Opponents won’t be able to double-team all of the
potential trouble makers Texas boasts. All-Americans Crowder
and Okam lead a foursome that already work well together.
DE Robison boasts 15 TFLs and three forced fumbles from
his ’05 numbers, and reserve end ‘Rak’
(Orakpo) garnered all-conference honors as a RS frosh.
The role players return in place for this line to finish
as a top 10 run-stopping unit that is overall No.1 in
our opinion. Practicing against the nation’s top
offensive line only makes both groups better…Yikes!
Seniors Ah You and Thibodeaux bookend a DL that holds
up well in the historical annals of OU fronts. Don’t
forget about DE Larry Birdine, who many Sooner fans
feel is the best of the pass rushing bunch, as he returns
from a torn bicep that sidelined him all of last year.
Though some presence was lost inside (Dvoracek), Pendleton
and Bennett have top recruit Granger to push everyone’s
performance levels higher. The Sooner’s stellar
LBs will distract opposing blockers so that the numbers
will pile up for any/all of these down linemen, making
this the best front seven in the land. True tests come
versus the Longhorns and Aggies (both scorched OU for
200+ ground yards last season), but revenge will come
if the two-deep here stays healthy.
The days of Gator dominance up front are back. All-American
Thomas reunites with Harris as UF’s primaries
in the middle – though both come in under 300lbs,
they are big enough to clog running lanes and fast/elusive
enough to invade opposing backfields regularly. At 6-6,
Moss led the team in TFLs and sacks as a reserve underclassman,
so expectations are high for the now-starting end. Meyer’s
guys can easily surpass last year’s top 10 run-stopping
result with the deep rotation available (Cohen).
With three seniors and three returning starters, this
clan of Berkeley Bears has all the bite of a superior
line. Inside, Malele is the immovable object who frees
all-American Mebane to wreak havoc – when the
sack leader is a tackle, it speaks volumes on the front’s
versatility. Outside, Tafisi, Ma’afala and Mbokogu
all use size and speed to do whatever is necessary,
and do it well. Like with OU, the capability of a studded
LB corps means UC can and will decimate opponent’s
The youth movement that was good last year will pay
dividends and be the strength of this entire team. Joe
Monty is the lone senior who leads by using every ounce
of effort to contain the outside well, but it’s
his counterparts at rush end (Cooper and Shaughnessy)
who make for the line’s deepest dimension. Like
Shaughnessy, DT Hayden earned all-conference as an underclassman.
Ala Cal’s Mebane, an inside presence (Hayden)
finishing fourth on the team in tackles, second in TFLs
and first in sacks means his return will result in good
things to come.
Florida State, Georgia, Iowa, Miami
FL, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech