June 5, 2007

2007 post-spring analysis: Defensive line

Editor's note: Having perused the offensive side of the ball, let's take a look at this season's defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE

There are three key components for WVU's line play to improve this season. Of the three, only James Ingram has made his mark. Asa Chapman was a late signee and Chris Neild is a redshirt freshman.

In Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense, the job of the nose tackle is basically to hold up the center of the line. Since head coach Rich Rodriguez has been here, there was one true player who made plays from the NT--Ben Lynch. The rest have been serviceable, but few have made consistent plays in the backfield like undersized Ben did in the early Rod years.

Keilen Dykes is a potential second-tier All-American who has been WVU's most consistent defensive lineman for two years running. Dykesy could make more plays at DT, but because the Mountaineers are thin at NT, he immediate future is there. He has started 25 games.

With Pat Liebig ending his career early to join a family business and Craig Wilson and Warren Young's eligibility up, DL coach Bill Kirelawich tried to break in Neild, Thor Merrow and experimented with both Ingram and Doug Slavonic in the spring.

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