2013 Army Report Card: Defensive Line

Army's 2013 football team the season 3-9 and ended the season with a record setting 12th straight loss to rival Navy. ArmySports.com will evaluate every Army team unit and assign a grade. Look inside to see the postseason report card for the Black Knight defensive line.

Defensive Line: D
The Army defensive line lacked athleticism and too many linemen were often stuck on blocks. The performance of the defensive line did improve over the previous season. They become a lot more fundamentally sound with their maturity but it still wasn't a very good group. The Double Eagle flex scheme is a pressure defense and the Black Knights have defensive linemen that rarely penetrated and made negative plays.

Junior Bobby Kough (33 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks) ended the season with his best game as he outplayed Navy tackle Joey Gaston. He was one of the few Army players to have a good game against Navy despite having a costly penalty. Bobby was banged up during much of the year and missed the Temple game. He had very rough games against Boston College and Ball State. He is still Army's best defensive lineman but that is a low bar to clear.

Junior nose tackle Richard Glover (34 tackles, 5 TFL Sack, QBH, FR) did a better job this season splitting blockers to make some plays. Glover struggles to hold the point against bigger offensive linemen. Mike Ugenyi 's (39 tackles, 6 ½ TFL, Sack) play improved and he played really well against Stanford's big talented offensive line. He's started the last nine games. He was very active making tackles the last month of the season. Ugenyi is playing lower and does a better job holding the point this season than in the past.

The quick defensive end was the glamor position in Rich Ellerson's pressure based double eagle flex defense. Ellerson had the position manned by some impact defensive ends. At Cal Poly Ellerson developed NFL star Tedy Bruschi at Arizona, Chris Gocong- a Buck Buchanan winner and NFL veteran- and the Indianapolis Colts Josh McNary, an honorable mention All-American and Army's all-time sack leader. For the third year in a row the quick end position was a dud for the Black Knights. Dalton Mendenhall (14 tackles, 1 sack) made five starts at quick end before losing his job due to his mediocre play and ineffectiveness. He was slow off the snap and not getting up the field. Almost all his tackles were down field as he wasn't holding up against the run. He was pancaked a few times against Boston College. He was injured in practice and missed the last four games of the season. Mendenhall is a good athlete so maybe a move to linebacker under the new staff would be a better fit. Plebe Malcolm Hudson (15 tackles, 3 TFL, QB hurry) replaced Mendenhall at quick end. Hudson was quicker off the snap but lost his job after a miserable showing against Air Force. Hudson will not get much bigger but he has the athleticism to develop into a disruptive defensive end. James Kelly (24 tackles) ended the season at quick end, after starting the season at whip linebacker, but didn't generate any pressure. I was surprised the staff moved Kelly to whip linebacker. He lacked the ideal range for the position. He's a better player at defensive end but is not a difference maker.

Senior Kyle Maxwell (13 tackles, 5 TFL, sack) had his best season after moving up from a third string role at defensive end. Maxwell had a good first step, long arms and was disruptive at times. At defensive end both junior Joe Drummond (16 tackles, sack) and senior Holt Zalneraitis (11 tackles, sack) saw their playing time decrease. They are very smart, good athletes but struggle to get off blocks, stay healthy, missed too many tackles and fail to react quickly to ball carriers. They are both athletic linemen but made very few plays. Undersized junior defensive end Colin Linkul was used as a situational pass rusher. Linkul had a career best game against Louisiana Tech with two sacks and a fumble recovery that helped secure the road victory. Linkul had a chance for a few more sacks but missed tackles due to poor technique. Back up nose tackle Tala 'TJ" Atimalala started the opener but lost his job. He was another disappointment with just four tackles during his sophomore season despite receiving regular reps with the second unit. Atimalala played in every game but didn't record a tackle in the last five contests. He didn't improve at all over his plebe year.

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