Virginia Cavaliers College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense that fell off the map at least returns experienced. It allowed 443 yards and 30 points per game with a nightmare of a time slowing down passing attacks, even with a good pass rush. But there’s hope for a big improvement.
For all the problems, it wasn’t all bad. There were a slew of takeaways, a decent run D – partly because some teams spent so much time throwing it – and it allowed 20 points or fewer four times.
But there were ten games. Again, it’s a veteran D that should be better.
– The linebacking corps wasn’t horrible, but it has to replace Zane Zandler in the middle and fourth-leading tackler Charles Snowden. Junior Nick Jackson led the way with 105 tackles in an All-ACC season, and 6-5, 225-pound Noah Taylor can get into the backfield from the outside.
The front three loses Jowon Briggs to Cincinnati, but other than that it returns with excellent size and a solid rotation around the 300+ pound tackle combination of Jahmeer Carter and Jordan Redmond.
This group doesn’t get into the backfield, but that’s not really its job. If it can hold up against the run, everyone else should take care of the rest, but …
– The secondary has the players, it has the depth, and it has the experience. Now it has to come up with a stop after finishing dead last in the ACC in pass defense – and it’ll be a whole lot better in only because Joey Blount is back.
The senior safety missed most of last year with an ankle injury, but he’s back along with Antonio Clary and Coen King. The corners have excellent size – Nick Grant goes 6-1 and 200 pounds and De’Vante Cross is 6-2 and 215 – but to keep hammering on this, they need to make more plays.