Purdue Boilermakers Football: 2015 Season Preview and Prediction

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Aug 30, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers defensive back Frankie Williams (24) is congratulated by his teammates after an interception and run back in the first half at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Breakdown

The defense was no better than the offense last year, but once again, Hazell had the excuse of a bunch of young guys and a team only in its second year of learning the 3-4. This is the third year, so the adjustments should be out of the way. And the experience should be better.

Jake Replogle is back on the line at defensive tackle after three and a half sacks last year, and while both ends are gone, Hazell has four-star recruits Ryan Watson and Gelen Robinson to also put on the line. Watson had four sacks as a nose guard last year, and Robinson had two, and there are lots of other contributors back, so the line should be fine.

Three of the four starters at linebacker are back, including JaWhaun Bentley returning at middle linebacker and both outside linebackers returning. That along with six other guys, including three freshmen and two sophomores, should be good enough for the line to equal what it did last year.

Frankie Williams and Anthony Brown are back at cornerback, but both safeties are gone. Still, there are three other safeties in the rotation with experience and seven other guys in the defensive back rotation overall.

All three units of the defense have a little bit more experience than last year and should be a lot more familiar with the 3-4 transition this year, so there is no reason that it can’t be a Top 70 defense as well this year and give up no more than 30 points a game.

The return of punter Thomas Meadows should really help with field position. Last year he averaged just under 40 yards a punt but dropped 15 inside the 20, so he should be fine for what Purdue needs.

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