4. College Football News Preview 2020: BYU Cougars Defense 3 Things To Know
– There defense was okay, but it was hardly the rock – especially against the run – that it was in 2018. The pass rush wasn’t there and the secondary was spotty, but it was young group that went through the growing pains – 14 of the top 16 tackles are expected to be back.
– The linebacking corps should be one of the team’s biggest strengths. Leading tackler Kavika Fonua is back in the middle coming off an 83-tackle season, but the 6-0, 205-pounder is built like a safety. So is third-leading tackler Isaiah Kaufusi on the outside, but 6-3, 235-pound sophomore Payton Wilgar is a thumper on the inside.
This is a DEEP group that can easily get creative with the alignments – leading tackler-for-loss guy Chaz Ah You has to be on the field.
The defensive line has plenty of options to be fine, but the pass rushers have to emerge around 6-4, 321-pound Khyiris Tonga on the nose. No one came up with more than two sacks, and that means senior Uriah Leiataua needs to rise up on the outside, and 6-4, 305-pound Lorenzo Fauatea has to be more active at his tackle spot.
– The defense has a whole lot of depth, experience and talent among the front seven, and the secondary has that, too. It just has to do a little work.
The situation is hardly a problem, though, with 6-2, 200-pound Zayne Anderson back somewhere – either safety or linebacker – after being in-and-out of the mix over the last two years.
D’Angelo Mandel is a veteran corner on one side, and 6-2, 195-pound Chris Wilcox is back after missing almost all of last year to potentially take over on the other. Getting back Isiah Herron – who flirted with the transfer portal – is a help.