August 6, 2007

2007 Outlook: In the trenches

In the recent past defensive line depth has been a major concern for the University of Minnesota. For the first time in many years the defensive line appear to be one of the Golden Gophers strengths in 2007. A new aggressive defensive attitude coupled with a group of young and talented players, lead by Willie VanDeSteeg, has lead to be belief that this could be the best defensive line the Gophers have had in many years.

The Position:

Defensive line for the 2007 Golden Gophers.

The Problem:

Who will step up besides VanDeSteeg? There is plenty of talent, but most of it is unproven.

The Possibilities:

Ends:

Junior Willie VanDeSteeg 6-foot-4, 255 pounds

Sophomore Raymond Henderson 6-foot-6, 250 pounds

Sophomore Willie Dyson 6-foot-3, 230 pounds

Sophomore Lee Campbell 6-foot-3, 250 pounds

Sophomore Derrick Onwauchi 6-foot-5, 250 pounds

Redshirt freshman Sean McWhirter 6-foot-3, 250 pounds

Tackles:

Sophomore Eric Small 6-foot-2, 280 pounds

Senior Todd Meisel 6-foot-4, 270 pounds

Sophomore Otis Hudson 6-foot-5, 300 pounds

Senior Neel Allen 6-foot-3, 300 pounds

Sophomore Garrett Brown 6-foot-2, 290 pounds

The one guaranteed, locked in, 100% starter on the line at this point is Willie VanDeSteeg. VanDeSteeg came on late in the year in 2007, showing the pass rush ability that Gopher fans had been hoping for since seeing him play in the Prep Bowl in 2003. He had four sacks against Michigan State in a game that was key to keeping the hopes of playing in a Bowl game alive. VanDeSteeg finished the year with ten sacks, a record for a sophomore. He as named Second Team All Big Ten at the end of the season. He should be more effective in 2007 under Everett Withers new aggressive defense and more help along the line.

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