4. UTEP Miners College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– Yeah, the defense got lit up too often, but it also held four of the eight teams to 21 points or fewer and generally played better overall than it had in a long, long time. It allowed 381 yards and 31 points per game – that was a huge jump, even if the production came against a few miserable teams.
– Leading tackler Stephen Forester is done from the linebacking corps, but 6-2, 240-pound junior Tyrice Knight is a thumper who came in from the JUCO ranks and made 54 tackles. However, linebacker is the one area on the team that has to find key new parts and playmakers who can be consistent around Knight.
– The defensive line should be a plus. There’s a whole lot more depth than normal and for the first time in a while there are plenty of playmakers to get fired up about. Sophomore DE Praise Amaewhule is an all-star factor who gets behind the line and sets the tone as a pass rusher, and there’s bulk and and options for the rotation in the interior.
– The secondary has to make more big plays, but at least the veterans are there. S Justin Prince is a good tackler – finishing third on the team with 37 stops – but the team came up with a grand total of two interceptions. Both game from Duron Lowe, and he’s not around anymore. Cornerback will be a focus area in fall camp.