Florida Atlantic defensive preview

NCAA rank

Rushing Defense 174.39 (80)
Pass Efficiency Defense 126.46 (64)
Total Defense 415.62 (82)
Scoring Defense 33.23 (99)
Sacks 1.23 per game (110)

-Defensive Line

The best player on their defensive line is DE Robert St. Clair, but he's injured. So the second best player is senior DT Jervonte Jackson. He has size (6'5" 300) and experience (started 36 games). Fortunately he's lined up over Cedric Dockery rather than Charlie Tanner. And he can get doubled by the center if necessary because there is no one else on the line that should require a double team. His fellow DT is junior Josh Savidge (6'2" 270). They're backed up by a 6'2" 250 pound walk on and a 6'3" 240 pound sophomore.

Senior Michael Hancock (6'7" 240) will be lined up over Adam Ulatoski so maybe he'll be able to finally get some leverage and push on a defender. The other end is 6'5" 275 Jermaine Council who has missed some time because of injuries. They're backed up by a walkon and some scrub who weighs 218 pounds.

These guys get almost zero pass rush, and Texas should push them around in the running game.

Mack Brown on the defensive line: "There's a 320-pound defensive tackle up front that's a great run stopper that will really get on you. They do a great job teaching again, I've been really impressed with their fundamental skills. They free those linebackers."

- Linebackers

Middle linebacker Frantz Joseph is their best player and a Butkus Award candidate. He won't win, but he's the preseason Sunbelt Conference defensive player of the year. So that means he's at least Baylor good. He's flanked by seniors Andre Clarke and George Allen.

Three dudes from Lakeland, Lake Worth and Miami. That's impressive on paper. But there is a reason they're at Florida Atlantic and not Miami or Florida State.

Brown on the linebackers: "The linebackers are all seniors that have been around a long time, and I think the one I mentioned, 56 (Frantz Joseph) is about four or five tackles away from breaking the all-time tackling record in the Sun Belt."

- Defensive Backs

Their corners combined for 12 interceptions last year. Not bad. Senior Corey Small and sophomore Tavious Polo look like capable players. Small was second on the team last year in tackles as well. They're having to break in a pair of new safeties like Texas, but theirs are a couple of fifth year seniors. Hopefully they're the FAU version of Marcus Griffin and Erick Jackson.

Brown on the secondary: "Secondary guys are guys that are really good athletes, but they don't put them in a lot of difficult positions. They let them play their position, but they're not asking them to bump and play man all over the field. They make you be good, they make you do what you're doing well and you can't be sloppy and you can't turn it over or you'll get beat."

This is a very mediocre defense. I looked for a strength and couldn't find one. Six starters do have dreadlocks though so that could be somewhat intimidating to Colt McCoy. But if we fail to put up 400 yards and 40 points, the coaches and players should apologize.

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