Indeed, the defensive line looked extremely impressive in Wednesday's practice. Jeremey Williams, working at tackle for the No. 1 defense, seemed to be in the middle of every play, blowing the offensive linemen off the ball and batting down several passes. D.D. Acholonu also knocked a pass down.
For the most part, as was the case in the first scrimmage, the D-line simply out muscled the O-line, as many running backs were hit behind the line of scrimmage. Granted, some of that is the result of two starting offensive linemen missing spring ball and a third, Tyler Hunt, playing with a sore shoulder, but word around the team is that virtually every defensive lineman busted his hump in the off season, and this is merely the result of that hard work.
RUNNING WITH THE ONES
With safety Erik Coleman out for the rest of the week due to a suspension, youngsters Jeremy Bohannon and Aaron Joseph will be getting some valuable reps with the No. 1 defense. Although Coleman and Virgil Williams are the frontrunners for the starting safety positions, the experience Bohannon and Joseph get will help them during the season, as they will learn exactly what needs to be done to play.
A LEG UP
Isn't it a great feeling to take the kicker position for granted? After several springs of wondering who the starting kicker would be (it was Nick Lambert and Anousith Wilaikul in 2000 and Drew Dunning, Lambert and Adam Holiday in 2001), Dunning is officially The Man this year, and he's proving why in practice. The reigning All Pac-10 kicker is virtually automatic inside 40 yards, and is building on his 2001 excellence by improving his distance. One difference that stands out is the height he gets on his longer kicks. Whereas he would line drive many of his 40+ yarders last year, he's getting better loft on those kicks now, making them extremely difficult to block without a complete offensive line breakdown.
Freshman Graham Siderius has the leg but continues to struggle with his consistency, and walk-on freshman Alex Oyer is getting noticed in camp with some nice kicking.
THE JT EXPRESS
John Tippins is currently the No. 1 running back, and he doesn't look very eager to give up the job. Though many people consider JC phenom Jermaine Green's promotion to the No. 1 offense inevitable, Tippins just goes out every day and runs defenders over. He's been the toughest runner in the group, and the only one consistently breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage. While Green's talent turns heads, Tippins has assumed a newfound focus and determination since he was given the starting job. That focus will no doubt help him in 2002. Look for him to be the feature back on goal line situations in addition to getting his share of carries throughout the game.