Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2012 Spring Preview - More DL Battles
Missouri DE Brad Madison
Missouri DE Brad Madison
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 11, 2012


More key position battles this spring - The Defensive Lines


2012 Spring Preview 

Position Battles - More DLs


2012 Spring Preview
Top 50 Non-Conference Games 
- Ten biggest spring quarterback battles of 2012
- Ten biggest spring running back battles of 2012
- Ten biggest spring offensive line battles of 2012

- Ten biggest spring defensive line battles of 2012

Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews   

Cincinnati
The Bearcats feel set at defensive end thanks to the returns of veterans Walter Stewart, Dan Giordano and Brandon Mills. The picture at defensive tackle, though, is making them feel a little queasy. Both John Hughes and Derek Wolfe, an All-American, are pursuing their dreams of playing in the NFL, leaving behind a giant question mark on the inside. Wolfe’s understudy in 2011 was Camaron Beard, one of the top high school players in Indianapolis two years ago. The three-star recruit appeared in five games as a redshirt freshman, earning a handful of snaps, but mostly getting better acclimated with the speed of the game at this level. Behind Hughes was Jordan Stepp, another Indy product who’ll be looking for his third letter in three years.

Connecticut
Head coach Paul Pasqualoni will enter 2012 confident about his defensive ends, Trevardo Williams, Jesse Joseph and Teddy Jennings. And a little cautious about his defensive tackles. The Huskies will have little trouble generating a rush from the edge, but the interior of the line will have to adapt without longtime starters Kendall Reyes and Twyon Martin. Both players were effective at shooting the gap, and should have careers on Sundays. Junior Shamar Stephen appears set for a long-awaited promotion now that there’s no longer a traffic jam at the top of the depth chart. He’s an athletic 6-5, 315-pound who has starting experience from his rookie year in 2010. Next to Stephen, senior Ryan Wirth will look to hold off the charge of younger, hungry teammates.

Iowa State
The Cyclones didn’t come up with any sacks, struggled to make plays behind the line, and didn’t do enough against the run. So for good and bad, the defensive front has some major replacements to deal with. Anchor Stephen Ruempolhamer and ends Patrick Neal and Jake Lattimer are done. Job One is to find a pass rush from somewhere, needing junior Willie Scott and senior Rony Nelson to use their quickness to do more to get into the backfield. The hope is that Roosevelt Maggitt is back and healthy after getting knocked out for the year with a knee injury. Watch out for a slew of newcomers to make a difference right away, with JUCO transfer Cory Morrissey needing to take the job by the horns this offseason and give the Cyclones some semblance of a pass rush.

Missouri
It’s going to be a wait-and-see attitude for the Mizzou line as it prepares for life in the SEC. End Brad Madison and tackle Sheldon Richardson are out this spring with shoulder problems, and the defense desperately needs them back and healthy. One of the team’s biggest position battles is on the nose where Lucas Vincent and George White will combine to replace Dominique Hamilton, the anchor of last year’s line. They’re both athletic and they can both hold their own in the interior. The hope is for Kony Ealy to be the team’s next great pass rusher. He’s fast off the ball and has terrific tools, while junior Michael Sam is getting a chance to show what he can do with Madison out. It’s a terrific line full of size, speed, and athleticism, but everyone has to be healthy to hold up.

Nevada
It might be the Mountain West’s biggest question mark outside of Boise State’s quarterback situation. The Wolf Pack defensive line didn’t get to the quarterback as often as it normally does, but the run defense was solid and the defense as a whole had a solid year. Star tackle Brett Roy is gone, as is fellow tackle Zack Madonick and end Kaelin Burnett. Senior Albert Rosette made just two sacks last year and 33 tackles, and now he has to step up and shine as the main man. Tackle is the bigger concern with the depth severely lacking and the starting jobs up in the air. Sophomore Jordan Hanson will try to take over for Roy after serving as a little-used backup, and he needs to show he can play after not making a tackle in six games of work.

Northwestern
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is a defensive coach to the nth degree, and being tenth in the Big Ten in run defense, 11th in total defense, and last in pass defense doesn’t exactly sit well. The pass rush was the worst in the conference and the front four got shoved around way too much. Quentin Williams and Tyler Scott took over the starting jobs on the outside from Kevin Watt and Vince Browne, who were supposed to be dangerous pass rushers, and weren’t. Can Williams and Scott be consistently productive? They’ll need help from the tackles that lose the size of Niko Mafuli and Jack DiNardo. Will Hampton and Chance Carter need to beef up a little bit, and Brian Arnfelt needs seasoning, but as long as they do something, anything, against the run, the coaching staff will take it.

Oklahoma State
The Cowboy defense got a bad rap last year. Every defense looks lousy in the Big 12, but OSU was able to get into the backfield and was great at generating enough pressure to help the team lead the nation in turnover margin. Top pass rusher Jamie Blatnick and the eight sacks he came up with last year are gone, and No. 2 pass rusher Richetti Jones is done on the other side. This spring will be a battle for Jones’ spot with former backup Cooper Bassett and fellow senior Nigel Nicholas each getting a chance to show they can get into the backfield. Ryan Robinson came up with 21 tackles with a sack as a reserve, and now he’ll take over for Blatnick. Junior Tyler Johnson is a smallish quick pass rushing option who could become a specialist with a little more time.

Syracuse
Parting with starting DE Mikhail Marinovich and backup tackles Cory Boatman and Torrey Ball was a body blow. Losing DE Chandler Jones a year earlier than hoped to the NFL Draft was a knockout punch for the Orange D. While Syracuse feels comfortable going with Deon Goggins and Jay Bromley on the interior, it might need the entire offseason to settle on the new ends. For senior Brandon Sharpe, it’s suddenly a case of now or never. The converted linebacker has played plenty during his career, but primarily as a backup, making 45 tackles, 9.5 stops for loss and 7.5 sacks as a situational pass rusher over the past three seasons. The staff also has high expectations for Donnie Simmons, the three-star recruit from the 2011 class of new arrivals.

Virginia
If head coach Mike London is going to keep his Cavaliers trending north, he’ll need to solve issues with both of his fronts, but especially on the defensive side of the ball. Virginia will sorely miss three solid—and longtime—starters at the point of attack, DE Cam Johnson and tackles Matt Conrath and Nick Jenkins. DE  hopes to reprise his role as a starter, provided he can do a better job of getting pressure. If Bill Schautz can return from last November’s broken leg, he should be able to lock down the other end job. If not, look for Brent Urban and Thompson Brown to get in the hunt. Last season’s backup tackles, Justin Renfrow and Will Hill, are next in line to pick up where Conrath and Jenkins left off in 2011.

- Ten biggest spring defensive line battles of 2012
- Ten biggest spring offensive line battles of 2012
- Ten biggest spring quarterback battles of 2012
- Ten biggest spring running back battles of 2012

Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews