The Depth Chart: Defensive line

Hawkeye Top Story, Hawkeyes, On Iowa by Marc Morehouse, Sports,
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August 10, 2014 | 12:05 am

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1. Carl Davis, sr., 6-5, 315; 2. Darian Cooper, jr., 6-2, 282; 3. Faith Ekakitie, so., 6-3, 287

1. Louis Trinca-Pasat, sr., 6-3, 290; 2. Jaleel Johnson, so., 6-4, 310; 3. Nathan Bazata, r-fr., 6-2, 284

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1. Drew Ott, jr., 6-4, 270; 2. Nate Meier, jr., 6-2, 244

1. Mike Hardy, sr., 6-5, 280; 2. Riley McMinn, jr., 6-7, 265; 3. Melvin Spears, jr., 6-2, 268

THE REST

Matt Nelson, fr., 6-8, 255; Daumantas Venckus-Cucchiara, so., 6-5, 240; Terrence Harris, fr., 6-3, 250; Sam Brincks, fr., 6-5, 230; Jake Hulett, r-fr., 6-3, 255; Daniel Gaffey, r-fr., 6-2, 260; Brant Gressel, r-fr., 6-2, 280; *Torey Hendrick, jr., 6-4, 230; Will Kincart, so., 6-3, 255; Wil Rathjen, sr., 6-3, 280; Kyle Terlouw, jr., 6-4, 288; Dean Tsopanides, jr., 6-2, 270

*— Not eligible in 2014

THE GUY

You look at Carl Davis and you think defensive tackle. You look at Louis Trinca-Pasat and you think, sir, can you please move the refrigerator over here and, please, don’t scratch the floor.

The point here is that Davis has a premium body for DT in major-college football. Trinca-Pasat, a 6-3, 290-pound senior who had nine tackles for loss in 2013, had to work his way up to it. He played tight end and defensive end at Chicago’s Lane Tech High School. He was explosive enough to see time as a wide receiver. When he walked on to the Iowa campus (he was an early enrollee), he weighed just 243 pounds.

Five years later, Trinca-Pasat is on the brink of his third season as a starter and, potentially, all-Big Ten status.

“Louis is tough. He makes plays,” Davis said. “He’s gritty and he plays with attitude. I love having him next to me. We complement each other well. We have great chemistry. We know where each other is going to be. We talk a lot.”

A further contrast between Davis and Trinca-Pasat? Davis enjoys interviews. He’s totally comfortable in front of the camera. Trinca-Pasat, at least to the media, is more of a grunt guy, kind of complementing his game.

“We’re just ready to perform, practice, get out there and get better,” Trinca-Pasat said on media day.

THE OTHER GUY

The Solon Beef Days hay bale toss has become a rite of passage for Iowa defensive linemen. Since his days as a Hawkeye, Matt Kroul, a Mount Vernon native who graduated from Iowa in 2008 after four seasons as a defensive tackle, has worn the crown as the champion of the hay bale toss.

This year, Kroul was topped by Drew Ott, a 6-4, 270-pound junior DE for the Hawkeyes. In his first season as a starter in ‘13, Ott had 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

“Drew’s got a distinct advantage, he grew up on a farm,” D-line coach Reese Morgan said. “He’s been training for 20 years, so he’s got a little bit of an advantage. [Freshman DT Nathan] Bazata was there, too. He got fourth.”

THE NEW GUYS

There really aren’t any. Iowa returns all four starters from the end of the 2013 season — Davis, Trinca-Pasat, Ott and Mike Hardy. Unless the light really goes on for someone, the four will start against Northern Iowa on Aug. 30.

Iowa tried to get a new DE and still might. Junior college defensive end Torey Hendrick (6-4, 230) is listed on Iowa’s roster, but he won’t be eligible in 2014 and isn’t expected in camp.

Does this speed up the timetable for true freshmen Matt Nelson, a 6-8, 255-pounder from Cedar Rapids Xavier, and Terrence Harris (6-3, 250)? Probably not. Juniors Nate Meier and Riley McMinn will be defensive ends Nos. 3 and 4.

Bazata (6-2, 284) has been talked about as a possibility in the rotation at defensive tackle. He would be a new face.

— Marc Morehouse

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