Love your optimism. I see nothing about our defense that is encouraging. The DL loses nearly all one on one battles. Gets zero pressure and no penetration to disrupt running plays and routinely gets beat on the edges. The LBs get caught up in blocks on almost every play. When they don't they are often way out of position. The DBs don't tackle well at all. They are required to cover for very long routes and even though they seldom press their man at the line they still get beat deep often.FWIW, I expect that the defense will improve slightly week to week as we play more this season, barring untold amounts of injury.
We lost our best remaining DL after the spring game when Stone transferred to Ole Miss. We lost another DL to the NFL and two great LBs to graduation. With Yondjouen out for the season we are relying on a lot of new players. I stated in the preseason that I fully expected the defense to be a good bit worse this year, but I don't think it will remain terrible. As the remaining players get more practice time and game time I would expect them to improve. We are already seeing Kennard begin to emerge as a possible answer. Our DBs are exposed because we can't generate a pass rush. If we can find ways to dial up some pressure, I think you'll see a defense that can keep a game from getting out of hand and allow the offense to win it for us.
To date they have give zero reason for optimism from our defense.