4. UNLV Rebels College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense was miserable. It allowed 482 yards and 38 points per game, having the biggest problem against the run as team after team was able to move the ball at will. The Rebels allowed 34 points or more in all six games, but all 11 starters are back, and the coaching staff did a nice job of upping the talent level with the recruiting class and transfer portal.
– The defensive line wasn’t all that bad at getting into the backfield, but the group has to be a whole lot stronger against the run. Landing Connor Murphy from USC in the transfer portal was a big plus, and the other ends aren’t bad starting with five-sack junior Jacoby Windmon to go along with Arizona transfer Kylan Wilborn and top tackle for loss guy Adam Plant.
They’re more hybrids who’ll work as linebackers, and former TCU transfer Adam Plant is more of a true end. The tackle rotation is deeper now than it’s been for UNLV in a long while.
– Former Minnesota quarterback Vic Viramontes has turned into a solid linebacker, coming up with 31 stops in the middle as he grew into the role, and the rest of the corps will be full of hybrids both for the line and the secondary.
The team only came up with two picks, but the secondary could tackle – it had to make too many stops. Bryce Jackson is a smallish 5-9, 190-pound safety, but he led the team with 42 tackles and 6-1, 200-pound former Colgate transfer Tre Caine was third with 34 stops.