Sorting out the Two-Deep on Defense

A two-deep on defense is always more difficult to figure than a two-deep on offense, as more rotations are usually seen with the defensive side of the football. But after two weeks of fall camp, it is becoming more and more clear as to who will be on the defensive two-deep.

Defensive Line

The front line appears to be relatively set, as there has been little-to-no rotation with the first-team unit since fall camp started. Romney Fuga will man the middle and will be flanked by Vic So'oto and Eathyn Manumaleuna, as all three have had a very successful fall camp session.

Matt Putnam has returned to practices and has been a steady and productive force with the second-team defense. Look for Putnam to replace Manumaleua during passing situations, as he's again shown very well in defending the pass.

Thomas Bryson has had a very productive fall camp and will work as So'oto's primary backup, with Jordan Richardson backing up Fuga at nose tackle. True freshmen that may see some time include Graham Rowley and Travis Tuiloma, with Tuiloma being the more likely of the two to contribute, if just for the need of extra bodies at nose tackle.


RE - Eathyn Manumaluean/Matt Putnam
NT - Romney Fuga/Jordan Richardson
LE - Vic So'oto/Thomas Bryson

Outside Linebacker

OLB is a position that has looked good so far this fall, with a number of players stepping up including Kyle Van Noy and Jameson Frazier. Where both of those players will end up on the depth chart is certainly up for debate, as it's becoming apparent with every day that Jordan Atkinson is probably going to be unable to contribute this season.

Jordan Pendleton is the one surefire player to start at the Sam position, but who will start opposite of him at Will is going to be interesting. Both Frazier and Van Noy are the likely candidates, and both have been cross-trained effectively.

One of the standout defensive performers at outside linebacker has been Zeke Mendenhall, who has seen some good reps playing Sam linebacker with the second-team defense. All four players mentioned will play in spots, with Van Noy and Frazier likely seeing some rotation at Will.

Jadon Wagner could have an impact due to lack of bodies at Will, and he's come on a bit here of late after sustaining an injury the first day of practice.


Sam - Jordan Pendleton/Zeke Mendenhall
Will - Jameson Frazier or Kyle Van Noy

Inside Linebacker

Here's where it gets fun, as it's still very wide open in regards to who will be starting and who will fill out the final two-deep. However, it has become apparent that it will be among five players who have emerged and gotten the majority of reps with the first- and second-team defensive units. Those players in no given order are Austen Jorgensen, Shane Hunter, Brandon Ogletree, Zac Stout and Aveni Leung-Wai.

Jorgensen has split his time pretty evenly between Mike and Buck, although he has spent more time at Mike. Hunter and Stout have seen almost exclusive reps at the Mike position, with Leung-Wai and Ogletree playing Buck for the most part.


Mike - Shane Hunter or Austen Jorgensen/Zac Stout
Buck - Brandon Ogletree/Aveni Leung-Wai


Cornerback is one of the easier positions to figure out a two-deep for, as the top four guys haven't changed since last season. It's one of the more solid and established positions on the entire team, with four very reliable and talented players that will make up the two-deep roster.


Field CB - Brian Logan/Robbie Buckner
Boundary CB - Brandon Bradley/Corby Eason


Safety is an easy one to figure as well, as the two-deep established in the spring has remained in tact. There has been little-to-no rotation of any other bodies with the established two-deep since spring.


Kat Safety - Andrew Rich/Jray Galea'i
Free Safety - Steven Thomas/Travis Uale

Total Blue Sports Top Stories