August 25, 2006

Freshmen DL show promise

This year, to say that BYU's defensive line is young and inexperienced is a significant understatement. Twelve of sixteen players are freshman and all of last year's top five linemen are gone. To conclude though, that this year's defensive line will be less effective than lat year's, would be premature and likely, a major mistake. With the outcome of summer practices so far, there is a big question about the defensive line. Contrary to some early fan expectations, though, it's not how the line will play, but who will play.

The defensive line matches their opponents' strength and size with speed and aggression.

Over the course of numerous practices and scrimmages, the young defensive line has mounted a fierce challenge to the veteran BYU offensive line. When Bronco Mendenhall changed the defensive base formation from a 3-3-5 to a 3-4-4 alignment, he decided to take advantage of this year's quicker, lighter defensive linemen by employing a new strategy.

Last year, the defensive line pitted their size directly against the offensive lineman. Employing three defensive tackles, their responsibility was to hold their ground and then try to make a play. This year, the defensive linemen are to anticipate where the play is going and beat the offensive linemen to the point of attack. The faster players and the new scheme are more blitzkrieg than Maginot Line.

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