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Northwestern Wildcats Season Preview: Defense

Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern Wildcats

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The 2012 Northwestern Wildcats football season was one of their best seasons in quite some time, as they finished 10-3 overall on the season and 5-3 in the Big 10 conference.

The defense was average for the 2012 season, and head coach Pat Fitzgerald will be looking for improvements on defense so hopefully they can match the production of their offense and make a run at a Big 10 championship in 2013, something they haven’t done since the mid-1990s.

The 2012 Northwestern defense was just okay on the season, right in the middle of the conference in the major statistical categories. They finished sixth in the conference in scoring defense, giving up 24.9 points per game on the year. They finished eighth in the conference in total defense, giving up 394.2 yards per game on the season.

In order for the Wildcats to be a serious contender in the Big 10, which their fans are desperately waiting for, the defense needs to tighten up and 2013 might be the year they can do so, as they return some of the best defenders in the Big 10.

On the defensive line, Tyler Scott returns as one of the best defensive lineman in the Big 10 and will be the leader of the group. Deonte Gibson will play the other defensive end spot, and Sean McEvilly and Will Hampton will play on the inside.

At linebacker, Damien Proby will be calling the shots from the middle linebacker spot. He will play alongside Chi Chi Ariguzo and Drew Smith.

The Wildcats secondary is the most experienced group of players returning for the Wildcats’ defense this season. At corner, Nick VanHoose is one of the best in the conference and will be dominant. The other corner will be Daniel Jones. At safety, Ibraheim Campbell is one of the most productive defenders in the conference and will play alongside Traveon Henry.

It will be interesting to see if the Wildcats’ defense can step up and match the production of their electric offense because if they are capable of doing so, it could be a very exciting season for the Northwestern fanbase.

Erik Sargent is a college football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Erik_Sargent, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google