Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Defensive Line Preview- 2013

Fifth Year Senior Jake Rotkvich returns to
 lead the Forester Defensive lineman in 2013. 

The defensive line returns all three starters from last year and also brings back the top backups at each spot.  Led by 2012 team captain and 1st Team All-Conference selection, Sr. Jake Rotkvich, the DL looks to further improve on an extremely successful 2012.  The experienced group accounted for 121 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 23.5 tfls, 1 int, and 6 pbrs.  Joining Rotkvich are fellow seniors Michael Garetto-Balmer (2nd Team All-Conference selection), Taylor Holzmeyer, and Victor Gabuardi. Sophomore Kyle Sands looks to make a major impact after learning the position during his freshman season. 
Michael Garetto-Balmer recovers a fumble
against Illinois College in 2012. 

"Having two all-conference defensive lineman back is a tremendous feeling. We know we are rock solid on the edges. Additionally, the wealth of experience that we have is tremendous. Taylor is a 13 game starter. Having Jake back for and extra season due to a medical redshirt his freshman year is a great surprise. The leadership that we receive from these guys is incredible. Garetto-Balmer is the perfect example of a student-athlete. He's a three time All-MWC Academic Selection, and now an All-conference performer on the field. Vic has a great ability in rushing the passer, and with a better understanding of our defense after transferring in last season, should be able to contribute in a bigger way," noted Coach Catanzaro. "Kyle Sands has some of the best natural ability, and has the biggest size of our returning defensive ends. His ability to drop down to a three-technique should be something that we can take advantage of this year as well." 

Taylor Holzmeyer preparing to make a play in 2012. 

The noseguard position will be anchored by junior, Ramel Samuel. Ramel started seven games for the Foresters in 2012 after moving over from defensive end. The 6'4 265lb, Arizona native had an impressive spring session.  Sophomore Mike Hilliard returns as a backup nose guard for the Foresters.

"We have two experienced noseguards coming back. "Ram" had one of the greatest improvements in the spring. He has completely grasped the skills needed to be successful as an interior defensive lineman. I am really excited to see what he does this season," said Catanzaro. 
Noseguard Ramel Samuel cleans up a ball carrier in 2012. 

Catanzaro continued,"Mike gave us a tremendous game against Ripon in week 9. If he can give us spurts of performance like that with consistency, then he will be a viable options for us in the middle. He needs to have had a great summer so that his endurance catches up with his ability."

The Foresters' were able to bring in a big, both literally and figuratively, class at defensive line. There are a total of seven freshman lineman, and they average 6'1 260lbs. There are also three defensive ends in this group that are over 6'4. The incoming freshman defensive ends are: Dylan Ernst (Lincoln-Southeast, NE) Connor Kirkpatrick (Prairie Ridge, IL), Keegan McKenna (Lakes Community HS, IL), Reid Martin (Lake Oswego, OR), and Brendan Power (Oak Forest HS, IL).

The incoming defensive tackles are: Nick Nusbaumer (Springfield Catholic, MO) and Nick Plazewski (St. Edwards, IL). 

"I have very high expectations for this group of players. Though they may not see a significant amount of playing time their first year, I feel that this is a group that can be a rock foundation for our team moving forward. Our defensive line position will get hit by graduation, significantly this year. These players need to learn from the upperclassmen, and I believe that they can give us a seamless transition next season," observed Catanzaro.