April 2, 2009

Spring Focus: Defensive Line

In the first of Duck Sports Authority’s Spring Focus series, we take a look at the defensive line. This was a position of concern with the graduation of three of four starters, and the situation became more interesting with the departure of Tonio Celotto.

The defensive line lost three of its top four contributors to graduation, two of which are destined for the NFL in DE Nick Reed and DT Sonny Harris. The other graduating senior, DT Cole Linehan, would have had a legitimate shot as well had his body held up. He told DSA that there is no chance of an NFL look for him due to an accumulation of injuries, so he’ll be entering the challenging job market as soon as possible.

Defensive end Will Tukuafu is the returning starter. In the first two days of drills it appears he has taken on the leadership gap in the fashion a college coach hopes for, effort and execution. He will certainly return to his starting position, and if he continues as he is performing now, will provide an anchor on one of the edges.

On the other side, Butler Community College junior transfer Zac Clark has looked quite good in the first two days without pads. He has a great frame for his position and is in decent shape early in fall camp. He is definitely a welcome addition to the unit.

The other junior college addition on the defensive front, Reedley junior tackle Terrance Montgomery, also looks as if he will be helpful in 2009. When the pads go on he will have a chance to earn his way into the rotation with sufficient size and athleticism to play at this level now.

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