August 13, 2007
Facing the Best: Defense
When Tim Brewster was hired he knew he would be facing some of the best defenses in the country. He brought in Mike Dunbar, an offensive coordinator with great knowledge of the Big Ten and how to take advantage of those teams. The staff is working hard to install their new offense, but they still have face the likes of Minnesota native James Laurinaitis.
The Hawkeye's return all four starters from 2006 and are looking to build on a decent year. Senior Kenny Iwebema looks to be fully recovered from a shoulder injury that slowed him last season. Senior Bryan Mattison will start opposite Iwebema and is looking to build on a solid seven sack season. Inside the Hawkeye's lack size, but juniors Matt Kroul and Mitch King go all out on every play and make up for their lack of size with tons of effort. As a group they are small, averaging only about 270 pounds, but they have good technique and play hard.
The Nittany Lions return two part time starters at defensive end from last season and two key reserves from 2006 will slide in at the defensive tackle spots. Junior Josh Gaines started nine games at end a year ago and should assume full time duty after a solid fill in job last year. Sophomores Jared Odrick and Phillip Taylor look to fill the middle. Unlike the Iowa tackles, there will be no lack of bulk for the Lions. Odrick and Taylor weigh 291 and 337 pounds each.
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