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Kansas Vs. South Dakota State: First Look At The Jackrabbit Defense

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Flipping over to the defensive side of the ball today with our first look at the Jackrabbit defensive personnel. Charlie Weis touched on the nuts and bolts of the defense for SDSU on Tuesday.

"The defense returns seven starters. Everyone will talk about how undersized Andy Mink is, No. 52, but he's a true pain in the butt for whoever is going to go against him. He's a good, solid football player. They have several locals, one is an Olathe product, Doug Peete, No. 34. He's listed at weak side end for them, but he's the guy who brings versatility in their in their defense to allow them to go back and forth between even fronts and odd fronts by being able to play weak side end, then being able to stand up and play outside linebacker. Their defensive secondary has got three seniors and a junior. The one junior is one of

Obviously Weis is heavily involved in the offensive gameplanning for Kansas so he has a fairly intimate knowledge of this group. We'll start with Mink and work out way through the secondary.

DT - Andy Mink - 6'2" 270 SR

NT - David Hettiger - 6'3" 260 SR

Hettiger and Mink are both returning starters and obviously the first thing that jumps out is a lack of any serious size. Now obviously Kansas has had a player here or there that has done well despite size limitations, and Weis himself praises Mink, but if the interior of the defensive line is averaging 265 then Kansas should be able to win this battle. Especially when we start talking about Marrongelli and Zlatnik, two guys we are expecting to play major roles in any Kansas success.

DE - Doug Peete - 6'5" 255 JR

DE - Marshall Peugh - 6'3" 240 JR

Peugh is a new addition from the junior college level and Peete was the most consistent pass rusher off the edge last season. That said, this wasn't a strong suit last year so Tanner Hawkinson should be expected to manage his side with the rest of the workload falling on the shoulders of Gavin Howard.

MLB - TJ Lally - 6' 225 RsFr

WLB - Ross Shafrath - 6'1" 225 Sr

SAM - Chris Tracy - 6'1" 230 Sr

Shafrath and Tracy have some experience although Tracy is the only returning starter from this group. Obviously Lally is a freshman so that is an interesting matchup but SDSU could also rotate in Robbie Jelsma who brings more size and experience to the position.

CB - Winston Wright - 5'10" 190 Jr

CB - David Godley - 6' 185 Sr

Wright drew mention from coach Weis and earned all conference honors a year ago. He led the team in interceptions with three and he's from the Kansas City area. Godley took over as the starter late last season and has held on into his senior year. Both players have good size, it will be interesting to see how they matchup with the smaller, potentially more nimble Kansas wideouts.

SS - Schyler Luxa - 5'11" 210 SR

FS - Bo Helm - 5'10" 195 SR

Both safeties are returning starters and have experience at multiple positions. This group was in a lot of plays last year and they are would have to be viewed as a big part of the defensive leadership for the Jackrabbits.