Defensive Line Ready to Tackle Challenge

After a lackluster 2002 campaign, the Texas Tech defensive line is once again a topic of concern among the Red Raider faithful. The line is inexperienced, but the players and coaches are hoping that the upgrade in talent will make up for the lack of experience.

Defensive end Adell Duckett is the lone returning starter on the defensive line, but he doesn't think the inexperience will be a problem. "Everybody wants to talk about how young we are, but we got some ballers," said Duckett. There is a nice collection of talent on the defensive line, the trick will be to make that talent perform in games. So far the group has come along nicely. "We've gotten better every day", said freshman defensive tackle Chris Hudler.

The defensive line knows that SMU will try to test them by pounding the ball up the middle, but they are ready for the challenge. "SMU is going to try to run the ball, and that's not going to work," said Duckett. The goal is to stop the run, which would take away the biggest strength of the SMU offense. "We're ready to step up and take that challenge, and we're more than capable to do it," said Hudler. "They think they can come up here and run on us."

One of the keys to the success of the younger players has been the new defensive scheme. With all of the players having to learn the scheme from scratch, experience hasn't been as big a factor as it may have been if the scheme had remained the same. "We've had some good effort from some of our young players," said Coach Sadler. Even with the improvements made by all of the players, Coach Sadler still has concerns. "The problem is, at this level of football you've got to be on the money every play," said Coach Sadler. Regardless of how this first game goes, there will be a constant evaluation of players throughout the season.

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