Chances are when you think Northwestern football you think of offense and the likes of Venric Mark and Kain Colter. Chances are that most casual fans couldn't name more than one player on the Northwestern defense. Strangely enough, that may be just fine with this group of underrated and overachieving players.
It's also the side of the ball that could hold the keys to winning a division championship or having the same old, same old disappointment strike again. Some pundits were quick to point out the flaws that this group had last season and no doubt they contributed to being just 5:03 away from a perfect season last year, but blaming them solely for what went down is not only unfair, it also sets up a false narrative that it's not a quality group of players.
As we head to 2013 it'll be up to the eight returning starters to not only improve, but to dispel some of the narrative that has surrounded Pat Fitzgerald's defense. Lest we forget that this was a group that finished in the top half of the Big Ten in scoring defense (5th - 22.5ppg), rushing defense (3rd - 127.6), and interceptions (4th - 14INT's).
2013 will no doubt bring some new challenges to the table, but ultimately the improvement of this group from young and talented to experienced and better could be the difference in meeting championship level expectations or not. Can that happen for this group? Let us explore what the 2013 Northwestern defense has to offer.