FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- For the last two years the Arkansas defense has been one of the worst in the SEC. If this season is going to be any better, it all starts up front with the defensive line. The unit has experience but might have issues with depth.
Sophomore defensive end Deatrich Wise stepped up big last year, playing in all 12 games and recording 17 tackles, three for a loss, with two sacks.
On the other side, senior Trey Flowers is expected to be one of the best defensive ends in the country after earning second team all-conference honors in 2013.
Darius Philon started the last five games at defensive tackle as a freshman in 2013. He recorded 46 tackles and three sacks. Junior DeMarcus Hodge had 27 tackles, also at the defensive tackle spot.
Those four should be the starters.
“We're more in tune and have a better football IQ,” said Hodge. “We know what we're doing before we need to do it.”
However, after those four, there aren’t many players on the defensive line who have seen playing time. They’re hoping they get healthy competition in fall camp.
“The competition level is going to bring the best out of our two-deep,” said Trey Flowers. “We're going to have a strong two-deep defense.”
Backing up Flowers and Wise at defensive end are Brandon Lewis and Tevin Beanum among others.
“If Trey and I step out there's no lack of quality defensive ends,” said Deatrich Wise.
Despite the confidence, a lot still needs to be determined in the two-deep depth chart over the next three weeks.
“Between our first and second team there's good competition right there,” said defensive line coach Rory Segrest. “Also, the third team is pushing the second team. It's early in camp so we're going to continue to roll those guys in and see who emerges at the top as a leader.”
El Dorado freshman Bijon Jackson might also find a spot on the two-deep at defensive tackle.