OSU 2013 Season in Review: Defensive Line

CORVALLIS – It wasn't a banner year for the Oregon State defensive line -- the injury bug gnawed at the ranks throughout, the JC transfers had a significant adjustment period and opposing teams often ran to success. It looked ugly at times. Still, while some players struggled, others flourished in the face of adversity. In the end, wishful thinking was levied against a sharp reality…

The reality being that OSU has some work to do up front.

The Starters
Still, two D-linemen demonstrated marked improvement in 2013 – defensive end Dylan Wynn and all-purpose D-lineman Mana Rosa.

Rosa made the switch from backup D-end to defensive tackle during his senior season when JC D-tackle transfers Siale Hautau and Edwin Delva came up short during spring ball. And voilà, Rosa steadily became a solid anchor during rough tides in the middle of the OSU D-line, playing through injuries and fatigue to keep the front four afloat – especially after senior DT John Braun sustained a season ending shoulder injury against USC.

Rosa posted 49 tackles, 3.5 TFL, a sack, one fumble recovered and one forced and two blocked kicks. Braun ended the season with 20 tackles and two TFL through eight games.

Wynn notched just one sack during the regular season yet shined elsewhere, with five TFL and a whopping 67 tackles -- 18 more than what he accomplished the previous season. He remained a vocal leader in and out of practice, and kept his motor running full tilt.

In addition, the NFL-bound Scott Crichton put up another seasons' worth of impressive numbers despite frequent double teams and multiple spread offenses which stretched the D-line thin at times, especially at the defensive end slot.

The Two Deeps
Senior D-end Devon Kell served well as a variation of the super sub role which somewhat typifies the success of the OSU D-line. He had 20 tackles, 3.5 TFL and three sacks and helped alleviate some of the pressure on starters Crichton and Wynn.

At defensive tackle, where game-ready depth appeared to be in short supply, Brandon Bennett had five tackles and 1.5 sacks, while Hautau and Delva combined for 16 tackles and two TFL, with one forced fumble credited to Hautau.

Big Picture In Brief
As a unit, the D-line created decent pressure throughout 2013 and with the exception of Travis Wilson of Utah, managed to put a stopper on Pac-12 offenses featuring read-option QB's. Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Taylor Kelly (ASU) and Marcus Mariota (Oregon) were held to a combined 69 yards rushing, 53 of which belong to Mariota.

But the Beavs struggled the most at stopping tailbacks of all shapes and sizes – OSU's D-line was partially responsible for allowing 2,474 yards and 28 TD's to opposing running backs, translating to a No. 88 run defense ranking out of 123 FBS teams. Ouch.

Final Grade: C

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