With only three starters returning to one of the PAC-10 and nation's top defenses, many people are concerned for this year's team.
Especially, since the Beavers need to replace all four of their starters on secondary and the majority of their D-line. But, the beavers have many reasons for optimism.
1. Coach Banker
Mark Banker is the defensive coordinator for the Beavers. Last year the Beavers had replaced the entire front seven and they still had one of the best defenses in the PAC-10. He is arguably one of the best in the country and has continually produced one of the best defenses in the PAC-10.
2. Easy Non-Conference Games
Games against Portland state and UNLV should help the Beavers' secondary ease into PAC-10 play. But, Cinci will be a test for the Beavs and the secondary will need to play well if the Beavers are going to win.
3. Returning Linebackers
The beavers are returning two of their starting linebackers. Including Keaton and Kristik who was Second Team All-PAC-10. Dwight Roberson and Keith Pankey both started games for the Beavers and both played very well. Plus, the one linebacker that left, Bryant Cornell, is being replaced by David pa'ahuli who had significant playing time last year and made good contributions to the team.
4. Stephen Paea
Stephen Paea is the lone returning starting D-lineman. Last year, Paea was All-PAC-10 Honorable Mention and can bench 530 pounds and squat 750. He is a complete animal and will give lineman headaches through the season.
5. Playing Time
Many of the beavers that are replacing the starters have had a lot of playing time. For example, Tim Clark has basically been a starter at corner for the Beavers because of all the playing time he has had. Even though the Beavers are only returning three starters, many replacements have had significant playing time.
The Beavers have many reasons to be hopeful for the coming year and should have another great defensive year.