Anyone else think this years D-Line is better than last years?

Submitted by Blue boy johnson on August 16th, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Coach Hoke answers question:

Does the defensive front have the potential to be as good as last year's? I think so. I know we think so. I think Greg [Mattison] and Jerry [Montgomery] would tell you the same thing


Hoke, Mattison, and Montgomery think this years Defensive Line can be as good as last years. I think it can be better; It's certainly more talented

BWC is as talented or more talented than Mike Martin, and all signs point to his senior season being a breakout one.

Black and Roh are more talented than Van Bergen and Heinenger

We are probably losing some on the end with Clark out and Beyer starting for the first time, compared to what Roh was able to deliver, even though Roh was playing out of position. If Clark is able to get back early in the season, I think the End position will be good.

One reason I think this years D-Line can be better is summed up in 2 words: Ondre Pipkins

When I watched the match-up between Pipkins and 4th year all BIG caliber tackle Michael Schofield, I was impressed. The collision between the two was ferocious, then Pipkins drove Schofield to his knees, shed the block, and made the tackle. Incredible to watch an 18 year old that advanced physically. I don't see anyway Pipkins doesn't see significant playing time early in the season, and by the end of the season, Pipkins and Big Will will be a formidable duo on the inside.

By the way: Nobody knows it, but Pee Wee can dunk.



August 16th, 2012 at 7:37 PM ^

"BWC is as talented or more talented than Mike Martin"
"Black and Roh are more talented than Van Bergen and Heinenger"

Are you the Fred Jackson of defensive linemen?


August 16th, 2012 at 7:45 PM ^

The first one is a bit of a stretch, but the second is not.  BWC has size and athleticism that MM did not, Martin had most everything else though, so is that ends up being a wash I'd be happy. 

But I don't see why the Roh-Black combo isn't as good as RVB-Heininger.  Sure, they're smaller, but certainly more athletic. 

Also - we probably have more depth this year than last.  Last season, the only back ups we ever saw were BWC on occasion and Black at WDE.  This year, I think we'll have slightly more rotation on the DL with Brink or Heitzman at SDE, Pipkins and Ash at the tackles and (hopefully) Clark at WDE. 


August 16th, 2012 at 9:35 PM ^

I think we will be better rushing the passer overall due to the increase in speed, as long as they can get used to the new positions (mostly black but still will affect roh) and the double teams they will face. However I am fearful this will weaken the rushing defense against the wisconsins/alabamas of the world. Overall starwise they will be "more talented" but they are pretty inexperienced as a group, I wouldn't be suprised to see them struggle early on and end up dominate in the second half once everyone gets comfortable


August 16th, 2012 at 10:04 PM ^

But what measures of athleticism are you using other than "is taller and heavier" that would lead you to believe that BWC is more athletic than Martin?  Martin is stronger, faster and quicker than BWC.  I know you generally disagree with what the OP said, but that first claim is much more of a stretch than I think you're giving him credit for. 

Phil Brickma

August 16th, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

Uhhh. Yeah. I agree with Mr. Barron. As a senior in high school, BWC was more highly touted than Martin. He has not shown in the past three years he can sniff Martin's cleats. I think BWC is primed to prove himself, but that statement is vastly overrated. Roh and Black both are changing positions and we don't know how they are going to react. The defensive line is one giant question mark. How anyone can honestly say they think they will be better is drinking the maize-n-blue kool-aid. Of course the coaches are going to talk up their guys. It's coachspeak. It doesn't mean anything.

Also, the gap between Clark and Beyer is being vastly overstated. Beyer can play. He got more playing time than Clark last year. Clark might make more big plays, but Beyer might be more consistent. Losing Clark sucks, but being 'stuck' with Beyer isn't a bad thing.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:40 PM ^

You could be cautiously optimistic and hope that they can replicate last years efficiency, but to replace Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen and claim superiority would be overdoing it IMO.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:45 PM ^

Should change your title to "can be better" not "is better".  And I agree with you.  The ceiling is higher this year IMO

And where is this video of Pipkins you speak of?  Please link

Blue NY Gold

August 16th, 2012 at 7:54 PM ^

I 100% Agree, Please Link.


I would love to see this if its true!


There seemed to be a hint of "Freshman Hype" could be related to the underperformance of our upperclassman at the NYC Alumni Event last night, but PeeWee handling our offensive lineman would (in my mind) alleviate any concerns!  

Im just looking for proof!

Thanks for the info though.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:44 PM ^

Unfortunately, No.  BWC had more potential than Mike Martin coming out of HS, but he is by no means more talented when comparing the two going into their senior year. Martin was much more talented. Also, Van Bergen is better than Black and Roh, granted Roh does have a chance to be better. This is making it sound like I think our line is bad, which it isn't, it will be okay. I just think that our line last year was better than this years will be.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:47 PM ^

Not sure if you can come out and say those things definitively. 

Like what others have said, they all have higher ceilings than their predecessors. Especially if you consider RVB to Black. Black is going to bring more speed to the pass rush than RVB.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:52 PM ^

I think you would compare Black to Heininger, not RVB, but your point still certainly stands, in fact probably more so. 

Roh is taking over for RVB, and I think his ceiling is also higher.  Even at WDE, you have Beyer starting for Roh, and although that sounds like a drop off, Beyer is better suited for that position than Roh was, I think. Beyer won't be as strong against the run as Roh was, but we have three returning starters at LB behind him to make up for that.  He'll bring a better pass rush than Roh did.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:46 PM ^

BWC, and Brink is a solid line-up. With 3 DL coaches and those players, I'm not too worried about the DL. I'm also not too worried about the OL. However, I am worried about our receivers, although the emergence of Darboh has alleviated my concerns, somewhat.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:55 PM ^

"BWC is as talented or more talented than Mike Martin"

Hold on a minute there.  Mike Martin was a 4 year stud at Michigan and is reportedly going to be a rookie starter for the Titans.

I like BWC a lot, but where has that "talent" shown on the field?  He was overhyped out of HS big time.  Im not saying that he is not a good player...but he is a hell of a long way from being as talented as Mike Martin.

Same with your statements on Roh and Black...I like them both but neither has come anywhere close to what RVB did in his career...

Roh (with the caveat that he has had several position switches) is underwhelming at the point of attack and disappears for several games at a time before he is heard from.

Black is in a new position and who knows how he will fare at 278 lbs.

No I dont think this year's DL is as good as last years, or will be as good.  Luckily though, the LBs are better and deeper and DBs are all back and should be better too in addition to everyone having another year under Mattison.

Zone Left

August 16th, 2012 at 7:50 PM ^

I disagree that older versions of Roh, Black, and Campbell along with the addition of Pipkins makes up for the loss of three starters along a very disruptive front. If Campbell goes from non-factor to All-Big 10, then I would agree that this line could be better, but I'll believe that when I see it. 

Pipkins may be ready physically, but he's still going to have a long, long way to go until he understands what he's supposed to be doing down-to-down. If he doesn't, Alabama's line will make him look pretty bad. 


August 16th, 2012 at 7:51 PM ^

By all accounts Beyer was actually beating out Frank Clark for the starting spot before the legal stuff. Don't really know if Clark will come back and take the position away from Beyer or not, but adding him to the two-deep would be nice.


August 16th, 2012 at 8:40 PM ^

Yes, but he wouldn't be the first person charges of something without getting convicted of it, right?  Isn't this the same charge Marvin Robinson had last year?  And nothing came of it.  I'm just saying, a lot of times these things end up being a lot less of a deal once all the facts come out.  I have a feeling that if he really busted into a dorm room and ganked a laptop he'd be off the team and in not-Ann Arbor anymore. 

The fact that he's still around suggests to me that this will all come to pass.


August 16th, 2012 at 7:53 PM ^

BWC is no where near Mike Martin.  That is a frustrating statement you made comparing them.  You think Mike Martin was not athletic?  You think Big Will is more athletic?

Everything else has a chance to be true, but Mike Martin was arguably one of the best defensive tackle we have had since ....... and your saying BWC, a guy that was not good enough to start  until his senior year, is better?