There’s really no good way to put it, the 2019 season was a disaster for Northwestern. Fresh off a B1G West Division title, the Wildcats registered just three wins last fall, with the only conference victory coming in the season finale against rival Illinois.

Most of the issues came on the offensive side of the football, struggling to do anything in any capacity. Northwestern averaged just 16.3 points and 297.1 yards per game, ranking 13th in the conference in front of only Rutgers.

Still, in a team game, the defense is taking it upon itself to improve heading into the 2020 season, even though it mostly held up its end of the bargain. And there are big goals for the Wildcats defense this year.

Meeting with the media on Wednesday, linebacker Blake Gallagher said the team’s goal was to be “the best defense in the B1G” in 2020. As a position group, Gallagher said he wants to have “the most physical linebacker corps in the B1G.”

They may have a real chance to be exactly that.

Northwestern returns its top three linebackers from last season — Paddy Fisher, Chris Bergin and Gallagher. Combined, the three collected 263 tackles with 16.5 stops for loss. Gallagher hauled in a team-high three interceptions and Fisher forced two fumbles.

Having all three of those guys back — especially in such a strange and unique year — is going to be beneficial for Northwestern.

Obviously, Northwestern’s offense is going to need to be much better. The defense can’t constantly be on the field again this season. But when their number is called, Gallagher and the rest of his teammates are hoping to prove they’re the best in the league.