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@OhioFootball Spring Practice Position Spotlight - Defensive Line

April 18, 2017

Gone: Tarell Basham, Kurt Laseak, Casey Sayles, Tom Strobel

Returning: Keith Key, Andrew Payne, Will Evans, Tony Porter, Brian Arp, Trent Smart, Sam McKnight, Cleon Aloese, Andrew Cree II, Amir Miller, Kevin Robbins, Kent Berger, Chukwudi Chukwu

Arriving: Kaieem Caesar, Marcus Coleman, Amos Ogun-Semore, Juan Watkins

Analysis:
Arguably one of the deepest positions for the Ohio football team in 2016, the Bobcats and new position coach Pete Germano will have some holes to fill with the departure of MAC Defensive Player of the Year Tarell Basham, defensive lineman Casey Sayles, Tom Strobel and defensive end Kurt Laseak.

Top returners for the Bobcats along the defensive line are RS seniors Cleon Aloese, Tony Porter and Trent Smart. Aloese had a career-high 36 tackles in 2016 and played in all 14 games. He had nine tackles for loss and a sack along with 19 solo stops. Porter played in 11 games last season racking up 25 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Smart played in 13 games and logged 18 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack while also forcing a fumble.

At defensive end, Ohio returns RS senior Kevin Robbins and RS junior Kent Burger. Both saw extensive action last season with Robbins playing in all 14 games, logging 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and recorded the lone defensive touchdown of the year. Berger played in 13 games with 13 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks. 

Career Statistics
Cleon Aloese – 48 tackles, 9 TFL, 1 sack
Kevin Robbins – 37 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
Tony Porter – 45 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks
Trent Smart – 35 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks
Kent Berger – 17 tackles, 5 TFL, 1two sacks

Quote from Pete Germano—Defensive Line Coach

“I think there is great potential to be really, really good. I think they are kind of upset and the point of it is some people think they could be the weakness on our defense. It doesn’t have to be because all those guys left, there is some internal pride that says they can be as good or better if we work together. They are working hard and there is some learning going on because I coach it different than coach Williams and so there was some getting to know each other and it took a while. I don’t know if that process is fully completed but I think we are all on the same page and they want to be good and I think we have the potential to be good.”