"I think we will be just as good as last year and maybe have better athletes. The sky is the limit as far as the way we can improve if everybody focuses and comes to work every day. We will be fine," he said. "The Miami game (Saturday) will be a huge test for us not knowing exactly what kind of offense they will be running since they have a new coach. That could be a little bit of a challenge for us having some young guys, but I am confident everything will be okay."
But a better defense without Jeremy Jarmon, Ventrell Jenkins, Myron Pryor, Braxton Kelley and Johnny Williams?
"Most definitely. I feel we have key people coming back. We have talent in the secondary. I think the defensive line is the biggest question mark but seeing that every day I feel we have come a long way. By midseason, you won't know the difference (from last year). There's no question starting out it will be a challenge, but I think we will be fine. I truly believe that," Peters said.
So who will be the biggest surprise on the defense?
"The surprise would be (junior college defensive end) DeQuin Evans. He is the easy choice being he is the new guy and nobody around here has seen him play. He has a motor and gets it going. I am excited to see how he performs on the big stage. He's been great in practice," Peters said. "There are some younger guys like Chandler Burden and Collins Ukwu who will step up big for us this year, too. I am not sure who will play the other end, but I am confident in either of them."