Spring Football Previews: Defensive Line

US PRESSWIRE

Tech's beastly young class of lineman look to do some damage to opposing QBs in 2013.

Tentative Pre-Spring Depth Chart

Position First String Second String Third String
SDE Euclid Cummings (R-Sr) Emmanuel Dieke (R-Sr) Christopher Crenshaw (R-Sr)
DT Adam Gotsis (So) Pat Gamble (R-Fr) Ben Keith (R-Sr)
DT Shawn Green (R-Jr) Jimmie Kitchen (R-So) Francis Kallon (R-Fr)
WDE Jeremiah Attaochu (Sr) Anthony Williams (R-Jr) Rod Chungong (R-Fr)

I pulled this chart from our library of football resources. It has a full depth chart and scholarship breakdown by class, among other things. Check it out!

Injuries: All DL starters are cleared to play this spring.

Key Players

I think the two most spectacular new guys in the 2013 DL will be Adam Gotsis and Francis Kallon. This ex-patriot pair's lack of football experience (eight years between the two) might worry some people, but not me. Why am I not worried? I've got it from the horses mouth that I shouldn't be! DL Coach Mike Pelton has said that playing line isn't hard, but rather detailed. I have every confidence that the coaching staff has covered all the details that Gotsis' and Kallon's freak athleticism (that's 1111 lbs there, folks) didn't take care of on its own. After seeing Gotsis' performance at the end of the end of the season last year, I can say he's a virtual lock to be a big-time player. The only reason I'm not as confident about Kallon is that I have no game evidence to go off. His real progress will show in spring practice, but his size and instincts that the scouts touted during his recruitment should manifest themselves.

As I mentioned in the DB preview earlier today, Jeremiah Attaochu will be making the switch from LB to DE this season. He's probably going to the most electrifying player on the defense and should be a sight to see. At the end of last season when he made the switch to DL, he had five sacks and 21 tackles. If he can keep up that trend I think all of the criteria laid down in the "expectations" section below will be met.

Expectations

I'm pegging this unit to go "most improved" in 2013. As we all know, this team has a lot of defensive talent. This scheme change should be enough to unleash it. According to sources (we'll call him "Joey") the transfer to the 4-3 from the 3-4 is a lot easier than the other way around, so we shouldn't see the steep learning curve we saw three years ago. This group of guys also seems a lot more fit to the 4-3; there was evidence of that in the improvement we saw in the defense at the end of last season as more 4-3 was installed. The line is asked to do a lot more pass rushing in this strategy; Gotsis and Jerry have already shown us what they can do in that department. With Kallon or Green in the middle next to Gotsis opponents should have a formidable force to contend with.

Q&A

>> Can we expect more sacks this season?

With the pass rush now largely in the hands of the defensive line and not assigned to about six different players at once, I think so. The players need to be allowed to just play and don't need a million assignments -- Tech's defense has improved both times that's been allowed to happen under two different coordinators.

>> So what are all these linebackers we have going to be doing in the 4-3?

Lots of run support and zone reads. In the 4-3, the LB's are more of the fulcrum of the defense rather than the lever like in the 3-4; they facilitate the reaction but do not take part in it.

What are your expectations for this position grouping in the new scheme, as compared to Al Groh's 3 man front?

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