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2011 Preview: Defensive Line

By Mike

Senior DE Kashawn Fraser could have a big impact on CMU's ability to rush the QB in 2011. Image courtesy of CMUChippewas.com.

Who we lose: Sean Murnane

Key returners: Kenny McClendon, Steve Winston, John Williams, Caesar Rodriguez, Kashawn Fraser, Daniel Jackson and Darryl Stinson

2010 Red Shirts: Leterrius Walton and Andy Phillips

Could skip red shirt?: Shafer Johnson or Matt Losiniecki

Sean Murnane was a force and will be sorely missed next season but Coach Tumpkin was able to get some good game experience to some younger pieces—particularly at the DE position. And despite Murnane’s departure, this group can only get better as they struggled mightily to stop the run and pressure the QB in 2011. The defensive line is extremely deep and if nothing, should stay fresh most games.

Among those given early time is returning Sophomore, Kenny McClendon. Although McClendon did not have eye popping stats in 2010, his play was solid and will be ready to rotate with Fraser.

Another young piece that looked impressive was DE, Caesar Rodriguez. Caesar appeared in 10 of the Chippewas games last year and really had an endless motor while on the field. In the Chippewas debut game vs. Hampton, Rodriguez recorded 2 sacks but failed to record another all season. The Chippewas need strong, consistent play from Caesar in 2011 if they hope to pressure the QB.

Kashon Fraser is one the most talented and experienced defensive linemen on the team but has had a string of run ins with local police. He remains on the team and will be a huge help if he can stay the course and be the leader the Chippewa defense sorely needs.

An important piece of the defensive line is returning DT, John Williams. Williams appeared in all 12 games last season and led the DL in total tackles. Expect another solid season from this team leader.

The Chippewas rotated a slew of capable defensive tackles throughout the game in 2011 but did not have the luxury of swapping in Leterrius Walton. Walton was a red shirt last season and it must have taken every bit of will power for Coach Enos to keep him on the bench because everything out of Mt. Pleasant last year indicated Walton was ready. Walton has an unstoppable motor and is incredibly athletic—expect him to play both DT and stunt to the DE.

Stat National Rank Conference Rank
sacks 79 8
tackle for loss 80 6
turnover margin T-112 12
rushing defense 81 10
pass efficiency 66 7
scoring defense 60 7
total defense 66 8

The Chippewas must improve their run defense and turnover margin in 2011 and it start with the front 4.

It’s all riding on…

…stopping the run. Football can sometimes be summed up by the ability to do two things: run the football and stop the run. In 2010, the Chippewas did neither—anyone watching the Bowling Green game knows exactly what I’m talking about. The 2011 season gives the Chippewa defensive line a chance to wipe the slate clean and get back to the way football was meant to be played. A successful 2011 starts with stuffing the run.

…the ability to rush the QB. This sounds simple enough, but in recent seasons the Chippewas defense has been gashed countless times by athletic QBs who burn the defense to the edge. If the Chippewa’s DL can pressure the QB and finish the job, 2011 could be a much different season from the doom and gloom of the ’10 season. The interior linemen are young and plentiful and should do a decent job of engaging the middle of the OL while the defensive ends do some quarterback hunting on the edges. If the DL can can put pressure on the QB, the turnover margin is bound to turn around and the Chippewas will be winning the close heartbreakers they lost all of 2010.

Despite the lack of immediate high hopes for this group, Dan Enos has made it a top priority to recruit talented defensive linemen and guys that can be shaped into gamers. If 2011 isn’t the Chippewas season for mashing QBs, it is definitely coming with a little patience.

What defensive lineman will have the best 2011 season?

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 7:04 am and is filed under 2011 season preview, Caesar Rodriguez, Daniel Jackson, Darryl Stinson, John Williams, Kashawn Fraser, Letarius Walton, Sean Murnane, Shafer Johnson, Steve Winston. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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4 Responses to “2011 Preview: Defensive Line”

  1. Anonymous

    290 lb. NT John Williams from Miami who played as a true freshman will be a three year starter and is the anchor of the DL.

  2. TheChipReport.com

    Nice catch Anon! John was a big contributor last year and most definitely should have been on this list.

    He led the DL in tackles and played in all 12 games last year.

  3. arrows80

    My biggest fear when I look at the defensive line is that I don’t see a lot of bulk. That could be a problem, especially against the BCS opponents.

  4. TheChipReport.com - A Central Michigan Football Blog

    [...] Defensive line [...]

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