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December 6, 2013

Grading The Team: Defensive Line

Now that the Houston Cougars' regular season has concluded, the team and it's fans play the waiting game as the rest of the country completes it's schedule to find out where the Cougars will be heading for their eighth bowl game since 2003.

Like the team and fans, we too find ourselves waiting for what the next step will be, so CougarsDen will take a look at how each position group fared during the Cougars regular season and give each position group a grade.

Today we continue the series with a look at the defensive line which includes a rush-end position that re-emerged as a force this season, reminiscent of 2011 when {db}Sammy Brown[/db] excelled at the position.

To start there, a trio of players all stood out at times throughout the season. Eric Eiland came into the season expected to be the man at the position with Trevor Harris expected to back him up. Eiland went down in game one and missed time with a nagging injury and both Harris and freshman Tyus Bowser stepped in and excelled, providing the Cougars three solid options once Eiland returned, including using two of them at times.

The rest of the defensive line quietly had a very solid season as well. The Cougars got 11 sacks from the other three spots, compared to the 11 they got from the rush-end, but the numbers came not from Joey Mbu as some might have expected but Jeremiah Farley, Eric Braswell and B.J. Singleton each had three a piece. That combined with solid tackling, led by Mbu's 27, and a very lucky stretch of avoiding the injury bug this season the defensive line held it's own.

Redshirt freshman Cameron Malveaux continued to develop behind Braswell and sophomore Tomme Mark also continued his growth in the tackle position.

The unit as a whole ended with 32 quarterback hurries and 35.5 tackles-for-loss, demonstrating the ability they had with disrupting opposing backfields. For their efforts, they finish with an overall grade of B+.

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