Bruce Miller (John Raoux/AP)
Despite losing Leger Douzable to the NFL, and Keith Shologan to the CFL, the Knights’ defensive line appears to be even stronger for the 2008 season.
The Knights took a by-committee approach last season, as they rotated the first two units regular, and had great success with it. Look for the Knights to continue rotating their defensive line.
Starters: David Williams (LE), Travis Timmons (DT), Torrell Troup (DT), Bruce Miller (RE)
The line features Travis Timmons and Torrell Troup at the tackles and Bruce Miller and David Williams at end. Troup started last year, while Timmons was in the rotation for the Knights. Both Timmons and Troup have trimmed down a bit and have been near unblockable all camp long. Troup is huge at 320 lbs, and Troup brings a lot of energy at all times. Miller burst onto the scene after logging 7.5 sacks last season and being named to the C-USA All-Freshman first team, and looks to improve on his impressive rookie campaign. Williams, a relative unknown until spring, has earned himself a starting spot with impressive Spring and Summer camps, in which he displayed his freakish strength while consistently holing up against the run. Look for this front four to be a lot faster and athletic than the impressive product UCF had on the field in ’07.
The defense seems to have a chip on its shoulder and wants to prove they can play with anyone and that it will all start with the front four.
Troup stated it best when he said, “We got something to prove this year. We want to let everyone know that we are a great defense from our defensive line to our secondary.”
Projected Backups: Antonio Wallace (DE), Jarvis Geathers (DE), Wes Sauvao (DT), Rashidi Haughton (DT), Theo Goings (DT), T.J. Harnden (DT), Darius Nall (DE)
One of the strengths of the defensive line is that they rotate guys in and out to keep everyone fresh and promote greater depth at the position. Wes Sauvao, Rashidi Haughton and T.J Harnden look to be the main guys pushing for significant playing time at the tackle positions, but don’t be surprised to see Theo Goins get some solid snaps as a true freshman after the solid camp he had this summer. Sauvao is a converted offensive lineman with a high motor and a lot of energy, on and off the field. Harnden is undersized at 242 lbs, but you wouldn’t notice it by the way he plays. At the ends, the primary guys to rotate in will most likely be Jarvis Geathers and Antonio Wallace. Geathers and Wallace have the capability to be great pass rushers as they both possess good speed, but Geathers has got to put on some weight he is undersized. As a JUCO transfer, a lot is expected of Geathers, who has a rich lineage of NFL blood running through his veins. The line should also receive a huge emotional burst around mid-season when Darius Nall returns from rehabilitating after having a cancerous tumor removed.
Strengths: Combination of speed and strength among the starting front four will rival that of several top BCS schools, and while the experienced secondary is getting all the kudos right now (rightfully so), look for this line to make a lot of big plays for the Knights.
Possible areas of Concern: Depth is a bit weaker than usual this year due to injures and losses due to graduation. If the Knights rotate six to eight guys they should be great, but if they try to get more involved it could be a problem especially at end position.
Position Overview: The Knights D-line was solid last year registering 39 sacks as a team. Look for this line to shatter that this season even with the tough non-conference schedule. They will receive a lot of coverage sacks just like last year due to the secondary, but this line should be able to create a lot more on its own this year.