Five Pre Camp Questions Defense

Bearcat Insider looks at five questions on defense Cincinnati must answer as they open camp at Camp Higher Ground.

We’ve already asked five questions about the Cincinnati Bearcats offense, now we switch over to defense that saw a few changes on the coaching staff and from the personnel on the field.

QUESTION ONE

Who will replace the production of departed middle linebacker Greg Blair?

Last season Blair posted 106 total tackles (7 for loss) starting every game at middle linebacker. The move of Jeff Luc to the middle, the position that made him one of the nation’s top high school prospects and the return of Nick Temple should give the Bearcats the needed experience to handle the loss of Blair as the two combined for 133 tackles last season. But the group will have to gel over the next few weeks.

QUESTION TWO

Who will plug the middle of the Bearcats defensive front four?

Gone are Jordan Stepp (45 tackles, 6 sacks, 8 tackles for loss) and Adam Dempsey (29 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss) with the Bearcats going into camp with a handful of players looking to emerge as the leaders of the middle. This will be a big story line at Camp Higher Ground that Bearcat Insider will be following.

QUESTION THREE

What changes will come forward in camp as defensive coordinator Hank Hughes is now fully in place?

Hughes is a veteran coach Tommy Tuberville had no problem bringing into the program to replace last year’s coordinator Art Kaufman who was not retained. Having spent the past 13 season at UConn, Hughes returns to Cincinnati having coached the Bearcats defensive line in 1993 but also with a few questions as the Huskies struggled last season under Paul Pasqualoni and T.J. Weist.

QUESTION FOUR

Can safety Zach Edwards avoid a sophomore slump?

No one expected Edwards to play the way he did as a freshman when he posted 73 total tackles along with two interceptions and seven pass breakups. Now a known commodity, Edwards has to continue playing at the level he did last season for the Bearcats to remain strong in the secondary.

QUESTION FIVE

Can Kevin Mouhon live up to the hype he received in high school?

The biggest recruiting win in modern UC football recruiting history earned a Scout.com ranking as the No. 26 middle linebacker in the country and was a U.S. Army All-American. Now, he’ll be given the chance to play early in the Bearcats defense and Bearcat Insider will be watching his progress early in camp.

Bearcat Insider will be at Camp Higher Ground on several occasions during the teams stay. So stay tuned for more on the team in the coming days.


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