Well we drew straws and I got the Defensive Line preview. I actually promised Chris this would be done a long time ago, but as you can see I found it much more appealing writing about Will Yeatman’s broken finger than sitting down and examining our DL.
I mean lets be honest. Crack a few beers after another 2009 loss and it won’t be but 5 seconds before the word “line” is brought up. Offensive Line…Defensive Line, no matter, both were disappointing last year and if we hope to do any sort of bowling, both will have to improve substantially in 2010. So doing the preview for the 2010 Defensive Line, isn’t a post I’m relishing, I would much rather do the LB’s, QB’s, WR’s, or RB’s, but if we learned anything in 2009, it doesn’t matter all that much how the skilled positions pan out if the line can’t stop anything.
It’s hard to believe but once again the Maryland Line is young and short on experience. If you are a pessimist, that means here we go again, or if you are an optimist, that means there is a load of potential and we can only get better. I’m more of the optimist (though with the open few paragraphs I may have to re-think my personality description). Anyway of the 18 players on the 2010 roster who are listed as DL’s, 7 are Freshman, 7 are sophomores, 3 are juniors, and 1 is a senior. That’s not much experience.
Leading the line this year is going to be AJ Francis. He is bringing back 31 tackles from last year and as a sophomore is really going to be the key to how the Terps Defense operates over the next few years. Francis was also one of three DL’s who recorded a sack in 2009. Derek Drummond is also an up and comer, though a year older than Francis he is bringing back 16 tackles from 2009. For us to have a solid year, the Junior is going to have to stay healthy and build on what he did during his sophomore campaign.
A few other guys who will no doubt be in the mix is the spell check nemisis Masengo Kabongo. Kabongo will be a sophmore this year and looks to add to his 1 sack from 2009. Justin Anderson got some burn as a freshman last season and therefore should be ready to go back at it again in 2010. The sophmore recorded 3 tackles. Carl Russell also chipped in 8 tackles and a sack in 2009 so the potential is there for this sophmore to be a fixture for the next three seasons in College Park.
But as is the case in football, there are 18 DL’s on the roster, they are all talented enough to play D1 football. No spot is locked up, someone needs to rise to the occasion. If they do, it will raise the ceiling for what is possible in 2010, if they don’t, well we already saw that song and dance.