August 16, 2007

Pushing forward

Defensive line coach Grady Stretz helped his position group make significant strides last season. As one of two assistant coaches that Dennis Erickson elected to retain from the previous coach staff, he has been able to build some continuity with his players, including several who played prominent roles last season.

Two starters, end Dexter Davis and tackle Michael Marquardt, are among the returning players.

Davis led the team with six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss last season as a redshirt freshman. He had 40 total tackles, more than any other linemen.

He's doing a really nice job." Stretz said of Davis. "He's improving every day. He's playing both sides, his fundamentals are coming around, as is his understanding of the game and his block reactions. His pass rush is getting cleaned up. He's got a great understanding of the new scheme we have on defense. I'm happy with the progress he's been making. It's been a good camp for him."

Marquardt, one of the oldest players on the roster, had 25 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss last season.

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