Position Analysis: Defensive Line
Nick Previews the Defensive Line position
Editor's Note: This is a repost of NickSkin's position previews oritinally posted in our discussion forums. Rather than lose these posts to the pruner, we felt it appropriate to repost them to the front page. Thanks to Nick for all his hard work in developing this series.
Miami has some very talented LB’s and DB’s but it doesn’t matter if those players are all-conference if the defensive line doesn’t stop the run and get pressure on the quarterback. The main question for Miami’s defense is whether its addressed and corrected the glaring weaknesses from last season. In 2006, Miami allowed opposing teams to rush for 174 yards per game! It further allowed opposing teams to convert 42% of its 3rd down conversions! While the offensive line gave up a whopping 49 sacks the defense only recorded 20 sacks over 12 games.
A big change for Miami as it lost two interior lineman from the 2006 team in Seth Painter and Otto Linwood. However, Miami returns 6'4" 280lb JR Ben Huddle, 6'3" 280lb SO Mark Paun and 6' 320lb SO Martin Channels. Those three are the only experienced players for Miami at the interior defensive line spots. However, Miami also added 6'4" 280lb RS-FR Sean Redwine, 6'2" 275lb RS-FR Alex Stewart and incoming freshman 6' 300lb Jordan Brown.
Huddle is a converted defensive end who was moved to tackle last season. He suffered an injury early in the season at Purdue and missed four games and didn’t return to full strength until later in the year. Paun and Channels were thrown into the mix as true freshman but it was Paun who saw most of the playing time appearing in 10 games. The key to the line may however be the emergence of Martin Channels. There is nobody in the interior that is as quick as Channels. The key with big Martin is if he can condition himself well enough to contribute on a regular basis. The two wildcards in the equation are Redwine and Brown. Redwine spent his redshirt season outgrowing his TE spot and unfortunately injury prevented him from contributing much in the spring. Brown is a true freshman who might not be as quick as Channels but has the similar ability of moving players around in the interior of the line.
Miami has 6 interior lineman that will all be afforded the opportunity to compete and produce. The defense starts with these players and its success will depend on how well they perform.
Miami is loaded with ends that need to step things up in 2007 as it only produced 13.5 sacks in 2006. 6'5" 255lb SR Craig Mester and 6'2" 250lb JR Joe Coniglio have the most experience but won’t be asked to carry the load. Expect Miami to rotate fresh ends who all have the talent to start. 6'4" 250lb 3rd year SO Travis Craven finally shook the injury bug and finished off the season as well as any lineman on the roster (8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in the final 10 games to lead the unit). Redhawk fans will also finally get a look at 6'4" 250lb R-FR Jordan Stevens who was injured last August and was held out the 2006 season. However, Stevens comes to Miami as one of its most highly recruited defensive ends (ranked as the #34 DE in the nation coming out of H.S.) and he’ll have every opportunity to live up to that billing. The wild-card in this bunch is 6'6" 250lb R-FR DJ Svabik who has battled injury that also kept him out of the spring.
Miami recruited this position last year and it brings in 6'4" 250lb Morris Council and 6'4" 230lb Matt Kajmowicz. Once again, if either of these players can step up and add value to the position in 2007 look for Coach Montgomery to play them.
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