Positional Outlooks: DT

Bumped to the front page - Jon

I figured I'd post the first one tonight, and then post one every other day or so while we wait for September 4th to arrive. I've started a few other ones and I'll adjust them based on the scrimmage (though probably not that much), but I'm pretty certain that this one is set:

I'm writing some positional outlooks for our beloved Buffaloes. They are based on what I've read and seen of the players we've got.


We had a pretty young D-line last year, specifically at the tackle position. Curtis Cunningham had played in all 12 games the year before, and was the starter at the Nose. The other starter, Will Pericak, was a redshirt freshman and had only practiced as a D-linema

n for one season. He was switched from TE to DT when he arrived. He showed flashes, but also looked a bit lost at times. They also were spelled by true freshman Nate Bonsu, who was athletic, but also occasionally looked lost.

The Cast:

  • Curtis Cunningham, Jr
    • He's a short, stocky nose tackle. He doesn't have the longest arms, but he's got some power. He's not the greatest pass-rusher, but his strength is clogging the line and stuffing the run. He looks stronger and thicker this fall, and he seems to be a little bit more explosive. They don't rely on him for a pass-rush, but he might find more success in collapsing the pocket this year.
  • Eugene Goree, Jr
    • He's a big body, but hasn't shown us much more than that during his CU career. He was switched to O-line two seasons ago when there was zero depth there, and actually played a little bit. He is fairly athletic for his size, but he hasn't been able to use that to his advantage. His ability to log snaps this season would be great for the guys in front of him. His girth would be great in obvious running situations, so hopefully he can find his way onto the field.
  • Conrad Obi, Jr
    • Like Goree, he hasn't shown us much in his time at CU. He's quite a specimen, and may have finally found his position. He's still listed as a DE, but he's now nearly 300 lbs and has been practicing at DT. He has looked pretty good, and will definitely be in the rotation this year. He looks like the 4th guy right now, which means he'll get his snaps this year. He's an extremely athletic 300 pounder, and has some pass-rush moves inside.
  • Will Pericak, So
    • He's one of my favorite current CU players. He came in as a TE (who also played LB in high school). He was immediately switched to DT though he had never played on the D-line. During his red-shirt year he put on 35 lbs. He then started all last year. While pretty green, he showed flashes of skill and recognition. He has improved in both areas this off-season, and also looks bigger and stronger. The experience of last year and the snaps all spring, summer and fall are turning him into a real DT. His pass-rushing repertoire has only increased. I expect great things out of him at CU.
  • Kirk Poston, Fr
    • He's a fresh recruit, but he looks pretty solid and well built. He's fairly strong, and should only get stronger. He'll redshirt, but he could probably play if he was forced to. He seems like he's got some potential.
  • Dakota Poole, Fr
    • He's a guy who will become a fan-favorite. A former Canadian National U-20 rugby player, he's finally devoting himself entirely to football. He's extremely raw, but has competed at a higher level of athletics than anyone else on the team. At 20, he is older than most of the freshmen, but that will only help his development. Rugby is incredibly physical, which will help for football. And his level of fitness will be significantly higher than that of everybody else on the team. He won't be the strongest, but I would bet he could outrun everybody else on the field. Once he starts to work on his strength and explosion, those quick-twitch muscles instead of the slow-twitch ones, he's going to get bigger and stronger very quickly. I wouldn't be surprised to see him weighing in close to 290 or 300 lbs this time next year. I think he's a guy that we will all root for, and he won't disappoint us.

In 2010:

Cunningham and Pericak will be the starters again. Bonsu had knee surgery after the spring and missed the off-season work, but is back at full-strength now in the fall. He looks even faster than he was last year, and all the guys look like they've improved their strength and power. Obi as been logging some time in practice, and will get his chance as the 4th DT. He might not get quite as many snaps as Bonsu, the primary backup, but he'll get his chance to spell the guys ahead of him. I don't see teams opening up big holes against them. I still remember them playing well on 80% of the snaps against Nebraska, and then getting gashed on the other 20%. I think they'll have their consistency problems fixed this year. The team is focusing a lot of time and energy on stopping the run and working together inside. Pericak is showing much better recognition, clueing in on his blocker and cutting his pass-rush short on running plays, sinking down and clogging the line. If Goree can get some time in there, that will only help keep the other four guys fresh as the season goes on. We're all about D-line rotation under Coach Romeo Bandison, and I think we've got a very solid stable of linemen this year. Poston and Poole will redshirt.

Beyond 2010:

The nice thing about having such a young D-line last year, is that we will be much improved this year, and then they'll all have ANOTHER season together. We are set here for years. These guys will only continue to get better, and this should be a definitely strength of the team in the coming seasons. Pericak is a local guy (graduated from Boulder High) so even if he becomes sought after, he's going to stay all four years, and we'll have Bonsu and Poston and Poole to take over for Cunningham, Obi and Goree. We will have one of the more athletic D-lines in the country in a few years. Exciting stuff.

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