February 21, 2007

Can the D-line play to its potential?

The biggest challenge that new coaching staff at Minnesota is going to face will turning around the perennial mediocre defense. Getting more pass rush and constant play from the line will be key to turning it around. Defensive coordinator Everett Withers and line coach Tim Cross have some talent to work with, but will it be enough?

Returning Starters: Ends Willie Van DeSteeg and Steve Davis. Tackles John Jakel and Neel Allen

The Contenders:

Junior Willie Van DeSteeg had a strong sophomore season ending up with 10 sacks. He blew up with four sacks against Michigan State. He appears to have rediscovered the pass rushing ability that earned him his college scholarship.

Junior Steve Davis was not able to match the numbers he put up as a true freshman, but he did receive more attention from opposing linemen. He may be more suited to be a situational pass rusher, rather than an every down lineman. He could also transition to a pass rushing linebacker and end up as a Ben Mezera type of player.

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