Last year, the Huskies fielded one of their better defensive lines in recent years. If anything, the unit is even stronger in 2011. Camp observers have seen player additions and position changes to the DLine, and their performance has been impressive thus far. Huskie Outsider caught up with four members of this group: Zach Hart, Levi Steinhauer, David Rybinski, and Jon De Witt. De Witt will be the subject of a separate post later today.
Zach Hart commented on the experience of the DLine. “We’ve got a lot of veterans coming back, which really helps. The veteran presence also helps with developing the skills of the young guys too.” Zach was also asked about his move to the interior of the DLine. “We just didn’t have a lot of depth there, and we’ve got a lot of edge guys who can play this year.” Hart knew there was a pretty good chance that he would be switching positions, but he didn’t have to alter his training because of it. “I’ve just trained to get better at all of the positions,” he stated. “I want to be able to play where they want me to play. If inside is where they want me to play, I’ll play there. If edge is where they need me, I’ll play there as well.”
Huskie fans may not be too familiar with Levi Steinhauer. That will change in 2011. The athletic defensive end, from Moose Jaw, turned heads with his play for Team World in February’s USA vs. World game. He moves into the starting lineup in his second year of eligibility. He should help improve the Huskies’ pass rush off of the edge. He is looking forward to having a more prominent role in the defense. “I’m pretty excited about it,” he remarked about the chance to start. “I worked hard this off-season.” When asked about the Huskies’ DLine, Levi stated “Our whole DLine brings a lot of speed; Jon and Zach ran really fast 40′s. I think that the DLine, as a whole, is good and I think we’ll have a better pass rush this year.”
Defensive tackle, David Rybinski, also had some international experience this year. He played for Team Canada in this summer’s IFAF World Cup. “It was an experience that I’ll treasure,” he commented regarding the tournament. “Coming out of junior,” where he used to play for the Regina Thunder, “I had a choice between playing for the Huskies, which has been my lifelong dream, or playing south of the border. I’m really happy with my choice to play with the Huskies, but it was an added bonus to be able to go to Austria and have a chance to play the 4-down American game.”
Rybinski, entering his fourth season as a starter at tackle, is pleased with how the DLine has prepared during the off-season, and how they’ve looked in camp so far. “There are a lot of things that we did during the off-season to prepare for this season. At the end of last year we all sat down and agreed that we need to be better, and it seems like we are. You see Steve Kovach out there hustling around all the time. Hart is playing back inside and doing well. De Witt has really impressed me, along with Seutter (another Team World member) and Steinhauer stepping up.”
Zach Hart summed up the group’s feelings about Friday’s non-conference game vs. the Windsor Lancers, at Griffiths Stadium. “It’s going to be great. Putting in six straight days of 2-a-days is a long haul, and I can’t wait to get on the field and play for real.”