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August 1, 2008

Fall Camp Preview: The Defensive Line

The Red Raider football team will open up fall camp in less than a week when they take the practice field on Monday August 4th. As the countdown to practice begins, RedRaiderSports.com will breakdown each position heading into camp with in-depth position analysis. This afternoon we break down the defensive line. Is the depth really there and plentiful like some have suggested?

Biggest Question: Is the depth as advertised?

Yes the depth is there. In fact, Texas Tech has never had this kind of depth on their defensive line. They have five defensive tackles that they feel very comfortable with. Most know about Rajon Henley, Colby Whitlock, Richard Jones and Chris Perry but don't overlook David Neill who found himself in the backfield all spring long. Same goes for end where you are seeing players running with the third team that would have started in previous years. Brandon Williams and Jake Ratliff ended the spring as the starters but Daniel Howard, Brandon Sharpe, McKinner Dixon, Sandy Riley and now Brandon Sesaywill not go away easily and I wouldn't be surprised to see Ratliff relinquish his spot to someone more talented like Dixon, Howard or Sesay.

What We Know Right Now: The possibility of being dominant exists

Expect plenty of pressure from this unit. Considering the offense the Red Raiders will throw out there, it's not going to take a lot of defense to win games, but defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill isn't going to sit back and take it easy. He has a tremendous unit to work with, finally and there should be lots of sacks, lots of big plays, and lots of tackles for loss and yes, a dominant unit.

Fresh Fall Camp Faces: Brandon Sesay

Sesay's arrival has been as highly anticipated as any other Texas Tech footballer in recent memory. His 6-foot-6, 278-pound frame is something that hasn't been seen around these parts in a long, long time. Is Sesay the next Big 12 Newcomer of the Year? Not likely, but his talent and skill set will only add to this unit's depth and ability to slow down or in most cases attack the opposition.

Early Camp Prediction:

I've read and heard some discuss that Texas Tech's defensive line got the best of the offensive line and offense in general during the spring game because it was a makeshift offensive line they were facing. Yes, Rylan Reed and Louis Vasquez sat out that day but this isn't about that day. The performance that this particular unit put forth on almost every other day this past spring when Vasquez was practicing was umm, dominant. The well documented Monday practice to end the spring was about as good as you'll see and Mike Leach said as much calling it the best defensive effort he's ever been a part of at Texas Tech. The prediction is that they'll continue that dominance. Over a dozen players will see action and the talent from 1 to say 14 isn't significant. This unit in particular is why this team has a chance to be special.

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