Brigham Young Cougars: 2011 Defensive Line Preview

Along with the rest of the team, the Brigham Young Cougars defensive line was very disappointing during the first 1/3 of the season. Once head coach Bronco Mendenhall fired defensive coordinator Jaime Hill and assumed responsibility for the defense, the defensive line became one of the most feared in all of college football. Not even #4 TCU could manage much of offense for most of a half.

The leader of that unit, Vic So’oto, is gone, but expectations are high for the Cougars defensive line in 2011. Just yesterday, Greg Wrubell included this in his Cougar Tracks blog from Mendenhall about the defensive line:
Mendenhall says "I believe we'll have at least six" defensive lineman to rotate this season. Based on camp daily depth, it appears those six are Graham Rowley, Romney Fuga, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Loni Fangupo, Travis Tuiloma and Jordan Richardson, with Mike Muehlmann right there. Of Fuga, Mendenhall says "It's going to be really hard to run the football on us, because of him."
Rowley, Fuga, Manumaleuna, and Richardson were all contributors in 2010. Fuga saw his season cut short with an knee injury during game four. Richardson was also injured 10 games into the season.

Hebron “Loni” Fangupo is a transfer from USC. Tuiloma redshirted last year after being a unanimous All-State player in Kansas. Muehlmann played on offense last year as a tight end.

Fuga, Fangupo, and Tuiloma are very, very big bodies (over 300 pounds). Mendenhall has almost 1,000 pounds backing up his statement about teams finding it hard to run the ball. Stopping the run will be critical for BYU to win the first three or four games this year.

Defensive end Matt Putnam was a big contributor on the line last season. His status with the team this year is up in the air. Currently he is academically ineligible, but Mendenhall has said that Putnam is working hard to fix that and be eligible when the season starts. Putnam is a senior and he has already redshirted. If he cannot resolve this issue, his playing days at BYU are done.

Senior Ian Dulan just returned from his mission and will redshirt.

Other 2011 Previews: Season Preview, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs, Offensive Line, Defensive Backs, Linebackers, Defensive Line, Special Teams

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