May 11, 2010

Final spring grades: Defensive line

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With spring ball in the rear view and recruiting picking up steam, we thought
we'd take a look back and grade the progression of the offense and defense,
position by position. For coaches, the spring is essential to player development
and getting a sense of who is going to be impacting your team and who may still
need a year of learning. First up, the grades for the defensive line.


Entering Spring: B+

With Stephen Paea inside, he alone puts this grade as high as it was in early
March and his performance throughout the spring may single handedly put it at
an A. Brennan Olander missed the final week of practice with what has been reported
as mono, but was his usual disruptive self throughout the spring and a near
lock for the starting spot along side Paea.

Beyond Olander and Paea there was little experience, however between Kevin Frahm's natural transition from defensive
end and the emergence of Castro Masaniai the position is legitimately four deep.
Coach Joe must love the talent he has at his disposal inside. Not to mention
the return of Mitchel Hunt, who played in seven games in 2009. [editors note: Hunt could also see time at DE as well this fall.]

Grade After Spring: A

Two very good starters, two quality backups, a slew of up and coming guys
(Hannah, Hull, Motter, Hunt), and a trio of recruits make this group quite possibly
the strongest on the defense.

Who To Watch: Thomas Molesi (6-2 280), Mana Tuivailala (6-4 288) and
Fred Thompson (6-4 290).
to drop off into coverage in zone reads.

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