Hawks depending on new faces on defensive line

Junior Trevor Henson (#66) is emerging as one of the Hawks' leaders on the defensive line.
Junior Trevor Henson (#66) is emerging as one of the Hawks' leaders on the defensive line.

Head Coach Mike Turk on preseason progress: "After watching film from Thursday's scrimmage, it is apparent that when we know what we're doing and we do what we're supposed to do, we're pretty good. For the most part, that applies to the first group on both sides. After that, there is a big drop-off in execution on both sides of the ball.

"We can't play a game with just 11 guys on each side of the ball. We have to find a way to create some depth. We are going to have to have some guys who haven't played for us yet, figure things out, step up and be guys we can depend on to put in the game and not take a step backwards. That is happening at some positions, but we still have a big drop off from the first group to the second group at too many positions."

Position Spotlight – Defensive Line

Projected Starters: Defensive Ends – Parker Allen (Sr.) and Troy Mandris (Jr.)

Defensive Tackle – Trevor Henson (Jr.); Nose Guard – Taryon Edwards (Fr.) or Carlos Nettles (Fr.)

A Closer Look: The defensive line was one of Huntingdon's deepest positions last season. This season the Hawks have to replace eight seniors and a total of 12 players who saw time on the defensive line last season.

Returning for the Hawks this season are senior Parker Allen and juniors Trevor Henson and Troy Mandris. Allen is the veteran of the group and is entering his fourth season in the defensive line rotation. He was the fifth leading tackler in the unit last season. Henson saw playing time each of the past two seasons and Mandris appeared in four games last season.

Several newcomers have impressed the coaching staff during the preseason. Leading the freshmen are Taryon Edwards and Carlos Nettles. Edwards and Nettles are battling for the starting nose guard position.

Turk on the Allen and Henson: "Parker has played for us since he was a freshman and you know what you are going to get out of him. He is solid and dependable and has been a big part of our defense. Trevor played for us last year some and has been very consistent and solid throughout camp. He is one of the more experienced guys we have back, so we're counting on him to be that reliable and dependable guy. He has a good work ethic and brings it every day.

"Both of those guys are good leaders for us and good players for us. It's good to have both of them working with these younger guys, setting the standard every day and leading them in the right direction."

Turk on the youth of the defensive line: "We're going to be relying on a lot of young guys on the defensive front to not just play, but to really contribute. We're not just talking about having guys we can plug in here and there, we're talking about some guys who are going to have to start for us and others who we're going to need to play a lot of snaps.

"We have a pretty talented group of young players, they're just inexperienced. So, that's just going to take some time and some reps. It's not a great situation as far as the number of experienced guys back, but the guys we do have back are the right kind of guys to handle that responsibility and lead these younger players."

Next Practice: The Hawks return to the practice field on Sunday at 3 p.m. for the final practice before classes begin. Practices are open to the public.

2017 NCAA Playoff Information
November 13, 2017 2017 NCAA Playoff Information