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Kentucky Football: Defense? What defense?

Heading into the new football season, it's always good to remember where we were last year.  We all know, in general, that our offense last year was excellent, and our defense ... well, wasn't.

Just how bad was our defense?  They say a picture is worth 1000 words, so why not use graphs to tell the tale?  

Let's take a look ...

As you can see, Kentucky gave up more points per game than any other school in the SEC.  That's bad enough, but this is even worse:

This is truly dramatic.  We gave up about 100 yards more per game than our nearest competitor.  This shows two things -- one just how potent UK's offense was, and two, just how utterly futile the defense was.

Just in case you were wondering how close to the bottom of the NCAA Division I Kentucky was in terms of defense, I can clue you in on that one, too -- 118th out of 119 in total defense.

Looking at the glass-half-full view, Steve Brown has a ton of low-hanging fruit to pick here.  Rushing defense needs the most attention, as we were 111th in that statistic.  Fortunately, we have an even better linebacking corps this year than last, and our D-line cannot possibly get worse.  Brown is said to be simplifying the defense, which aught to pay dividends against the run more so than the pass.

Pass efficiency defense was also pathetic at 104th in the land.  We have good reason to expect to be improved there as well, with our solid number of returning secondary players.

Bottom line -- we have a long way to go to be anywhere near good, but the fact of the matter is, if our offense and special teams are anywhere close to where they were last year, we won't have to.  A marginal improvement to, say, 85 or 90 in overall defense should make us a bowl team.  Can Brown get there?  We'll know pretty soon.