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SPORTS
August 30, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
NASHVILLE - Before the kickoff, a driving thunderstorm roared in and strategically-timed lightning bolts kept delaying the start of the season for the Temple Owls Thursday night at Vanderbilt. The stadium had to be cleared several times, players banished to the locker room. At almost 11 o'clock Eastern time, officially 92 minutes late, the opener began. None of it bothered Temple, none of it mattered. Never mind that the Owls were two-touchdown underdogs. They embarrassed Vanderbilt, 37-7.
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
August 26, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Brandon Bair has a side business selling used cars. The Eagles defensive linemen started by finding a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado and identifying an opportunity where others saw junk. He made $700. So Bair could probably relate to the Eagles taking a 29-year-old defensive lineman who has never played in a regular-season game and was discarded by two teams, and turning him into a reserve lineman after one year on the practice squad. The 53-man roster will not be set until Saturday, and the Eagles will have difficult decisions to make on the defensive line.
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.
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SPORTS
August 31, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Columnist
NASHVILLE - A big rig with Jersey plates sat outside Vanderbilt Stadium, out on Natchez Trace. When college football teams go on the road, they take their program with them. Logistics are fine-tuned, contingencies planned for. When the rains came Thursday evening, Temple was ready. "We have a lightning plan that's in place. We bring all the food from the hotel in case we ever hit lightning," Temple football coach Matt Rhule was saying later, early Friday morning. There was no forecast, however, for what happened here.
SPORTS
August 30, 2014 | By Joe Juliano, Inquirer Staff Writer
In his 231 days as Penn State's head football coach, James Franklin has dazzled Nittany Lions football fans with his energy and enthusiasm, his ability to recruit, and his pleasant manner when he's been around them. Now, finally, those fans get to see him coach a football game. The James Franklin Era officially begins Saturday - in Ireland of all places - when the Lions take on Central Florida at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin. Reportedly, hundreds have crossed the Atlantic to see the debut in person.
SPORTS
August 30, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
NASHVILLE - Before the kickoff, a driving thunderstorm roared in and strategically-timed lightning bolts kept delaying the start of the season for the Temple Owls Thursday night at Vanderbilt. The stadium had to be cleared several times, players banished to the locker room. At almost 11 o'clock Eastern time, officially 92 minutes late, the opener began. None of it bothered Temple, none of it mattered. Never mind that the Owls were two-touchdown underdogs. They embarrassed Vanderbilt, 37-7.
SPORTS
August 26, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Brandon Bair has a side business selling used cars. The Eagles defensive linemen started by finding a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado and identifying an opportunity where others saw junk. He made $700. So Bair could probably relate to the Eagles taking a 29-year-old defensive lineman who has never played in a regular-season game and was discarded by two teams, and turning him into a reserve lineman after one year on the practice squad. The 53-man roster will not be set until Saturday, and the Eagles will have difficult decisions to make on the defensive line.
SPORTS
August 20, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Eagles defense stayed on the field longer than any team in the NFL last season, and that's not just because of Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense and his indifference toward time of possession. It was also because the Eagles could not find a way off the field on third downs. Only eight teams in the NFL were worse on third downs than the Eagles, who allowed opponents to convert 40 percent of their attempts. The first two preseason games showed no sign of improvement. The Eagles are allowing opponents to convert on 62.5 percent of their third downs.
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
August 5, 2014 | By Mike Sielski, Inquirer Columnist
CORTLAND, N.Y. - Karl Dunbar, who coaches the New York Jets' defensive linemen, described himself one day here last week as a "man of faith," and he said he draws on that faith when considering the future of his best player. That player is Muhammad Wilkerson, and Muhammad Wilkerson believes himself to be underpaid. He said as much to the New York Daily News last month ("Do I think I'm underpaid? Yeah. "), and it is difficult to argue with him. Since the Jets drafted him out of Temple in 2011, making him the Owls' only first-round pick over the last 28 years, Wilkerson has started 47 of a possible 48 regular-season games, made 114 tackles, collected 181/2 quarterback sacks - including 101/2 last season - forced six fumbles, defended nine passes, and become the most important and versatile player not merely on the Jets' defensive line, but on their entire defense.
SPORTS
June 23, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
The head coach was asked to assess the team's spring workouts, including the just-completed mandatory minicamp. Going into the long break until the start of training camp, it seemed that everything had been accomplished as planned, and the foundation had been put down for a successful NFL season to come. "It was good to get everybody in the building and everybody working together. Overall, I feel like the team is coming along great, and the unity is where it needs to be at this point, and then when we come back to training camp with the knowledge of the system and people knowing one another, hopefully we can take off from there.
SPORTS
June 9, 2014 | By Zach Berman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The 10 pounds Bennie Logan added this offseason beefed the Eagles' starting nose tackle to around 317-319 pounds, depending on the day. Even though that is a little shy of the prototypical nose tackle's weight, the team is confident in Logan, a second-year lineman, and has pledged its support for him. "Most people, when they picture a nose tackle, they picture a 330-plus guy, just clogging up the middle," Logan said. "But the way we play our defense, you've got to be able to run. And I don't feel I'd be able to run or do the things our coaches, in our scheme, require us to do. That's why I'm not 330, or put on that much weight.
SPORTS
May 21, 2014 | By Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Beau Allen has legs like tree trunks. You look at the 6-foot-3, 329-pound nose tackle and you can understand why the Eagles drafted him in the seventh round. There's more to playing the position in the NFL, but coach Chip Kelly and his staff have certain size parameters for each position. With his ranginess and solid base, Allen checks off a bunch of the Eagles' size qualifications. And then there's his athleticism. Allen wasn't invited to the scouting combine in February, but his vertical leap (31 inches)
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