Position Preview: Defensive Line

Most Boston College followers anticipated questions surrounding the defensive line. But an offseason filled with failed position switches, curious absences and last minute suspensions has made this potential weak link that much more intriguing and unpredictable.

In an ideal world, Damik Scafe would be the anchor of the unit. The Senior Defensive Tackle has shown great ability and can be a game changer in the mold of his former teammates Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. Scafe's problem has been remaining healthy. Team Captain Alex Albright has a similar issue. His superb sophomore season was curtailed with a broken arm against Clemson. Since that day he has been fighting to regain his form and stay healthy. Kaleb Ramsey has all the physical talents to succeed, but was MIA from the beginning of fall camp. His focus and commitment will be an early storyline. Brad Newman has been a solid contributor but has yet to show that he can be a dominant player at Defensive End.

The second team defensive line is lacking experience but has shown some upside. Bryan Murray will get plenty of opportunity as long as Scafe is injured. Dillion Quinn had a strong summer but will miss the first three games of the season while serving a suspension for violating team rules. Conor O'Neal also has the size to be an effective interior lineman. BC fans keep waiting for Max Holloway to show the explosiveness on display in Spring Games and scrimmages in a real game. Dan Williams is a converted LB looking for more playing time. Kasim Edebali has shown promising athleticism.

Mike Goodman, Jr. has been moved back and forth and may play offense and defense. Ifeanyi Momah may see the field as a pass rush specialist. Dominic Appiah is likely to redshirt.

Big Question: Will someone finally generate a pass rush? The whole exercise of trying Momah at DE was the staff's attempt to find someone who can close on an opposing quarterback. Albright did as a sophomore but was less effective last year. Whether it was due to injury or rust, Albright wasn't creating pressure. If Holloway or Quinn or any of the other second teamers show that they can get to the QB, they will surely move into the starting lineup.

Little Question: Will the second teamers get many reps? Like BC's linebacking corp, traditionally the Boston College defensive line is at is best when they implement consistent and regular rotations. Last year due to depth and lack of talent the rotation was tight. Not only did this wear on the first team, but it didn't give the second teamers time to develop.

Style and Scheme: BC aligns in a traditional four-man front on most plays. But the defensive linemen have to be versatile. On occasion DEs will be asked to cover and Spaziani has occasionally dropped DTs into zones on zone blitzes.

Size has always been a trademark of the defensive line while none particularly have the speed you

would hope for in a Defensive End.

Factoid: Although Dan Williams, Momah and Goodman all played other positions for BC, Brad Newman is the most senior player with experience elsewhere. As a true freshman he played FB on offense.

Outlook: For such a maligned unit, there is no where to go but up. Albright and Scafe have both shown moments of greatness. Quinn and Holloway have oodles of potential. If any of those guys puts together a great year it will be more than BC got from last season's DL. Expect one of the mentioned to stay healthy and play well and see an overachieving year from some of the lesser known talents. If two players step up, BC's defensive line might be the surprise of the season.

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