Oregon State has had at least one outstanding player on the defensive line since the 2000 season. DeLawrence Grant, LaDairis Jackson, Eric Manning, James Lee, and Dwan Edwards all played at OSU in the past three seasons and all have been in NFL training camps. This year will be no different as all-conference performer Bill Swancutt will look to wreak havoc on quarterbacks, running backs and offensive linemen on his way to the NFL.
|Scales ($96) and Swancutt will provide the rush from the ends.|
Swancutt returns from an outstanding junior campaign in which he recorded 45 total tackles, a team high 17.5 for loss, while harnessing 11 sacks. He also broke the OSU sack record in November against Arizona.
The native Oregonian is a relentless pass rusher who uses a sweet blend of power and finesse to make his way into the opposing teams’ backfield. His technique gets better each year as he perfected the swim and spin moves in ’03 and looks to add a few more techniques in time for LSU. Teams will be forced to double team Swancutt as he is almost unstoppable in one-on-one situations.
Sophomore Brandon Scales sits on the left side of the line and is ready to be the next all-Pac-10 performer. He played in 13 games last year grabbing 12 total tackles, two for loss, and one sack. Scales is a quick, fiery player who never quits on a play. Sometimes he has trouble getting away from the bigger linemen when moving laterally, but with more experience and coaching from Swancutt and the staff, he will improve. Although relatively unknown right now his play on the other side of the line will give teams more to worry about then just Swancutt.
Sophomore Ben Siegert returns after a solid freshman season in which he started all thirteen games and earned a spot on The Sporting News all-freshman team. He improved as the year progressed and finished the season with four tackles for loss and two sacks. The 6-fooot-4, 271-pound player missed spring practice after shoulder surgery, but will be 100-percent by the time fall camp begins.
Joining Siegert in the middle is junior Sir Henry Anderson. Anderson has the potential and the skills to become a dominate force, but often times has problems controlling his mouth and emotions. He has also struggled with staying healthy as he has broken his arm the past two seasons. Anderson moves well and if he stays healthy he will carry on the tradition of having a solid run stopper in the middle.
One of the great aspects about the defensive line is they are two-deep at every position. Redshirt freshmen Joe Rudulph and Naymon Frank backup Scales at left end. The speedy Rudulph will see plenty of time, while Frank will contribute on special teams.
|Anderson hopes to play 2004 without an injury.|
Junior Alvin Smith and reshirt freshman Curtis Coker sit behind Seigert at left tackle. Smith and Coker are the largest defensive lineman on the team each weighing over 300-pounds. Smith played in all 13 games grabbing eight tackles, 1.5 for loss, and one sack. He is a force in the middle, but has limited mobility. Coker will see limited playing time but could be a future all-conference selection. His strength and size make him a force to be reckoned with.
The player that helped himself out the most during spring ball on the defensive line was junior Derek Hall who sits behind Anderson. Hall was extremely intense during all of the practices and showed a great work ethic. His extra dedication will earn him playing time this fall.
Sophomore Joe Lemma and Jeff Van Orsow reside behind Swancutt. Lemma played in all 13 contests last season in a backup role. He was a key contributor on special teams and will serve in the same capacity this season, as well on the defensive line. Van Orsow will receive the opportunity to be a factor on special teams and probably will not see game time at right end.