Defensive End Steps Up

With the injury bug hitting the Mountaineer defensive line before and during Saturday's win over East Carolina, sophomore defensive lineman Johnny Dingle was called upon to play a lot more than he had thus far. Given the extra reps, the Florida transfer made the most of his opportunity.

"The most encouraging thing was that ECU was a passing team, so I knew I would get more playing time. I just had to keep my focus and get the job done. I felt like I did that," said Dingle after Saturday's win over the Pirates.

The 6'2" 250 pound Miami native was credited with three tackles on the day, and also recorded his first career sack. When he transferred from the University of Florida, Dingle had the reputation of being a ferocious pass rusher. He showed off that talent on Saturday afternoon.

"That's all I was waiting on, to get my first one. I have missed a couple of them, so I've been trying to get that first one in the bag," he said. "After that, it's going to be on."

Fellow defensive lineman Pat Liebig did not dress for the ECU game after getting injured in practice during the week. Likewise, lineman Andrae Wright was injured in the first half and did not return. Dingle had been working hard, and knew what he had to do when his teammates went down.

"I felt when Pat Liebig went down that it was time for me to step up. I had to play the run, not just be a pass rusher," he said. "Every day I'm getting better and better at the run, and in situations like that it paid off."

Dingle also made a nice tackle on a screen pass. It was amazing he was anywhere near the play to begin with, seeing as how he was cut at the line of scrimmage by the Pirate fullback.

"It was just a reaction. When you see the quarterback dropping back, even if the guy cuts you you've got to make the play," explained Dingle."

Through the first four weeks of the regular season, it's fair to say that Dingle has gotten better every week. With Saturday's showdown with rival Virginia Tech looming, the sophomore knows he must continue to improve for the team to improve.

"Coach Casteel stresses us that we have got to have playmakers. Every game is a big game, and playmakers have to show up every game," he concludes.

With his playing time and performance both picking up, Johnny Dingle is looking to be more of a playmaker with each passing week.

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