4. College Football News Preview 2020: Ole Miss Rebels Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defense doesn’t exactly need a ton of work, but it needs a tweak or two. Co-coordinators Chris Partridge – the former Michigan special teams coach – and DJ Durkin – yes, that DJ Durkin – should form a whale of a tandem with the secondary the first task.
Two starters are gone from a group that got a ton of help from a great pass rush, but still allowed an SEC-worst 278 yards per game. Jon Haynes is the best returning part of the bunch after coming up with 55 tackles from his safety spot, and the corners are big, starting with 6-2, 200-pound Keidron Smith.
– The pass rush was fantastic, with 33 sacks on the season and getting plenty of help from all sides. DT Benito Jones is off to the NFL – and stunningly went undrafted before getting picked up by Miami – but the top linebackers return. Sam Williams is a decent pass rusher, and Lakia Henry led the team with 88 stops on the inside.
– Up front, Jones was a great all-around playmaker on the nose. The ends are done, too, with Josiah Coatney the biggest hit. There’s SEC size across a front three, but a whole lot of new parts have to be ready right away around 6-5, 290-pound former JUCO transfer Tariqious Tisdale on one end.