By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
With the loss of two defensive line starters to graduation, one question the Arizona faithful may be wondering this season is, "Is 'Desert Swarm' dead?"
If that's the case, senior All-American Tedy Bruschi is here to respond with an emphatic "No."
"As long as Tedy Bruschi is here at the University of Arizona, along with Brandon Sanders, Charlie Camp and Thomas Demps, Desert Swarm is here and it's not going to be gone until we leave," Bruschi said.
And the main reason that Desert Swarm is here to stay Ÿ at least for one more season Ÿ is on the shoulders of the Wildcats' four defensive linemen. The unit stifled opponents to just 65 yards a game last season with an average of 1.9 yards a carry. They also recorded a league-high 47 sacks, costing teams over 300 yards.
"Tedy Bruschi, Chuck Osborne and Joe Salave'a give us a tremendous start on the defensive line entering this season," said UA coach Dick Tomey. "Through last season, they know what it takes to be successful and they know how to give that effort."
One of last year's biggest surprises was Salave'a's development into a big-time player. He was second among interior linemen with 27 tackles, including five for losses and three for sacks, and had won a start by the fifth game of the season.
What was not a surprise, however, was the fact that last year's line did not allow an opposing runner to gain 100 yards, moving its streak to 34 games, dating back to 1992. Teams have tried everything from double-teaming to using two tight ends Ÿ the end result, however, has been the same: frustration for the opposing offense.
"If other teams double-team us, that's just fine with me," said Osborne, the starting nose guard. "Because if they do that, they'll just leave one of us open and that is quite a gamble with our line."
Osborne could be a main force this season when teams concentrate too much on Bruschi and Salave'a, forgetting about the man in the middle.
"Chuck has a great work ethic," Bruschi said. "I'm going to have to push myself just to keep up with him in sacks."
Still, Tomey is hesitant to compare this unit to those of previous installments of Desert Swarm.
"This year's line has the potential to be as good as any we've had," Tomey said. "But we won't make any comparisons until we can evaluate this season's performance."
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