The Department of Defense’s Frontline [2010 Season Preview]

On their first offensive play of the game, Penn State dropped back Daryll Clark on a quick three step timing route and was promptly dumped by Cameron Heyward. Heyward had a career day compiling 11 tackles, including 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss. Ohio State dominated the 2nd best offense in the Big Ten, holding them to 201 total yards on the day. This was a team that averaged over 400 yards offense and nearly 30 points a game. The Buckeyes held them to SEVEN.

The Ohio State defensive line dominated the Nittany Lions and just about everyone else they played last year.

2010 should be no different.

Headed up by all everything defensive end/tackle Cameron Heyward, the 2010 Buckeye defensive line is once again loaded. Ohio State in 2009 often times used a hybrid 3-4 defense, standing up 1 defensive end that played the OLB/DE position. Last year this player was Thaddeus Gibson who has left early for an NFL paycheck. This year that position will be taken by Nate Williams and new comer Melvin Fellows.

What is the key to a dominant defense? A disruptive and aggressive defensive line. An outstanding defensive line causes a chain reaction to the other to levels of defense. Having success on the defensive line means that the opposing offensive line will have to double team, in turn freeing up linebackers to make more plays. It also forces the QB to hurry and make mistakes down field, making the secondary more effective. How effective was the OSU secondary last year? They were tied for the 2nd most interceptions in the country last year.

Ohio State has three outstanding returning defensive lineman. These three players should define Ohio State’s defense.

Cameron Heyward: – Heyward plays both defensive end and tackle. He will line up all over the field to create the best possible mismatch. He will be double teamed all year long freeing up others to make plays, but that won’t stop him from getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run. He does it all.

Dexter Larimore: – Larimore is as underrated as it gets on OSU’s defensive front. While he is not a giant stat whore, he is one of those players that forces multiple blockers to account for him freeing up others to make plays. A true defensive tackle, he will be a valued run stopper.

John Simon: – Simon will be a sophomore in 2010 and will be right there with Cameron Heyward as far as defensive impact. This kid is a true freak of nature and one of the strongest college football players in the country. He came on late last year and his game against Michigan was by far his best. Look for him to be in the back field an awful lot this year.

Nathan Williams and Garrett Goebel should also have solid years as well, and look for newcomer Melvin Fellows to have a surprising year at defensive end.

The Ohio State defensive line is primed to build upon what they did last year and carry this defense on another Big Ten title run and beyond.

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