March 21, 2010

Spring overview: Defense

While Tulsa may be loaded on offense, the Hurricane defense is at the opposite end of the spectrum. A defensive unit that finished No. 84 nationally in yards allowed per game was decimated by graduation after the 2009 season.

Tulsa lost 13 players on the defensive side of the ball, including five starters. The areas hit the hardest were linebacker and safety, which combined to lose eight. But Tulsa made a big push in the 2010 recruiting class by signing 18 players for defense. Among them are mid-term junior college transfers Milton Howell and Darrell Zellars, who expect to make an immediate impact at safety and nose guard, respectively.

The Hurricane does return five of its top seven tacklers, including junior safety DeAundre Brown. In 2009, he led the team with 102 stops, three tackles for loss and one sack. Sophomore free safety Dexter McCoil will look to solidify his starting spot this spring. He was the team's third-leading tackler with 85 and also had six pass breakups.

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