Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive line hoping for bigger, better things in 2011
The Saskatchewan Roughriders defence hit training camp adjusting, or for some re-adjusting, to Richie Hall's defensive philosophy. The biggest difference from Hall to former defensive coordinator Gary Etcheverry's style comes along the defensive line.
The last two seasons, Etcheverry's defensive linemen were spread out and were smaller, more athletic, especially last season when hybrid linebacker/defensive end Jerrell Freeman led the team with seven sacks.
This season Freeman is back to his natural position of linebacker while Brent Hawkins and Shomari Williams have added weight, and Tearrius George and Dario Romero were brought in to add size to the defensive line.
Hawkins is excited to get after the quarterback a little more than his first season with the Roughriders in 2010, "I don't want to speak too much on anybody's defensive philosophy but yeah, I think with Richie, we get a little more freedom."
The NFL veteran struggled with injuries last season and had just three sacks in 13 games and while the defensive line almost matched the production of the 2009 unit, which included John Chick and Stevie Baggs, it wasn't good enough.
"We just have to get after it this year," exclaimed Hawkins after the second day of training camp, "We were okay last year and that's quote, unquote 'okay', and this year I think we'll be great."
Another member of the defensive line who may be asked to take on more responsibility is the first overall pick in 2010, Shomari Williams. Williams is a few pounds heavier then his rookie season and when it comes to the battle for spots, he's confident that his offseason work with former teammate Marcus Adams will pay off.
"Last year I worked a lot after practice and came in and watched a lot of film and this year I plan on doing the same things," stated the sophomore Rider, "This year I expect a lot more success on the field and a lot more sacks. I'm going to work hard at it and it's going to come so why not me because I'm going to put the work in to be great."
Also battling the second year Riders at the defensive end spot is the previously mentioned Tearrius George, along with Montez Murphy, Calvin Fance, Luc Mullinder and Courtney Harris.