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Defensive Line

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October 17, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - Six games into the college football season, Penn State coach James Franklin is still talking about things that need to be fixed. No team is perfect, but the issues confronting the Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) aren't encouraging this deep into the season. Saddled with a vulnerable offensive line, halfhearted commitment to the running game and an offense that has been a far cry from consistent, the Penn State defense has carried this team. With exception to its Sept.
NEWS
April 22, 2012
DT FLETCHER COX, MISSISSIPPI STATE - Tall, athletic and disruptive, some think he could be one of the best defensive players in the draft. His game would fit well with the Eagles. DT DONTARI POE, MEMPHIS - The 346-pound defensive tackle impressed with a stunning 4.98-second 40-yard dash at the combine, but his ability didn't translate into big plays on the field. DT MICHAEL BROCKERS, LSU - Brockers is 6-foot-5 and a powerful force up front but is raw and needs to improve as a pass rusher.
NEWS
May 23, 2013 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Part Six of an online-only series. Here is a look at the defensive linemen on the Eagles roster: Projected starters DE: Fletcher Cox (6-4, 300), 22, 2nd season; Cedric Thornton (6-4, 309), 24, 2nd season The Eagles are counting on Cox, the 2012 first-round pick, to become a blue-chip player in the Eagles new defense. He showed flashes of stardom last year, including 4 1/2 of his 5 1/2 sacks after joining the starting lineup seven games into the season.
SPORTS
June 8, 2013 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Of all the changes implemented - or yet to be implemented - under Eagles coach Chip Kelly, the most significant may prove to be the transformation of the defensive line. Not only have the Eagles moved to what will likely be a front of three down-lineman, they have altered the responsibilities of linemen who were previously told to think pass-rush first. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis' scheme is a work in progress, but defensive end Cedric Thornton said that he envisions an Eagles line that will focus on stopping the run first and eating up blockers to free up other pass- rushers.
SPORTS
August 28, 2013 | By John N. Mitchell, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Temple coach Matt Rhule started watching the game film of Notre Dame last week, the play of the Fighting Irish's defensive line was the first thing he noticed. On Monday morning, he was still noticing. The Owls have some depth and considerable size along their offensive line, with Kyle Friend returning at center and the addition of 6-foot-4, 330-pound Maryland transfer Pete White at right guard. But the Fighting Irish went undefeated last season until an Alabama team loaded with future first-round picks across its offensive line destroyed them in the national championship game.
SPORTS
August 12, 2011
JIM WASHBURN, the Eagles' new defensive line coach, had his leg broken in a sideline collision early last season when he worked for the Tennessee Titans. The experience has not appeared to back him off an inch. Late in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 13-6 exhibition win over the Baltimore Ravens - a time and a place that pretty much defined meaninglessness - there Washburn was, still right in the middle of things, getting himself run over again on the sideline. This time, it was by Ravens receiver Justin Harper, as he was being ridden out of bounds.
SPORTS
May 7, 2014
The Eagles signed Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva on Monday, giving the 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman his first chance to play football since he was commissioned on May 22, 2010. Villanueva spent the past four years in the Army and served three tours in Afghanistan. He last played football for Army in 2009 and tried out for the Bengals in 2010. The Eagles scouted Villanueva, 25, at the super regional combine in Detroit in April. He will be with the team for the rookie minicamp from May 16-18.
SPORTS
August 8, 2014 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Taylor Hart and Beau Allen were selected on the third day of the NFL draft, when the odds of hitting on prospects are about as low as betting on the hard eight. But the Eagles loaded the dice and took defensive linemen they knew, and defensive linemen who knew their scheme. Training camp is only 10 practices old, and Friday's preseason opener at Chicago will be the first true test, but Hart and Allen already have drawn praise from teammates and coaches. That's not often the case for rookies taken in the fifth and seventh rounds.
SPORTS
September 5, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - Ohio State's defensive line, now coached by former Penn State coach Larry Johnson, is stocked with future NFL talent. Michigan State's stifling unit is headlined by preseason All-America defensive end Shilique Calhoun. But after taking in the opening week of college football, the preseason talk of premier front fours might have unjustly left a Big Ten unit out of the conversation. "I would say that people overlook us," Penn State defensive tackle Austin Johnson said.
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SPORTS
October 17, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - Six games into the college football season, Penn State coach James Franklin is still talking about things that need to be fixed. No team is perfect, but the issues confronting the Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) aren't encouraging this deep into the season. Saddled with a vulnerable offensive line, halfhearted commitment to the running game and an offense that has been a far cry from consistent, the Penn State defense has carried this team. With exception to its Sept.
SPORTS
October 17, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
ABOUT THIS time a year ago, there were at least a few Temple folks wondering if Matt Rhule was the right guy to coach the Owls' football team. And definitely many more than a few who were questioning Rhule's choice of making well-traveled veteran Phil Snow his defensive coordinator. But that's what can happen when you lose your first six and opponents keep converting long passes at the end of a lot of those games to erase whatever good had come before. "My oldest boy said, 'Dad, do you read message boards?
SPORTS
October 11, 2014 | By John N. Mitchell, Inquirer Staff Writer
In those fleeting moments when Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich and backup Michael Felton can catch up with each other on the sideline during games, the two exchange information that they know will benefit both. "It's key," said Matakevich, who leads the Owls' voracious defense with 26 tackles. "He's watching me, and I'm watching him. We tell each other what we see and what we need to do. " It's the type of conversation that many defensive starters for Temple - looking to improve to 4-1 for just the third time since 1979 - are having much more regularly this season than last.
SPORTS
October 10, 2014 | BY MIKE KERN, Daily News Staff Writer kernm@phillynews.com
RAHEEM BROCK (Dobbins Tech) and Dan Klecko were teammates on the defensive line at Temple for a couple of seasons at the turn of the century, and then again with an Indianapolis Colts team in 2006 that won the Super Bowl. So now maybe it's only right that they're part of the six-person class being inducted into the university's Athletics Hall of Fame, a group that also includes the late football coach Ray Morrison (1940-48). They'll be introduced - along with field hockey's Michelle Murawski (1997-2000)
SPORTS
October 6, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Quentin Christian tossed the football into the sky, leaped, and kicked out his legs. The senior's interception in the end zone clinched Glen Mills' double-overtime 18-12 victory at Chester on Saturday afternoon in Del-Val League action. The Battling Bulls defense had been granted a second chance when Chester's game-tying touchdown was called back for offensive pass interference. The second chance, Christian said, was a blessing. And he made the most of it. The 5-foot-9, 162-pounder closely guarded the Chester receiver, snatched the pass, and soaked it in. The win was overwhelming, he said.
NEWS
October 5, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Albie Crosby stomped his right heel into the dirt, and a cloud of dust rose from the ground. The Imhotep Charter football coach gave his whistle a few quick blasts. Practice was set to begin, and the dust, which seems to haze over the team's practices, had arrived. The Public League's top team practices in the outfield of a West Oak Lane baseball field, a short walk from the school. The Lonnie Young Recreation Center field does not have goalposts. The team practices kicks by launching balls over the high fence down the third-base line.
SPORTS
September 26, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - The first thing Penn State coach James Franklin does when evaluating an opponent is to try and find that one guy, that one defensive player who can wreck a game. Be it a defensive lineman, linebacker, cornerback or safety, who can change the complexity of a game? That's going to be quite the challenge for Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. With a stable of defensive playmakers from the front four to the safeties over the top, the Nittany Lions' defense has turned heads through four games, leading the team to an undefeated mark.
SPORTS
September 22, 2014 | By Matt Breen, Inquirer Staff Writer
The football struck a Roman Catholic defender's hand, ricocheted into the air, and hung over Washington's field on Saturday afternoon for what seemed an eternity. Cahillites coach Joe McCourt watched from the sideline, hoping the fourth-quarter play did not somehow turn into an Archbishop Ryan gain. Tom Stevens ran underneath the ball as it dropped toward the turf. "I hope I don't drop this," the Roman linebacker thought. Stevens grasped the ball and sprinted all alone with the interception for a 35-yard touchdown that sealed visiting Roman's 24-16 win. When the 6-foot-1 junior reached the end zone, he appeared to begin to dive across the goal line before stopping midstride.
SPORTS
September 19, 2014 | BY JOHN McGONIGAL, Daily News Staff Writer mcgonij@phillynews.com
STATE COLLEGE - Behind the defensive line are the linebackers, and if an offensive playmaker gets by the second level, the linebackers, of course, can lean on defensive backs. But if a ball carrier gets past the secondary? See ya. "We're the last line of defense," Penn State cornerbacks coach Terry Smith said. "Our mistakes are touchdowns. " Thankfully for Smith and the Nittany Lions secondary, that final wall before the end zone has held firm so far, and it needs to remain solid this weekend against a quietly potent Massachusetts offense.
SPORTS
September 17, 2014 | By Marcus Hayes, Daily News Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - It is important to note, at this juncture, that the Eagles very much are a work in progress. They have a quarterback with less than a full season's worth of starts. They are inexperienced on the defensive line. They rebuilt their receiving corps. They addressed the porous defensive secondary, but they could not upgrade it overwhelmingly. They lost three of their top six offensive linemen to injury or suspension, and the offensive line was their best unit.
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