September 2, 2011

Hoover will be a factor on the edge

EAST LANSING - Michigan State's defensive line is expected to be better during the 2011 season than it has been at any other time during head coach Mark Dantonio's tenure.

The strength of the unit is on the inside with 300-pounders Jerel Worthy and Rashad White. Behind the headliners is a trio of back-ups - Kevin Pickelman, Johnathan Strayhorn, and Micajah Reynolds - that could be starting at several programs in the Big Ten.

Michigan State's talent, experience, and depth on the interior defensive line gives the Spartans a chance to field a Top 25 rushing defense. But if the Spartans want to go from being a solid program that is in the mix for a New Year's Day bowl appearance every year to a team that consistently contends for BCS Bowl appearances, they will need to get more production at defensive end.

The five-man defensive end rotation of William Gholston, Denzel Drone, Marcus Rush, Tyler Hoover, and Corey Freeman should help the Spartans pressure the quarterback consistently enough to avoid an over reliance on blitzing linebackers or defensive backs to manufacture a pass-rush.

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