When the Northwestern Wildcats did struggle last season, it was an issue of the secondary being banged up. I should probably be more specific and say it was Nick VanHoose who got hurt.
The freshman’s shoulder injury against the Nebraska Cornhuskers was a difficult pill to swallow for the Wildcats. Northwestern was carved up through the air by Nebraska in the latter part of the game when the Cornhuskers staged their comeback. VanHoose missed the next three games and in all three games the Wildcats’ secondary looked kind of shaky although the front seven did step up and play well.
Northwestern’s big issue was depth in the secondary which is something the team may face again this season. The Wildcats bring back three starters from the secondary, VanHoose, Daniel Jones and Ibraheim Campbell, which is a good start. The three have a lot of talent and experience and will prove invaluable to this defense. However with a limited amount of experienced defensive backs, it is imperative the Wildcats’ secondary stays healthy. An injury to a player like Campbell or VanHoose would be devastating to the morale of this team and could affect how well Northwestern defends the pass.
The Wildcats bring back one of the most experienced defenses in the Big Ten and health is obviously the most problematic issue for most teams. However, Northwestern has more depth at linebacker and on the defensive line than it does in the defensive backfield, which makes the health of the secondary a much more pressing issue for the Wildcats.