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Georgia State Position Previews - Defense

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Info on the weakest half of Washington's weakest opponent.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

After three games, the Husky offense has met reasonable expectations: a powerful running game featuring multiple backs, and an okay passing game predicated on speed but limited by the arm strength and overall experience level of QB Cyler Miles.

In two games with Miles starting, the Huskies have scored 59 points against Eastern and 44 points against Illinois. Georgia State, while technically an FBS school since last season, is no more talented defensively than Eastern. We're talking two-star or unranked recruits and whatever JUCO guys they can snatch up.

Defensive Line

GSU runs a good ol' 3-4. Two out of three starters graduated, including the all-important nose tackle, but a fair amount of experience returns.

Sophomores Shawayne Lawrence (6-4, 270) and Tevin Jones (6-4, 260) will start at end. Jalen Lawrence will start at nose tackle, and his relative lack of size at 6-1, 280 pounds stands out. Shawayne started last season, and Jalen and Tevin both played in at least five games.

After three games, Shawayne and Jalen Lawrence have combined for three tackles for loss, with 1.5 each. Jalen leads the defensive line with 15 total tackles.

Linebackers

Definitely the strength of the team last season and this season. Three out of four starters returned from last season, including the clear cut star of the defense, 6'0 220-pound inside linebacker Joseph Peterson. After totaling 82.5 tackles, six TFL, and two sacks last year, he has already amassed 39 total tackles, five TFLs, a pick, and the team's only two sacks.

Redshirt senior Sean Jeppesen (6-0, 225) is the other starter inside, with So. Mackendy Cheridor (6-4, 235) and R.Sr. Jarrell Robinson (6-2, 215) starting outside.

Expect a lot of aggressive blitzing from this unit, especially from Peterson.

Defensive Backs

Everybody graduated! Both starting corners and the three most productive safeties left.

To help ease the pain of rebuilding this unit, the coaching staff moved OLB Tarris Batiste over to safety. Nate Simon also starts at safety, while Marcus Caffey and Bruce Dukes man the corner spots.

This is the roster's weakest link. None of these players started a game as a defensive back last year, and it has shown this year.

Abilene Christian QB Parker McKenzie passed for 403 yards (75% passing), four touchdowns and a single interception in a losing effort. New Mexico State threw for 241 yards, three scores, and a pick, though they needed 44 attempts to do so. Air Force QB Kale Pearson picked the defense apart for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 12 of 15 passing despite a scheme heavily favoring the run.

Overall

If I thought Cyler Miles would play more than a half of this game, I would project by far his gaudiest statline of the season. The defensive backfield is poor and has been ripped up by inferior talent. The pass rush should hardly exist as long as Joseph Peterson is accounted for.

Thing is, Coach Petersen doesn't care how many yards Miles passes for. His approach will be to run the football with all of his backs, and to take occasional chunks of yardage via the passing game. The score should be out of hand by the half, and we'll get to see a bunch of backup linemen block for backs not named Coleman or Washington.

Obviously if the players approach this contest with my level of nonchalance, things might be slightly more competitive. I trust that they won't.