
– Senior Jahad Woods is a tackling machine at somewhere on the outside of the linebacking corps. He led the team with 141 stops, and 230-pound senior Justus Rogers is back in the middle after making 70 tackles. It’ll still be a defensive back-heavy D with a whole lot of options to play around with, but the linebackers will end up being the statistical stars.
– Welcome to life in the Pac-12 and against a schedule full of passers. The Cougars were 114th in the nation in passing yards, and sixth in the conference. There weren’t enough interceptions – just ten – but Skyler Thomas is back after leading the team with four picks and finishing second with 72 stops, and the good-sized corner tandem of Derrick Langford and George Hicks can get physical.