Spring Ball: Defensive Tackles

Oregon's defense will concentrate on developing the depth in positions this spring according to Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti. While the longtime Duck assistant coach knows he has experience and talent on his unit, it is a matter of developing depth.

"We have experience, but I don't know that we have the depth that we want on day 1 (of spring ball) to feel comfortable," observed Aliotti of the state of Oregon defense. "But I have a whole spring to get that ready."

Last season the Ducks were fifth in the conference in scoring defense (24.6 points per game) total defense (390.1 ypg), second in interceptions (17) and first in sacks (45). Numbers like that demonstrate that the Duck defender put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and had the ability to create turnovers by interception utilizing the athletes in the secondary.

On the defensive line the experience comes from tackles Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi, Ricky Heimuli, Isaac Remington and Ryan Hagen.

Hart started all 14 games last season and ended up with 44 tackles (20 solos) including three tackles for loss, 2.5 of which were sacks. While the roster describes Hart as a tackle, he can also play end.

Keliikipi played in all 14 games and started 11 times. Ricky Heimuli, also played in all 14 games but in Oregon's defensive scheme, Heimuli evenly split time at tackle and nose guard when the Ducks were in a 3-4 scheme. Keliikipi ended up with 25 tackles (10 solos) while Heimuli recorded 22 tackles (11 solos).

Senior Isaac Remington is also listed at a defensive tackle and the JC transfer played in all 14 games last season and started three times. Remington notched 31 tackles (12 solos) including four tackles for loss.

Ryan Hagen (four games) and Axel McQuaw (three games) saw time last year in games with Hagen recording four total tackles (three solos) in which two were sacks.

Jared Ebert maybe one of the more intriguing stories this year as he sat last season out utilizing a red shirt. Ebert had been projected by some NFL draft blogs as a late-round draft pick when he left Iowa Western Community College. Ebert, like Hart may also be used as an end because of his speed and quickness.

Nick Morrison, a walk on is also listed on the spring roster as a defensive tackle.


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