How good has this group been? Everyone asked after the bowl game who would replace Myles Garret and Daeshon Hall? Would Jarrett Johnson and Qualen Cunningham be able to step right in and continue the production? The answers and the production have been very positive. And with the emergence of Landis Durham, the ends have been very solid.
As for the defensive tackles, this was a position of strength going into 2017. Starters Zaycoven Henderson and Kingsley Keke and backups Daylon Mack and Justin Madubuike were going to have to play well if this defense was going to make strides.
This group has not only played well, but has helped the linebackers be who we wanted them to be. Besides the number of sacks and tackles for loss, this group has helped the defense drop the average yards rushing from 190 to 136. Just for fun, let’s take away the runs by Damien Harris and Feleipe Franks, the average drops to 114.
In this conference, I will take being 46th nationally (sixth in the conference) in run defense, I said in my predictions post if that run defense number could stay around 100 yards per game we would have a chance to win every game.
Now this group and the rest of the defense will have three more teams that like to run the ball. Mississippi State is ranked 14th nationally in rushing, Auburn is 23rd and New Mexico is 19th. Can they continue to play well? If they do, my original prediction of three more wins will come true.
Second half notes
Continue the rotation and continue to play with great gap integrity. Do not let the press clippings get to your head.