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August 28, 2012

Position Preview - DL

DT JIMMY STATEN

2011 stats - Started all 12 games totaling 29 tackles, four tackles for loss and one sack.

Last season for Middle Tennessee was dreadful when it came to rushing yards allowed on defense and many put much of the blame on the size of the defensive players. Staten and the strength and conditioning coaches did all they could to fix that problem in the offseason.

Thanks to a strenuous training program, Staten was able to add on size and now tips the scales at an even 300 pounds.

That added weight has not detracted from his skillset though, as Staten was voted the Most Improved Lineman at the conclusion of spring practice.

With a new mindset coming from the players and co-defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, look for Staten to be a key cog in the center of the d-line this year.

DT KENDALL DANGERFIELD

2011 stats - Played in all 12 games with seven starts and posted a career best 31 tackles with a team-high eight tackles for a loss, while also finishing the season with one sack and one fumble recovery.

Dangerfield is another one of those that hit the weight room to bulk up this offseason as he now weighs in at 290 pounds. Dangerfield will be hoping that with the new muscle he added in the offseason will help him improve on his best season as a Blue Raider.

Look for the interior defensive line to be much improved this year, and look for Dangerfield to be a big reason why. The Giles County native will be looking to make a lasting impact in this, his senior campaign.

DE SHUBERT BASTIEN

2011 stats - Played in every game and started three. Bastien was the only true freshman that saw playing time in 2011. Finished the year with 33 tackles, 4.5 TFL's, two hurries, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. Earned eight winning grades from the coaching staff.

Bastien enters the 2012 season battling with DE Dearco Nolan for the starting nod at the LE position. According to the first depth chart released, he won that battle. However, expect to see him and Nolan splitting the workload over the course of the season.

At 6'5", 237 pounds, Bastien has the prototypical size that makes the NFL scouts drool. As perhaps the player with the most upside on the entire Blue Raider roster, look for Bastien to make significant strides in this, his sophomore campaign.

DE OMAR MCCLENDON

2011 stats - Started all 12 games while totaling a career best 54 tackles to go with 4.5 TFL's, 2.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.

At the start of the 2012 season, McClendon will be the most experienced defensive lineman for Middle Tennessee. Over the course of his career, McClendon has dawned a Blue Raider uniform and saw action in 36 contests.

McClendon had a pretty impressive spring in the weight room as he was awarded the Most Improved Strength Training Defensive Lineman and will be looking to use that newfound strength and his quickness to improve on the career bests that he registered last season.

To go along with all of his intangibles, McClendon is the clear leader of the entire defense. Underclassmen look to him for guidance, and his fellow upperclassmen look to him as an example to follow.

DE DEARCO NOLAN

2011 stats - Played in 11 games, with one start, accumulating 13 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack.

Nolan has played in 22 games throughout his Middle Tennessee career, but has never really shined on the stat sheet as he has only had two sacks in two seasons.

Nolan is not a very big guy at 242 pounds, but due to injuries and a depleted line, he was forced to play in the middle last year - clearly out of position and not able to utilize his explosiveness and speed - which is a good trait to have as a defensive end. With a healthy line, Nolan will now be back in the rotation at the end.

In the spring game he was able total three tackles with two sacks, showing fans a positive sign of progression. The Blue Raider defense struggled in just about every category last year, and for that to change, pressure on the QB will be key to make a step in the right direction. Look for Nolan to be one of those getting after it throughout the year as he will continue to battle for playing time.



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