Seven Defensive Players to Watch

<p>Spring is in the air and with it the possibility of potential being realized. Although football is a team sport, the development and improvement of individual players is vital.</p> <p> There are seven Beaver defensive players who we feel have the best chance to help the team reach its potential and play in another BCS bowl this year.</p>

1. SS Sabby Piscitelli.
After playing sparingly last season behind Lawrence Turner, Piscitelli will be asked to slide into the starting role. The confident player is more athletic than Turner and can deliver the big hit, but he still has to learn the game.

2. SS Harvey Whiten.
Whiten is a gifted player and returns kicks because of his playmaking ability. He won’t start due to the outstanding play of incumbent Mitch Meeuwsen, but he will be a solid backup, get plenty of playing time and he could give special teams a needed lift.

3. LB Chaz Scott.
This fiery player looks like he will assume the role as the Beavers’ emotional leader on defense. He has a tremendous work ethic, is quick and wraps up people nicely. Scott is a sure-fire All-Pac-10 player a year from now.

4. DT Alvin Smith
Ben Siegert will be out for spring drills, which puts Smith on top the chart at left tackle. Smith played quite a bit in 2003 and his big body will be needed in 2004 to move the offensive line back and give Siegert a rest.

5. DT Sir Henry Anderson.
With Dwan Edwards gone the coaches will be looking for a new run stopper to clog up the middle. Anderson’s development has been hampered by injuries the past two years during spring practice. This time the emotional player is healthy and the extra practice time should refine his game.

Sabby Piscitelli will be asked to take a larger role in 2004. (Getty Images)

6. DE Brandon Scales.
If Scales plays up to his ability opposing teams will be looking at a pair of fast, physical defensive ends in 2004. Scales’s play could allow Bill Swancutt more room to wreak havoc because opposing teams will not be able to double team the sack machine.

7. LB Keith Ellison.
Ellison is another junior college player that could have an immediate impact in the system. Ellison is a highly decorated and talented athlete with a nose for the ball. If he lives up to the hype he will be part of the regular linebacker rotation with Trent Bray, Jonathan Pollard, and Chaz Scott. And, as Beaver Believers painfully learned last year, you can’t have too many linebackers.

Dan Norz can be reached at

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