I'm trying to stir up some excitement over a position that I think is getting less attention than the others. I understand that it is so much more exciting to think about the unknown than what we do know. Below I am going to list why I think this years Defensive Line will be as good as last years and who knows, maybe better. Only the lord knows how long it will take for our offense to gel, so there is no telling how good the personal stats will be for our defense players. (Of course that will likely hurt our overall defensive stats)
1) Nathan Williams - He has improved as much every year as I expected and more so. He is a very dangerous pass rusher. He even showed the ability to drop back into coverage. I expect him to become an all American this year. I believe he is that good.
2010 OSU 45(Tackles) 20(TFL) 25(ASST) 5(SACKS) 1(FF) 1(Int) 22(Yards) 3(PASS B/U)
2) John "I wear nothing but flannel" Simon - First off, the dude stole the wardrobe from me, the original trend setter, flannel wearing extraordinaire. Second, teams haven't really prepared for him at this position. Most of his time last year was spent on the interior line where where his lack of size, not strength, failed to give him the best advantage possible. This guy is a workhorse. He probably has the best motor on the team, for a man his size. His strength is phenomenal. I believe that he can be more productive than Cam Heyward was last year. I mean no disrespect to Cam. He was phenomenal but his work was accomplished with technique and the bull rush more than his other attributes. (The Arkansas game in which he shed three blockers to tackle the running back was utterly devastating.) The only question mark I have about John is his use of technique. He is fast and strong but I failed to see him get off of an abundance of blocks last year. I also noticed a lack in technique when he lost the tug-o-war to Joel Hale at practice. (Not that technique in winning that directly relates to football, but keeping your hips down and taking the leverage away from your opponent does.) I like the fact that he will have a little more space to work in this year and the flexibility to remain unpredictable on the line.
2010 OSU 20(TACKLES) 8.5(TFL) 19(ASST) 3(SACKS) 1(Fumble returned for a TD) 2(PASS B/U)
With the emergence of Hank "he ate me" Hankins and Joel Hale, along with other notables, I believe that this defensive line will be truly special this year. People underestimate the usefulness of size. Strength is important but size gives you leverage. I have always thought that 275 lbs. belongs on the outside and that 295 lbs. plus, belongs on the interior. If things unravel the way I expect them to I think this group of men is going be very dangerous and explosive come midseason.