It can be said that the defense was Wyoming's biggest problem this year. They ranked No. 115 in the nation against the run and had the 98th worst defense overall. They did, however, rank No. 39 in the nation against the pass, and this could be contributed to the great play of Wyoming's secondary.
The secondary was led by senior and second team MWC CB Tashaun Gipson, second team MWC SS Luke Ruff and talented youngster Blair Burns.
This secondary kept opposing teams to less than 200 yards passing while racking up 13 interceptions. This is amazing if you think about how well the QBs play in the MWC. Ruff and Burns will be back, so watch out for the Pokes to continue to dominate the air
As for the LBs, Brian Hendricks played like a beast racking up almost 100 tackles, a sack and several forced fumbles. However, the rest of the linebacking crew had trouble stopping the run and keeping teams from gaining first downs on 3rd-and-short situations.
Unfortunately for the Pokes, Hendricks is a senior and will be gone next year and it will be up to potential stars Korey Jones, Devyn Harris and Mark Nzeocha to step up. Time will tell if these guys have what it takes to bring the UW defense back to what it has been like in the past.
Like the LBs, the defensive line has had its struggles, too. Stud LBs Gabe Knapton and Josh Beizuns switched positions to DE to try and anchor a struggling D-Line. Although they played well (they combined for over 130 tackles and 11.5 sacks), the rest of line had trouble stopping the run and causing mayhem behind the line of scrimmage.
We do lose both Knapton and Beizuns to graduation, so it's up to players like Mike Purcell and Kurt Taufa'asau to step up and produce.
Overall, the secondary should be in fine shape heading into next year. As for the LBs and D-Line, we could only hope they improve even after losing so much talent. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.