Penn State 2009 Position Breakdown: Defensive Line

Dan DiBaccoCorrespondent IApril 21, 2009

As long as defensive line coach Larry Johnson is at Penn State the defensive line will continue to reload year after year.  Though Penn State loses three star defensive ends in Maurice Evans, Josh Gaines, and Aaron Maybin, many look to the defensive line to be the best in the Big Ten.


What We Know

The defensive tackle position is talented, experienced, and deep.  All-American candidate, tackle Jared Odrick has a motor that doesn't stop.  Aside from Odrick, the defensive line will most likely be a timeshare at the other positions to utilize all the talent.  You'll hear of Odrick, Ollie Ogbu, Abe Koroma, and Devon Still at defensive tackle, and Jack Crawford, Jerome Hayes, Kevion Latham, and Eric Latimore at defensive end.


The Unknown

Who will the official starters be?

As of now fifth-year senior Jerome Hayes isn't participating in spring drills because of an injury, but he and sophomore Jack Crawford will probably claim the starting spots at defensive end.  At defensive tackle junior Ogbu will probably claim the spot next to Odrick but I wouldn't be surprised if junior Abe Koroma or sophomore Devon Still got it instead. 

Neverthless, the defensive line will be a constant rotation the whole season.


Report From Spring Practice

Everyone I've mentioned has been having a field day against the young offensive line thus far.  The defensive ends have been playing very fast, and have been very effective rushing the quarterback.  Odrick has said "My whole goal is to be more violent.''  Those are pretty scary words for any Big Ten offensive linemen to hear, especially since even a double team can barely contain him long enough for the quarterback to get a good pass off. 


Freshmen to Watch

Redshirt Pete Massaro has been running with the second team all spring, but that's without Jerome Hayes receiving reps.  But don't be surprised to see him get some action early in the season, and possibly cement himself into the rotation.


Projected Two Deep (Starter-Backup)

  • RE: Jerome Hayes/Kevion Latham
  • RT: Jared Odrick/Abe Koroma
  • LT: Ollie Ogbu/Devon Still
  • LE: Jack Crawford/Eric Latimore


Final Thoughts

Many say that a dominant defensive line can make up for a weak secondary, and this season the defensive line will have to provide a lot of support for the green secondary.  This group of defensive linemen, though some are unproven, have the talent to be one of the best Penn State has ever fielded.

Next week, linebackers.