4. Air Force Falcons College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense that has to replace eight starters from 2020 gets a bigger break than the offense. The D gets “turnback” players returning – they’re the guys who opted out in a global pandemic year. Even so, Air Force was sixth in the nation in total defense allowing just 303 yards per game and 15 points per outing. Like the offense with the running game, the coaching staff figures it out on defense.
– The the turnbacks that were an issue for the teams depth last year now means 2019 leading tackler Demonte Meeks is expected to be a big factor again for a linebacking corps that needs him. He’s an all-star hitter who came up with 98 tackles two years ago, joining 5-11, 220-pound Johnathan Youngblood who’ll play a bigger role.
– The secondary is in the best shape with Milton Bugg back after missing last season – he led the team in interceptions with three in 2019. The safety tandem of Corvan Taylor and Ethan Erickson will be solid – Taylor was third on the team with 33 stops.
The Falcons didn’t do much to get into the backfield, but it didn’t seem to matter all that much. Getting back Jordan Jackson for the D line is a huge help to go along with a whole slew of young parts for the rotation.