Position Previews: Defensive Line

BY BEN ROSS | AUGUST 27, 2013 5:00 AM

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Dead last.

That’s where Iowa’s defense ranked in the Big Ten last year in sacks, recording just 13 quarterback tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The second-to-last team in the category, Michigan State, was 7 sacks ahead of the Hawkeyes with 20 on the year.

Just 8.5 of those 13 sacks came from defensive lineman. Joe Gaglione led the squad with 5 in 2012, but he has since graduated. Defensive end Dominic Alvis is Iowa’s leading returning sack artist, with 3 from a year ago.

“I’m not a numbers guy, but I think we have a lot experienced and veteran guys coming back,” Alvis said at Iowa media day on Aug. 8. “It comes down to consistency on game day and practice.”

The starting D-line for Iowa’s first game this Saturday reads as Alvis and Drew Ott as the defensive ends, with Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat filling in the interior. Trinca-Pasat started all 12 games last year, while Davis saw significant action in 11 contests.

“Starter” may just turnout to be a title for this year’s defensive line, though, because Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said he expects to play up to eight defensive lineman during the course of a game as a way to help combat the hurry-up offenses Iowa will see this year.

“Dom is being a really good leader, which we need,” Ferentz said following an open scrimmage in Kinnick stadium on Aug. 17. “Louie is doing the same thing. He was rusty when he got going in the spring. Carl is doing some good things, as is Drew Ott. But I think we’re still planning on playing six, seven, eight guys.”

Davis turned heads during his spring-game performance — he could continually be found in the backfield harassing Iowa’s quarterbacks. The 6-5, 315-pound lineman could be a force to be reckoned with if he shows his potential in 2013 — which he said is something good for Iowa and bad for opposing quarterbacks.

“I just come out to play how Carl Davis plays,” the junior said at Iowa media day. “[Iowa offensive linemen Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh] are competitive, they’re making me better in practice … But I’m just rushing, I’m just trying to get to the red shirt.”

Because Alvis and Trinca-Pasat each started every game in 2012, the D-line is poised to be one of Iowa’s most experienced position groups this season — which is something Trinca-Pasat said to expect.

“We’re hungry to get back out there and start playing again,” Trinca-Pasat said at Iowa media day. “Expect experience; everyone has a few years under his belt. [Going against opposing offensive lineman] becomes muscle memory, it becomes natural.”

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