August 29, 2009
BRYANT FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW
DEFENSIVE LINE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE BULLDOG DEFENSE
SMITHFIELD, RI - If you're a football fan who appreciates good defense, then Bryant University football is for you. The Bulldogs, thanks to the return of 10 starters from a very good defensive unit from '08, should once again be armed with speed, size, strength and experience once again this fall.
|Senior defensive end Don Smith leads a talented and veteran defensive line into 2009 when the Bulldogs host Southern Connecticut next Saturday at 3 pm. www.dspics.com|
Head coach Marty Fine and defensive coordinator Greg Gigantino will field a reliable defensive unit that loses just one starter, safety Bryce Martins from last year's team. From the front four to the linebackers, safeties and corners, the Bulldogs will certainly play a big role in the success of the Bulldogs this season.
In only its first season competing at the Division I level, Bryant was ranked nationally is several categories, including 11th in turnover ratio, 12th in turnovers, 17th in interceptions and 16th in rushing defense.
Any hopes of repeating similar rankings in 2009 will start up front with the defensive line, the heart and soul of the Bryant defense.
All four starting down linemen are back including three seniors and one junior, giving the team a cohesive and experienced group aimed at stopping the run and forcing pressure on the quarterback.
Seniors Peter and Patrick Gauthier (Woonsocket, RI) and Don Smith (Attleboro, MA) along with junior Andrew Regan (West Newbury, MA) are solid. The Gauthiers and Regan have good size and strength to not only stuff the run but have shown good quickness in flushing quarterbacks out of the pocket.
Pat Gauthier notched 46 tackles in 2008 and was second on the team with nine tackles for a loss including five sacks for a loss of 22 yards. Peter Gauthier added 43 tackles plus a pair of sacks while Regan had 41 stops and with four going for a loss.
Smith, who has drawn the attention of several NFL scouts with his play as a rush end, looks to challenge the all-time career sacks record. At 6-4, 255 pounds, Smith not only has good size but excellent athletic ability and quickness. He led the Bulldogs with nine sacks - the third-best single season total in school history - and enters the season with 11 in two seasons and just 12 behind the school record of 23.
As a team, the Bulldogs were ranked 15th nationally with 30 team sacks.
Cheyenne Ray (Bellport, NY) will make a strong challenge for a starting role as well and should see significant time off the bench. A junior, Ray has good size and quickness. In addition to five quarterback hurries, he had two breakups including an interception returned 29 yards for a touchdown against Duquesne.
Joshua Janes (Newport, RI), Joe Iaquinto (Dix Hills, NY), Nick Bonadies (Leonia, NJ) and Cody Aughney (Henderson, NV) all give the defensive line excellent depth.