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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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January 21, 2008 10:27 AM

Breaking down the defensive line

Posted by Bob Condotta

With lots of other things going on, we haven't gotten all the way through our look ahead at each position yet.

So here goes our latest installment, previewing the defensive line:

RETURNING STARTERS: 1 (defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim).

STARTERS LOST: 3 (DTs Jordan Reffett, Wilson Afoa, DE Greyson Gunheim).

KEY RESERVES LOST: DE Caesar Rayford, DT Erick Lobos.

LOOK AHEAD: Of returning players, only Te'o-Nesheim started a game last season, with the Huskies losing five of their top six at this spot to graduation. All of which makes this maybe the thinnest position, in terms of experience, on the team --- other than Te'o-Nesheim, returning players at this position made just three tackles last season (two by Cameron Elisara and one by Darrion Jones).. And given the struggles here a year ago with a veteran group, this group obviously looms as one of the biggest question marks heading into the spring. Tyrone Willingham has hinted at some position changes to possibly fortify this group, but none have been made public of yet.

So for now, a prospective two-deep depth chart heading into spring might look like this:

DE Te'o-Nesheim, Jr.
Darrion Jones, Jr.

DT Cameron Elisara, So.
Nick Wood, RFr.

DT Jovon O'Connor, Sr.
Tyrone Duncan, RFr.

DE De'Shon Matthews, So.
Kalani Aldrich, RFr.

COMMENT: Duncan and Wood each missed much of last year wth injuries, meaning each is a little further behind than would be ideal coming into their first spring. And as you can see, not a lot of experience in that group. At least three recruits will likely have chances to play immediately --- Craig Noble and Alameda Ta'amu at DT and Everette Thompson at DE. The hope will be that youngsters such as Elisara and Matthews, who each have shown glimpses of being good players in either games or scrimmages, can make a big leap forward, that Jones finally stays healthy and fills in at one end, and that some of the youngsters will also be able to contribute immediately. The wildcard is whatever position changes Willingham has in mind (Johnie Kirton, maybe?). But overall, this position looks like one of the biggest uncertainties heading into next season.

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