In Tosh We Trust: Cal Defensive Linemen in 2011

TwistNHook:  Tosh's Boys are back at it again!  This could be the strength of the team and the depth here is exciting.  We lose 1st round pick Cameron Jordan, but I still have high hopes for these beasts up front. 

LeonPowe:  I am super excited reading all the Tiny Moala news out of camp. He may not even start, but he is going to be a load in the middle for a long time to come - and if he is occupying 2 blockers, that means more pressure and more sacks from a base defense and we won't need to blitz. PUMP PUMP PUMP.

TwistNHook:  For all the great things we hear about V, it is unlikely that he will provide a great presence in his first year.  A young gun who might start contributing would be redshirt freshman Gabe King.  At 6'5" and 275 pounds, he is a beast up front.  Hopefully, he can come in and provide key depth to the DLine. 

Ohio BearThe past two years, we have had a senior who was an eventual first round NFL draft pick anchor our defensive line -- Cameron Jordan last year, Tyson Alualu in 2009. I don't think we can say the same of our defensive line this year.  (Please don't hurt me, Ernest Owusu or Trevor Guyton -- but by all means feel free to prove me wrong.)  Yet, I still feel good about our D-line heading into this season. 

There's a lot of young talent to be excited about.  Viliami "Tiny" Moala is the headliner there -- he is the nose tackle we deserve!  If the reports from training camp are anywhere close to true, we have a solid anchor in the middle of our defensive line.  Among the veterans, I'm anxious to see if guys like Owusu, Guyton, Kendrick Payne, and Deandre Coleman are ready to break out and be beasts up front.  And with Gabe King looking like he might be as good as advertised, we look like we might have some good depth. 

Aaron Tipoti has battled concussion issues in training camp.  Hopefully he can get it going once the season starts, as his presence will give us an experienced guy to add to our depth.

On paper this unit looks all right.  We'll just have to see if they show it on the field.

HydroTech:  I have limited thoughts on the Defensive Line, but the one thing that I keep thinking is this: "Tiny" Moala is going to be crazy dominant like Oregon's Haloti Ngata.  At least, I hope so.  Tedford already said that Moala is pretty impossible to move.  He's a perfect NT for our 3-4 defense.  I think the question is if he'll actually play this year.  I believe that Tedford has said that he's #3 on the depth chart which would mean that he is going to play this year and not blue-shirt.  I'm excited to see him on the field.  Hopefully he'll be around for a full four years and won't go pro early.


Norcalnick:  Moala is just one of many reasons that the D Line is the unit I am most excited to see perform this year.  In my mind, this should be a truly dominant unit.  It's not unusual for a team to have a few above-average lineman at one time, but I feel like the talent that Cal has on their line is such that some of our 3rd stringers would challenge for starting time at other Pac-12 schools.

 
When you have a line expected to be this talented, you'd expect 3-4 seniors all to be entrenched in the starting lineup, but only Trevor Guyton and Ernest Owusu are seniors, and they will have to stay sharp to earn starting spots.  In my (admittedly limited) memory, that's nearly unprecedented at Cal.
 
I fully anticipate doing the Ironman sack clap regularly this year.

Kodiak:  I think that Tiny will absolutely play this year.  Both Tipoti and Payne are coming off of shoulder surgeries, and Tipoti has missed almost all of camp with a concussion.  That position gets so beat-up that we need the depth, if nothing else.  We ended up having to play our 4th string NT (Costanzo) last year because Hill, Tipoti, and Payne were all dinged.  

At end, we have a nice blend of experience (Guyton/Owusu) with young talent. (Coleman, King, Jalil, Scarlett)  Both seniors are more solid than spectacular, but have shown enough flashes in previous years to be optimistic that they'll play capably this year.  I'm excited to see Deandre Coleman take the next step.  He provided a number of "wow" moments last year and should really benefit from an offseason under Coach Blasquez.

Like norcalnick said, I think the quality depth at end is unprecedented.  I remember years where we had only one good player at end, and if he got hurt, there went the pass rush.  (Phillip Mbagaku, Rulon Davis, Nu'a Tafisi)
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