Thursday, July 17, 2008

2008 VT Preview - Defensive Line

Defensive end will be a strong point for the Hokies in 2008, while defensive tackle definitely will not.

The only returnees on the defensive line with significant experience are the ends. Senior Orion Martin is the only returning starter on the line. The brother of Cam Martin had 6.5 sacks in 2007.

Sophomore Jason Worilds was the star of spring and fall practice last year and is expected to the be the next in line of great Hokie DEs. Worilds has shown instinct for getting to the quarterback. A key for the Hokies will be getting pressure on the quarterback to produce turnovers.

Junior Nekos Brown was a pleasant surprise last season. He recorded 4.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks in 2007. I like having three solid defensive ends to rotate and keep guys fresh. The Hokies have that with Martin, Worilds and Brown.

The Hokies are very thin in the middle and getting thinner. Junior Cordarrow "Taco" Thompson lost a lot of weight in the off-season, both a positive and a negative for defensive tackles. I like defensive tackles to be large and built a little lower to the ground.

However, Thompson and sophomore John Graves aren't the largest of defensive tackles. They do have a lot of mobility, though. Graves is the only returner at DT to get much time last year. He was the No. 4 DT on the depth chart in 2007 and recorded 11 tackles, 2.5 for loss.

The rest of the options at defensive tackle are very young and very inexperienced. An injury at DT would be a disaster for the Hokies.

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