May Daze: Defensive Line

During the long May days sans football, HI takes a look ahead at the Hawkeyes, 2012. Up next is the defensive line.

May is notoriously the slowest month for fans of college football. Spring ball is done. Summer workouts haven't begun. Incoming freshmen have yet to arrive.

It's a "May Daze."

There's no sense sitting around and moping about it. You can only perform so much yard work. Let's take a look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, position-by-position, and create some discussion.

Here are the previous installments in this series:

Defensive Backs

Linebackers

Next up, the Defensive Line:

  • MOST INDISPENSABLE:
  • With all due respect to Mike Daniels on the inside, I'll say Broderick Binns at left end.

    The senior from Minnesota struggled with inconstancy last season after an early suspension and losing his starting position. He began to put things together at the end of the year, though, and is the only proven pass rusher on the D-line.

    Binns isn't your prototypical end in terms of body type, but he boasts long arms that help him to get off of blocks and athleticism to frustrate tackles. If he can return to his 2009 form and take the step forward he should as a senior, he has all-league potential. If he doesn't, the Hawkeyes could be in serious trouble.

    I certainly don't think Iowa can afford an injury or a down year from The Beast, Daniels, on the inside. I just think Binns is a little more crucial to helping an inexperienced secondary. The thought of a pass rush inferior to last year's pursuit of the QB is very concerning.

  • TOP BREAKOUT CANDIDATE:
  • I'm not sure where he's going to play, but I get the sense that the coaches will find a way to get Dominic Alvis on the field. Though he lacks the bulk of Karl Klug, he is more athletic and versatile enough to play end or tackle.

    At least initially, I think Alvis will get a shot inside with Daniels. Lebron Daniel looks like a capable end going into his fifth season and there doesn't appear to be a lock at tackle beyond Daniels.

    Alvis has dealt with injuries that have slowed his progress, but the Logan, Iowa product frequently has been brought up by the Iowa staff when they've been asked about the future of the defensive line. The coaches don't blow smoke very often.

    Alvis measured in at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds last season. Klug and Jared Clauss played the position in the 270 as seniors and Tyler Luebke was in that range.

    Alvis likely won't get there this year, but he can be effective in the 250s. The talent is there.

  • TOP NEWCOMER:
  • The Hawkeyes probably will need more than one guy here. That happens when you lose three starters to the NFL draft.

    Carl Davis, Mike Hardy, Donavan Johnson, Cole Heissel, Darian Cooper and John Raymon could be in the mix. But, as I have in the first two parts of this series, I need to pick one.

    I'll go with the extremely large Davis. While he's still raw and prone to mental errors, the coaches likely will live with some of the miscues to get that combination of size and athleticism on the field.

    I watched Davis during a spring practice to which the media was given brief access. The redshirt freshman, who I think the staff considered using last season, literally was picking guys up and moving them like they were feathers. These were offensive linemen, too, not wide receivers.

    Heissel is another in-state walk-on that turned heads as a true freshman in 2010 after coming in as an offensive lineman. Cooper's ceiling is really high and I could definitely see him cracking into the rotation this season.

  • THE WILDCARD:
  • Louis Trinca-Pasat might only be a redshirt freshman, but he enrolled at Iowa in January of 2010 and has participated in spring practices the last two years. Though raw, the coaches were very happy they were able to land the Chicago standout.

    If Trinca-Pasat can show improved strength and technique in August, he could break into the rotation early. He's a bit like Alvis, who probably would have seen more reps by now if healthy.

    Trinca-Pasat is a good all-around athlete as evidenced by his participation in track and baseball at Lane Tech. He might not be ready for it yet, but the opportunity is there for him to get meaningful snaps in 2011.


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