June 14, 2007

Stroud hoping to turn DL into an asset in '07

Last season, what appeared to be an asset on defense quickly turned into a liability.

A string of early injuries decimated the defensive line especially on the interior where a starter and one key backup was lost for the season and another was severely limited by injuries. As a result, the starts in the middle next to Andre Fluellen were split between true freshman Budd Thacker, defensive end Alex Boston, who was also battling through injuries, and then sophomore Letroy Guion, who was in and out of the lineup with a nagging ankle injury.

Not surprisingly, with little or no depth to rotate, and as offenses doubled up on Fluellen, there was a significant drop-off in production. All in all the defensive tackle and nose guard positions generated 24 tackles for loss and 4 sacks in 2006. By comparison, the same two spots accounted for 38 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks the season before.

One coach that knows a lot about the physical demands of the position is new strength and conditioning coach Todd Stroud. As a player, Stroud started three seasons for Bobby Bowden at nose guard and was a team captain. He also served as the defensive line coach at NC State for three years under Chuck Amato.

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