Here’s the follow up to my post about what to expect from the Beavers’ offense this season. Overall, I’m more optimistic about the defense. Here’s why:
Sitake Factor. Defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake was arguably Gary Andersen’s biggest coup when he was assembling his staff. The longtime Utah assistant is a rising star in the coaching world. Last year, his Utah defense finished second in total defensive in the Pac-12, while leading it in sacks. His Beaver players will respond to his personable, positive, and aggressive style.
More versatility lining up. After being a 4-3 defense for more than a decade, the Beavers will likely play in 3-4 formation most of the time this season, with a dash of 3-3-5 and a pinch of 4-3 here and there. This will be a nice change of pace that will hopefully throw opposing offenses off guard more than previous OSU defenses did.
AGGRESSION. The Beaver defense may take some lumps this season, but they will play hard, relentless, and with passion. This defense should display a level of physicality Beavers fans haven’t seen since the Fiesta Bowl season. And you know what that means? Blitzing, and lots of it — which also will be a welcome sight to Beaver Nation.
Stellar Safeties. They might be young, but safeties Justin Strong and Cyril Noland-Lewis, have experience and lots of talent. They can cover well, hit hard, and have the trust of the coaches. They both are primed for breakout seasons, and don’t be surprised if this duo ends up one of the strongest in the conference as the season wears on.
Peko Power. He’s got one year to make it count, and Kyle Peko probably will do more than just that. He should be an impact player from the get-go in the 3-4 scheme. He’s big, strong, and fast — an explosive combination that should help him set the tone for the rest of the OSU defense behind him.
What do you expect out of the OSU defense this season?