D-Line questions galore
Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for the mailbag, enjoy:
“Over the past few years it seems our defensive line has been average. I trust Bill Young, but am still concerned with a seeming lack of depth here. How would you rank the defensive line from 1-10? Will it surprise us or scare us?” — Jeremie
I would give the defensive line a 6. But there’s room for improvement if Donaldson and Jarka stay healthy and Richetti Jones continues to come on. Jones could be the key, if he lives up to the high expectations that have followed him since he was an elite recruit, OSU’s defense line could be very good.
“The coaches have talked about lining up 10 to 15 plays to begin practice that will include a power run game and power sets to prepare for different teams. Do you think that is enough time allotted in practice to ensure that OSU’s defense will be just as physical with opponents as they were last year?” — Jason
That remains to be seen but I think it can be. You have to remember most teams run spread or pass heavy offenses. Obviously the week of Nebraska or Kansas State or a team with a power running game, I’m sure the time the number of power run plays will increase significantly. I expect OSU to be physical but they definitely need one or two guys to step up to provide depth at defensive tackle.
“How deep do you think we might run in the defensive secondary? How many freshmen do you think will be looked at? I am also concerned with the pass receivers. Do we have any sure handed speed burners on the horizon?” — Karl Bagwell
I think OSU’s secondary could become one of the strengths of the team. The emergence of Zack Craig, Deion Imade and Lavocheya Cooper is huge and Justin Gilbert will make a impact at cornerback. I would expect at least 10 freshman to play. As far as receivers, Isaiah Anderson has really come on this fall. And he has great speed so if he remains consistent he could make a huge impact.
“I find it quite interesting that the defensive line has been an area of struggle recruiting wise in recent years. I know quality defensive lineman are probably the hardest to recruit because they are so few and far between. I know Gundy and his staff want a game changing DT just as bad as I do but what do you think is keeping us from attracting one. It is not like we haven’t produced some of the best d lineman in the game today. I would put the All OSU defensive line of Juqua Parker, Jamal Williams, Kevin Williams, and Antonio Smith against just about anybody.” — Jeff Jones
The reality is that those guys are just really, really hard to find. There simply aren’t very many elite defensive tackles. And the ones that do exist, you have to battle the nation’s elite to get. You have to beat the Alabama’s, USC’s, Florida’s, Texas’, etc… much easier said than done. So for OSU, the Cowboys have to be very good at evaluation of defensive tackles and be willing to take chances on guys who are “boom or bust” type talents. Bottom line: This is not an OSU problem, it’s a problem for pretty much every college football program in the nation simply based on supply compared to demand.
“Have you had an opportunity to see the offensive linemen in either scrimmage or practice? Have any of the other sports writers? Does it appear to you/them that the new offense is helping or hurting the inexperience? Do the coaches think they will be OK? Above Average? Chance to be great? Top 3 tackles? guards? centers?” — Larry
In the time I’ve had to watch some of those guys I think the new offense is helping the inexperienced offensive line. They don’t have to maintain their blocks as long. I’d say the top three tackles are Nick Martinez, Levy Adcock and Parker Graham. Top guards: Lane Taylor, Jonathan Rush, Anthony Morgan. Top Centers: Grant Garner, Casey LaBrue.
“I would like to hear a little bit about the freshmen class. Who is standing out? Who is not progressing as quickly as they hoped for? And can Sorenson really not throw a spiral past 15 yards? He sure could in HS.” — Brad
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