We’ve looked at the Michigan State football offensive position groups, now let’s take a look at the defense.
It’s no secret that the defense was the weaker of the two sides of the ball. But incoming transfers and healthy returning starters with lots of experience gives me the optimism that the defensive squad can take a leap forward in 2023.
Until further notice, the cornerbacks room is the weakest group on the team. Although they improved from worst in the Big Ten to second-worst in the Big Ten, the pass defense is still the No. 1 concern coming into the season.
Getting burned by the likes of Tanner Morgan and Gavin Wimsatt deserves criticism, while only having one (1) interception from the secondary shows that Scottie Hazelton and Mel Tucker deserve criticism for how this group has developed, or lack thereof.
I know it looked like the defense got better as the season went on, but I think the competition just dropped off. Shutting down the likes of Graham Mertz, Dexter Williams II, and two non-conference opponents will sure help your stats, but against any real competition down the stretch resulted in big numbers by opposing quarterbacks (yes, 167 yards for JJ McCarthy is a big number for him).
I know last year said it can’t get worse than 2021, but this group needs to show improvement and if not, that’s on the coaches. Charles Brantley coming back is a net positive despite what the Twitter coaches post on the internets and I guess if there’s a positive to the tunnel incident suspensions, it’s that a lot of young guys got experience late in the season and depth is important at this position.
The incoming transfer of Kee’yon Stewart (TCU) not only adds talent to the position, but also comes from a winning program and that can’t be overlooked.