4. College Football News Preview 2020: Cincinnati Bearcats Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense was very good, but it was more about coming up with the big stops and the right times than it was about being dominant overall.
The Bearcats had an okay pass rush, were okay on third downs, and were okay against the pass. But the run defense was great, and there were lots and lots of takeaways, leading the AAC and finishing tenth in the nation with 26.
And now, with 15 of the top 17 tacklers expected back, look out.
– The linebacking corps is the one early concern with Bryan Wright and Perry Young done, but fourth-leading tackler Jarrell White is back, and the hope is for former UConn transfer Darrian Beavers to do more after coming up with 36 stops. 235-pound senior Joel Dublanko will likely take over for Wright in the middle.
They will all catch a break by working behind what might be the AAC’s best line.
The combination of Elijah Ponder – whether he plays inside or out – and Jabari Taylor is experienced and good, and Myjai Sanders is a dangerous veteran end. This is a big line with the flexibility to move around Ponder where needed.
– The secondary starts with ball-hawking safety Ja’von Hicks, who came up with 50 tackles and a team-high five picks. Corner Ahmad Gardner had a huge first season with three picks – taking two for scores – with eight broken up passes, and the rest of the secondary is back after turning into one of the best in the nation at generating big plays.
NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Top Cincinnati Bearcats Players