Posted: 10:00 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26, 2013
By Jack Follman
In part two of our "Where's the Beef?" feature, we are taking a look at the sizes of the Pac-12's starting defensive line units, and breaking them down from heaviest to lightest. Like part one, that took a look at the weights of Pac-12 offensive lines, I took the projected starters going into the season and averaged out their weights. Since many teams have switched to 3-4, the difference between defensive end and outside/rush linebacker is really skewed at the moment, so I generally only included players who were listed at pure defensive end with only a few exceptions.
1. Oregon - 302.7 pounds
The Ducks may be light on offense, but they never skimp on size on their underrated defense, especially up front this year. The Ducks may be very hard to run against in 2013 due to their sheer size if they can stay healthy up front for once. They are the only unit that has an average of more than 300 pounds.
2. Washington State - 297.3 pounds
This might be surprising, but the Cougars run a 3-4 with three guys who all have legitimate Pac-12 defensive tackle size. This might be the reason that the Cougars were actually stronger against the run, and in getting sacks, than you might assume in 2012, let's see if they can keep it up without Travis Long.
3. Arizona State - 295.3 pounds
Most of this comes from Will Sutton bulking up to a very scary 305, and stud sophomore defensive tackle Jaxon Hood checking in at 301. Both of those guys are also why the Sun Devils have the shortest line in the conference with an average of 6'1.7, as Sutton is 6'1 and Hood 6'0.
4. Cal - 295 pounds
The Bears were one of the first adopters of the 3-4 in the Pac-12, and one of the first adopters of using three defensive tackle size guys up front, and nothing appears to have changed yet. Most of the weight here belongs to DeAndre Coleman and Viliami Moala.
5. Oregon State - 292.5 pounds
The Beavers are one of the last teams in the conference that stick to a traditional defensive front and they have good size there, anchored by 345-pound defensive tackle Siali Hautau.
6. Stanford - 291.7 pounds
What is probably the Pac-12's best defensive line isn't the heaviest, but more interestingly, it is tied with Oregon for being the tallest with an average height of 6'5.4. This was also, the exact case with the offensive lines, Stanford and Oregon tying for the tallest, and I think it says a lot about the direction that the conference is going, and why the two programs have dominated the conference so much recently. Length and athleticism are much more important that sheer size right now, and the Ducks and Cardinal know that better than anyone in the conference.
7. UCLA - 281.7 pounds
The Bruins prefer to stay athletic, but still large on the outside and are anchored by the 330-pound Ellis McCarthy in the middle. This could end up being one of the better units in the conference, if they can develop and stay healthy.
8. USC - 281.2 pounds
The Trojans have a talented bunch up front that come in all shapes and sizes, from short and stout (Antwaun Woods 6'0 310) to long and rangy, but big (Leonard Williams 6'5 290). They might not be the best group in the conference as of now, but they might have the most potential.
9. Utah - 278.7 pounds
Another traditional defensive line structure that lost some serious beef with Star Lotulelei and the Kruger brothers graduating and leaving early.
10. Colorado - 272.5 pounds
Their lack of size up front even though they have a standard defensive set probably has a lot to do with why the Buffs have been so poor against the run in recent seasons.
11. Arizona - 271.5 pounds
The Wildcats' biggest weakness on their weak defense is the line, and part of that might be because of how light they have been up there in recent seasons. Defensive lines may need to be a little more svelte to defend hurry-up offenses these days, but they still need to be able to withstand pounding and get after the quarterback.
12. Washington 270.3 pounds
This makes sense as the Huskies are focusing on pure speed on defense under Justin Wilcox, but it still seems a little small. It will be interesting to see how they will hold up against the run this season and if they can get after the passer better than they did in 2012 with not much size up front.