With the graduation of veterans Joel Seutter, Ben Rush, and Zach Hart, the defensive line will be taking on a new look this fall. Despite the turnover, don’t expect there to be much of a drop off from what has arguably been the Huskies’ strongest unit over the last few years. “We’re really good at tackle, with a lot of depth there,” commented Aaron Moser, one of the Dogs’ two defensive line coaches. “Honestly, I think we have six guys that can play defensive tackle. Our veteran guys – Clayton Sarich, Brayden Twarynski, and Tim Agbaje – have all looked really good. But Garrett Meek, Caleb Eidsvik, and new recruit Evan Machibroda have been impressive as well.” The same level of depth isn’t enjoyed at defensive end. “We’re a little inexperienced off the edge, so there’s a lot of competition there right now and I don’t think that’s going to resolve itself until fall camp.”
Tim Agbaje has looked outstanding in spring camp; this comes on the heels of winter workouts where Coach Towriss told Huskie Outsider that Agbaje was at times unstoppable. ”Camp has been good; the coaches have been splitting the reps between the 1′s and the 2′s.” Camp isn’t over yet, but he’s thinking ahead a few months. ”I’m already looking forward to coming back in the fall and getting ready for our first game.” Now that Tim has been with the Dogs for a year, he has become much more adjusted to the Huskies’ systems. “I believe in the system – all the stunts and drills that we run in practice get us ready for games. Once you get a handle on things it becomes second nature.”
While his group shows promise, Moser acknowledged that they haven’t shown consistency though the first two days of camp. “We had a great practice on Thursday night; tonight (Friday) we had some issues with offsides and a lack of focus, so we’ll have to get that corrected.”
Coming into camp, Huskie Outsider expected 3rd year standout Brayden Twarynski to be a fixture at defensive end. That isn’t necessarily the case as the coaches still see his value at tackle. “We want to get the best four players on the field,” Coach Moser stated, “but right now we like him inside because of his ability to rush the passer as a 3-technique. The potential of having him and Tim inside creates some pretty significant difficulties for an offence, trying to block those two guys. But when we get into August we want to get our best four guys on the field; if that means playing Brayden off the edge, then we’ll have him off the edge for sure.” Moser added that Twarynski could be moved inside on passing downs.
Coach Moser gave Huskie Outsider a quick primer on each of the Dogs’ new defensive line recruits:
Evan Machibroda: “Evan is one of the better interior defensive linemen that we’ve had here straight out of high school. He’s extremely quick off the ball. He’s been well coached; his fundamentals are sound. It’s going to be sooner rather than later that he’s going to be able to play for us – he’s behind some significant depth. In other years he would have been a starter for us as a freshman – he’s doing that well.”
We spoke briefly with Evan following Saturday afternoon’s practice. “It’s been a lot of fun,” he told us. ”I’ve adjusted fairly well. I just come out here and do my best. Over the summer I want to get bigger, faster, and stronger, and hopefully come into the main camp as a better football player.”
Brennan Thorpe and Adam Morrison: ”We’re fortunate to have a couple of experienced Hilltoppers in Brennan and Adam join our program. We’ve been rotating them through with Luke Marshall at our end spot and getting them lots of reps. There’s a bit of an adjustment for them because they’re used to a different system. Morrison has a big body with a long reach which is pretty attractive in terms getting hands up in the passing lanes; he’s got some versatility – he can play between the tackles too. Thorpe is a bit of a different player; he has good hips – he’s really slippery. He does a particularly good job when we get into team time, which is what you’re looking for. He’s always around the ball.”
Tristan Koronkiewicz: ”Tristan played a year with the Vancouver Island Raiders. He’s a pretty good athlete, which excites us; he’s raw right now, and is getting acclimated with our system and techniques. He’s a very good pass rusher who has to work on his run technique.”
Mitchell Lyons: “Mitch is a local kid that we’ve known about for a couple of years now. He was a D-Lineman at Bishop James Mahoney Collegiate who was moved to linebacker. He’s a hard worker and a great student. He’s also a very good wrestler, and we like getting guys that excel at more than one sport. I think he’s going to be a real good player for us down the road.”
Huskie Outsider will continue to have much more from spring camp, including our premiere episode of Outsider Radio which will be posted shortly.