If I was Luke Fickell [Defensive Line Edition]

Gentlemen, you are the foundation.

You have come from Washington Courthouse, Ohio, Youngstown, Ohio, Lambard, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. You are the starting defensive line of THE Ohio State Buckeyes and you will be tasked to physically dominate a group of men every Saturday that will outweigh and outnumber you. And if we are to have the success I expect and demand from this team, you WILL physically dominate once a week for the next fourteen weeks. That is all I ask.

Recently, that balding, babbling, drunken buffoon Gerry Dinardo said that we weren’t very deep on the defensive line. Let us remind ole Gerry why he was fired from Indiana in 2004.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. The starting defensive tackles will be:

Garrett Goebel, you will be charged with wreaking havoc on the opposing interior lines this coming fall. You will start at the nose and play the same role Dexter Larimore played last year. You only had nine tackles last year, however that was in a backup role and your job isn’t to accumulate tackles, it’s to make a mess of the opposing offensive line and let the best linebackers in the country mop up. Technically speaking you will play a 1-technique which means you will shade the shoulder of the center to the strength of the formation and blow up the A gap between the center and guard. Garrett, no one except for your mom and dad know who you are. No one has EVER heard of you, yet here you are — ready to anchor one of the best defensive lines in the country.

No pressure.

Big Johnathon Hankins, you will start alongside Goebel. Do not eat him. Last year you did a hell of a job coming off the bench to work into the rotation. Your sixteen tackles and one sack weren’t as meaningful as the amount of carnage you caused when you lined up at defensive tackle. Technically you will play a 3-technique which means you will align your inside eye with the outside eye of the weak side guard. You will get less double teams and I can’t wait to see your 335 lb frame take a wrecking ball to guards across the Big Ten. Johnathon, I have a message for you:

Rotating in with Goebel and Hankins will be sophomore Adam Bellamy, the massively strong Joel Hale and fellow true freshman Michael Bennett. You guys will keep the starters fresh and you won’t just be warm bodies. Expect to make plays when you are in the game.

The starting defensive ends will be:

Nate Williams, you will play the LEO position. This is a familiar position for you. You will play standing up most of the time and play a 5-technique, shading the outside shoulder of the tackle. You will be the weak side rush DE. Like your last three years, I want you to pressure the quarterback, pressure the quarterback some more and sometimes drop back into pass coverage. You’ve got ten sacks in three years, but you will be expected to produce more than that this year.

Big Johnny Simon, you got the other defensive end position — the one vacated by Cameron Heyward last year. Like Heyward, you will also play the interior positions as well. Last year you had three sacks but that number should go up this year. You will be more of a 3-point stance every play traditional defensive end, unlike Williams. You will play a 5-technique and shade the outside shoulder of the tackle. Mr. Simon, you are the key to this defensive line and the key to the success of our linebackers. Hell, you ALL are but it starts with our best lineman and you’re it. Just based on bicep size you should have twenty-five sacks. This is what an arm wrestling match would look like with you and Gholston:

Rotation in with Simon and Williams will be Melvin Fellows, Solomon Thomas after he gets off suspension and Steve Miller.

This group will set the tone for our talented defense. It all starts up front. People talk about the spread offense, wild (insert southern farm animal name here), Air Raid, triple option, West Coast offense…when it comes right down to it, games are won and lost with brute force and physical domination. It’s your jobs to physically dominate the Big Ten and the rest of college football. Get it done.

(this post brought to you by a fictional Luke Fickell)


  1. I am hearing wonderful things about Michael Bennett and word is he is getting lots of snaps with the first team defense. This group of guys should be a real strength for the defense this year. Lets hope they live up to expectations.

  2. Man, when hasn’t the line been a strength? All of these guys are going to be a blast to watch. Here’s to another year of giving up less than an hundred yards on the ground. What a luxury.

    This year I just want to see some QBs fear for their lives. That hasn’t happened for a while.


  1. […] week working on these 2011 season previews. The defense is mostly done. We’ve looked at the defensive line (it’s gonna be GOOD), the linebackers (they’re gonna be GOOD, too) and the defensive […]

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