Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2008------- UMass Defensive Line

Back on Sunday we took a look at the status of the UMass linebacking corps for 2008. Today, we continue on the defensive side of the ball with a look at who's returning on defensive line for UMass and try to guess what the coaching staff is thinking for this coming campaign. Remember I have no special inside information.

Freshman are green.
Sophomores are orange
Juniors are blue
Senior are red

I'm working out of the UMass depth chart for the Hofstra game. Teams are only allowed to dress 60 players for the playoffs, so the depth chart for the playoffs may have been different. Note that the class of the player is for fall of 2008 not their current status.

According to the last regular season depth chart:

DE Michael Hanson Redshirt Junior
Darnel DeLaire Redshirt Senior

DT Brandon Collier Redshirt Junior
Bob McLaughlin Redshirt Sophomore

NT Kyle Harrington Redshirt Junior
Wilner Alexis Redshirt Senior

DE Open
Darrlyn Fenner Redshirt Senior

Other defensive linemen on the roster are DL Shaun Allen and DL Andrew Kervis.

It looks like we had only one freshman redshirt--DE Courtney Jackson .

Discussion: Based on their play in 2007 (I keep typing 2006), Hanson and Collier will be fixtures on the UMass defensive line for the next two years. Brown likes smaller active defensive linemen. "Chasing athletes with athletes" as he puts it. He substitutes freely to keep the DL fresh. Delaire appeared in 13 games, Fenner 12, Alexis 11 McLaughlin 13 and Allen 7.

The UMass defensive line was very active. Hanson had 61 total tackles and Collier 62. That's a lot for defensive linemen. The UMass DL was very good in 2007 and looks to be strong again in 2008. We do have to replace First Team All-Conference David Burris. That's going to be difficult.

With only eleven defensive linemen on the roster and four of them will be seniors, it seems likely that this will be a position that will receive some recruits. The line appears to be very solid and while there may be a BCS transfer or two, I would think that Brown would be recruiting freshmen.


Anonymous said...

I still think we could use a big man inside, but yes, the line far exceeded my expectations throughout the season.

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Anonymous said...

If UMass had a big (6'5"+ and 290 lbs+) NT it would change their whole rush defense. Jamming up the "middle" opens so many more defensive schemes. Most of the time, in the NT position, the smaller yet quicker guys can't fend off the much larger offensive linemen that are especially in the guard positions nowadays. Maybe, Brown should give the left tackle or a back-up experience guard some time on the d side of the ball. It's worth a try.