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Defensive Line and depth chart

Recently Rumph and Brooks have given interviews that indicate the status of our DL, post-spring, and a hint at the depth chart up front.

Without going into all the quotes and details, heres a summary of the situation. One criticism of all linemen is that they play high (they stand up), don't use their hands enough, and aren't flexible in the hips like they should be and most of these guys have that as their main critique.

D. Bowers-as always, you hear nothing but praise for the guy's talent and skill. Rumph calls him the best player he's ever coached, and points out that when Bowers wants to play, he can hardly be stopped. Like Gaines Adams though, his motor doesn't run on every play. It took Gaines til his last season to show that had changed.

R. Sapp-They wish he had a year under someone like Gaines Adams or Merling to learn from them, but Dhe's supposed to be a leader and just isn't. He is progressing very well on his injury, and they expect him ready by August completely. Motor is on high. They would like him to bulk up just a bit for fall.

K. Alexander-made the biggest gains this spring along with A. Branch. Took Sapp's spot in the DE rotation this spring at 1st team. Smart player who does his assignments but hasn't always made big plays. Big and strong, but still inflexible.

A. Branch-RS'd last year, but really impressed the staff this spring. Big talker who finally backed it up for once. Plays high mostly, but you'd expect that from a RS Freshman.

M. Goodman-impressed the coaches more than anyone really. You can go through the last month of the blog and see the staff rave about him, and that he doesnt look like a Freshman. They have enough depth to RS him, but the decision is up in the air still. If he cant break into the normal rotation, its better to go ahead and do so and have him just learn this year, but it'll be hard to keep him off the field. Very hard worker with a high motor.

K. Brown/Byron Clear-Not progressing as fast, need more coaching to be good players. Not on the level as the other guys.

Tackle has only 5 at the moment in the rotation:
J. Jenkins-definitely the best up front DT we have. Brooks wants more flexibility and hand usage out of him, but believes he could be great. I get the impression that he doesnt think he's of the Haynesworth/NFL-caliber yet though.
Brandon Thompson-good spring, good spring game (9T, 4 touch-sacks). Both have worked this spring to cut fat and still gain some muscle.

But Cumbie, Chavis, and Rennie Moore are all vying for 2nd team spots. All had good springs, but their critiques are the same: play high, inflexible, hand usage. Rennie Moore garnered the most praise for his work ethic and production among this group, but is young (RS Fr.) so I would guess that Chavis or (likely) Moore is the 5th man up front at the moment. He mentioned Cumbie as a possible starter, so theres your 5-deep at DT: Jenkins-Thompson, Cumbie-Moore/Chavis.

Given this info, we can project a post-spring depth chart for the Defense:
DE-Bowers/likely K. Brown only because of experience, but being pushed by Branch hard
Bandit End-Alexander/Sapp (at the moment)
DT-Jenkins/Cumbie
DT-Thompson/Chavis
SAM-K. Connor/D. Andrews
MIKE-Maye/Campbell
WILL-Cooper/Willard or Hunter
CB-Butler/Maxwell
CB-Chancellor/Gilchrist
SS-McDaniel/C. Lewis
FS-Chambers/R. Hall

Note the LB corps is in contradiction to what is available on Clemsontigers.com, because I have gone by Steele's published comments directly, and I've put Sapp on the board.