John Denton's Knights Insider: Season Preview Part 6 of 9 - Defensive Line

Aug. 1, 2010

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Previous Positional Previews: QB | RB | WR | OL | TE

By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Here is a breakdown of UCF's defensive line, a unit that is rebuilding somewhat after the losses of Torell Troup, Travis Timmons and Jarvis Geathers.

Training camp opens Aug. 5 and the Knights kick off the regular season on Sept. 4 at Bright House Networks Stadium against South Dakota.

POSITION: Defensive line

PROJECTED STARTERS: RE Bruce Miller (6-2, 255, Sr.); DT E.J. Dunston (6-2, 308, Fr.); DT Wes Tunuufi Sauvao (6-3, 300, RSr.); LE David Williams (6-2, 235, RSr.).

KEY RESERVES: DE Darius Nall (6-3, 254, RJr.); DT Victor Gray (6-4, 257, RFr.); DT Brandon Bryant (6-4, 275, RFr.); DE Troy Davis (6-2, 250, So.).

PLAYER TO WATCH: Bruce Miller. He has a chance to be the second UCF defensive lineman selected high in the NFL Draft after Troup was picked by the Buffalo Bills back in the spring. Miller is the leader among active college football players with 27 career sacks and his 44 tackles for loss rank second. He will play this season with more of a bullseye and will likely be double-teamed an chip blocked by running backs at time. To make Miller more valuable, UCF will play him both at end and tackle this season to keep defenses off balance. His combination of speed and power will make him a force regardless where he lines up.

STRENGTHS: Miller's play and leadership make him a strength of the team, not just the defensive line. The Knights should once again be one of the country's best teams against the run. UCF ranked fourth in the country and first in Conference USA last season against the run and they should be tough on the ground again this season. David Williams is a reliable run-stuffer, as is the powerful Wes Sauvao. The development of Dunston, Victor Gray and Troy Davis will be a big key.

WEAKNESSES: One area of concern is the Knights ability to rush the passer, especially if Miller is double-teamed and kept away from the quarterback. Williams has worked hard to improve his pass rush, working with defensive line coach Jim Panagos and Miller. Darius Nall, who had a successful return last season after missing 2008 with a cancerous tumor, is a pass rush specialist with a high motor. Again, the push up the middle from the tackles will make the ends more effective at getting to the quarterback.

COACH'S QUOTE: ``I see Troy Davis emulating Bruce already. I see those guys on the defensive line watching him on film and studying him. You can see those younger kids look and act and try to play like Bruce Miller. I'm seeing it out of Troy Davis and (freshman tackle) Victor Gray. Bruce is just a great example for those young kids, and they follow his lead.'' - UCF defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.