4. College Football News Preview 2020: Missouri Tigers Defense 3 Things To Know
– There wasn’t a pass rush – Mizzou was last in the SEC in sacks – but overall the defense was good enough. The secondary had a nice season, the run defense gave up just 133 yards per game, and it did its part. The problems were mostly on the offensive side.
Tackling machine Cale Garrett is finished in the linebacking corps – he got hurt early on last year, though – and DT Jordan Elliott was selected in the third round by the Cleveland Browns. In all, 13 of the top 16 tacklers are expected back.
Taking Garrett out of the equation, the top four linebackers at the end of last year return. Junior Nick Bolton stepped up at one linebacker spot and finished with a team-high 107 stops, and sophomore Devin Nicholson is back in the middle after coming on late.
– Elliott was a force on the inside. He was the quick anchor for the defensive front and led the team in tackles for loss, but 270-pound Chris Turner is back at one end, and 6-1, 300-pound Kobie Whiteside is back at tackle after leading the team with 6.5 sacks. Overall, it’s a much deeper defensive line.
– The pass defense that was so strong loses good-hitting safety Khalil Oliver and top corner DeMarkus Acy. Even so, Joshuah Bledsoe is a good veteran at one safety, and senior Tyree Gillespie is back after finishing second on the team with 50 stops.
As good as the secondary was last year, though, it only picked off two passes – both by former safety Ronnell Perkins. The battle for corner jobs will be one of the focuses of the D around veteran junior Jarvis Ware.