Movers and shakers - Defense

BF.C CONTINUES ITS post-spring look with the movers and shakers on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Mike Riley recently predicted it would be one of the team's strengths and so it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of defensive linemen that make the list.

#6.  DL Mitchel Hunt | Jr., 6-2, 282

Slowed down by injuries for most of his collegiate career, Hunt looks to be in his best shape since arriving on campus and has found at home at both defensive tackle and defensive end in 2009.

His 282-pound frame provides plenty of beef on the outside to slow down big tight ends, but he is athletic enough to slip by some offensive linemen and disrupt the backfield.

Hunt's versatility gives the Beavs one more weapon to combat the Pac-10's high flying offensive attacks.


#5. DE Taylor Henry | RFr., 6-1, 228

Before spring practice kicked off, d-coordinator Mark Banker singled out Henry as one to watch.  The coaches love his speed and envision him as a third down specialist in the vein of Victor Butler and Slade Norris in their junior years.

Henry quickly moved up the depth chart in his second year, working with the first and second teams.  He was a thorn in the offensive tackles sides as he slipped by the big uglies time and time again to wreak havoc in the back field.

In the spring game he dominated on back to back plays as he intercepted a Peter Lalich pass on first down returning it inside the redzone. On the first play of the next series he slipped by the offensive tackle and pulled down running back Jordan Jenkins for a loss.

Third down specialists have thrived in the Beaver system recently and Henry may be the next big thing.


#4.  DE Ben Terry | Sr., 6-2, 242

After serving a year behind Norris and Butler and picking up tidbits to improve his game, Terry has stepped into his own and firmly grasped a starting position on the end.

He hit the weights hard before spring practice giving himself a powerful upper body to match his top notch speed. The coaches really like his athletic ability and explosiveness.

In the spring he was routinely in the offensive backfield and is a great change of pace from Kevin Frahm.

Terry is quiet on the field, but plays with with a fierce determination that all the players respect.

The California native has set himself up to have a breakout year.


#3.  S Suaesi Tuimaunei  | Jr., 6-1, 207

This big time hitter stepped his game up in the spring displaying a solid knowledge of the defensive schemes while taking on a leadership role.

Tuimaunei isn't the ideal height for a safety, but has a good nose for the ball and rarely misses a tackle.

He is the only safety with a start under his belt and will be relied upon to help the younger, more inexperienced players transition into more playing time.


#2.  LB Keaton Kristick | Sr., 6-3, 230

It is kind of odd to list Kristick, a seasoned veteran and second team All-Pac-10 pick, as a mover and shaker, but it should be noted that the 6-foot-3, 230 pound player appears poised to have a huge year.

Kristick can cover sideline to sideline, rarely misses a tackle and can really make a hit. In the spring game he had several bone jarring tackles that illicited hoots and hollars from teammates and fans.

The senior has a swagger about him that says he is one of the best players on the field, he knows it and he is going to prove it each and every play.


#1.  DE Gabe Miller | Jr.,  6-3, 239

Just 15 practices under his belt on the defensive side of the ball and Miller is already on the two deeps. With giant steps and long arms, he covers a lot of ground quickly while taking away passing lanes with his big mitts.

He showed the speed this spring to gain the outside consistently and an ability to work well with the other defensive lineman on the schemes.

With Miller stepping up the defensive end position is looking promising -- defensive line coach Joe Seumalo thinks the unit can be even better than last year's group.

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