Fall Camp Guide: Defensive line

Talented group will try to make up for loss of four senior starters

Key returnees: Sophomore defensive end Jamal Cooper, 6-foot-4, 217 pounds (2004 stats: one start, 12 games, 18 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, one fumble caused and one fumble recovered); redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jason Chapman, 6-4, 280; sophomore defensive tackle Nick Hayden, 6-5, 302 (five games, one tackle); sophomore defensive tackle Justin Ostrowski, 6-5, 304 (11 games, five tackles and one sack); junior defensive end Joe Monty, 6-2, 252 (two starts, 12 games, 18 tackles and one sack); sophomore defensive lineman Kurt Ware, 6-4, 274 (one game and one tackle).

Newcomers: Freshmen defensive tackle Dan Cascone, 6-3, 330; defensive end Terrance Jamison, 6-4, 245; defensive end Matt Shaughnessy, 6-6, 235 and defensive tackle Jeff Stehle, 6-6, 275.

Also in the mix: Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Mike Newkirk, 6-3, 250; redshirt freshman defensive tackle Gino Cruse, 6-5, 312; junior defensive tackle Mark Gorman, 6-4, 275 (eight games, three tackles and ½ tackle for loss); sophomore defensive end Brandon Kelly. 6-4, 250 (five games, one tackle); sophomore defensive end Adam Purcell, 6-1, 242; and sophomore defensive tackle Derek Yentz, 6-3, 252.

Departures: Anttaj Hawthorne (12 starts, 12 games, 42 tackles, 11 ½ tackles for loss, six sacks and one fumble recovery); Erasmus James (10 starts, 36 tackles, 11 ½ tackles for loss, eight sacks, three pass break-ups, seven quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery); Jason Jefferson (12 starts, 12 games, 25 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks); and Jonathan Welsh (11 starts, 27 tackles, 4 ½ tackles for loss and two sacks); Kalvin Barrett (2 tackles).

Reasons to be excited: Despite losing all four starters the line is talented and has decent, if largely inexperienced, depth… Cooper should be a standout pass rusher… tackles Ostrowski and Hayden can hold their own inside and have the potential to develop into top-level players… Ware and Chapman showed considerable playmaking ability in the spring, whether playing tackle or end.

Cause for trepidation: Monty, Cooper and Ostrowski were regularly part of the rotation last season, while Hayden, Ware, Chapman and Gorman saw spot duty. That is not a bad amount of experience, but it is a far cry from last season, when the Badgers' four senior starters all brought a wealth of experience to the table. The 2005 edition is talented, but how will they hold up over the course of a full season? The rest of the reserves have little to no experience.

Camp questions: Who starts at left defensive end, opposite Cooper? Ware, Monty and Chapman will all have a shot. They were pretty even during spring workouts. Monty is the most experienced and consistent of the trio, but Chapman and Ware have more big-play potential. All three could also see playing time at tackle and will be part of the rotation regardless…. Who else emerges in the depth? The seventh lineman heading into camp is Newkirk, but how well will he adjust to tackle after playing end during his redshirt year?... Will any of the freshmen step up and contribute? The Badgers like to have eight to 10 defensive linemen that they feel comfortable playing so there are spots available.

Forecast: After spring workouts, the feeling here was that Chapman would emerge at left defensive end, but the reality of the situation is that UW enters fall camp with a pretty established top six on the defensive line. All of those players will see ample playing time and the Badgers will likely adjust their lineup continually depending on situations… expect Cooper to have a big year, with very respectable performances from Hayden, Ostrowski, Monty, Ware and Chapman… Newkirk should be fine at tackle and it would not be surprising if a couple of true freshmen contribute immediately. There will be spots in the rotation, especially for players who can be used as a designated pass rusher or run stuffer to fill in the depth… There will be some tough moments against the more experienced offensive lines UW will face, but by season's end this will be one of the top defensive lines in the Big Ten.

BadgerNation.com projected depth chart


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