Stepping Up

Mark Roberts

The interior defensive line was expected to be strong this year with senior defensive tackle Jon Monga leading the way. Losing him to an injury at Toledo has pushed sophomore Mark Roberts into the starting role. Moreover, true freshmen Chase McEntee and Logan Harrell are seeing more reps. Roberts says, "We just need to step up…"

Mark Roberts sat out in 2006 as a redshirt and played sparingly last season as a RS freshman. However, true freshman Chase McEntee and Logan Harrell do not have the same luxury.

"They came in a lot better shape than I was," Roberts said of Harrell and McEntee.

Stepping up or picking up the flag are terms Fresno State Head Coach Pat Hill uses when a starter goes down. Roberts knows it very well.

"That's what we sign up for," said Roberts. "It hasn't changed too much [with Jon Monga out]. Everyone is going to get reps. Logan, Chase are stepping up. [Wilson] Ramos has moved inside."

This week against Hawaii, the defensive line is going to encounter their second spread offense in three weeks. But unlike Toledo, the Warriors are not expected to run the ball as well or are they?

"They're really running the ball better," Hill said in his weekly press conference. "I think they cause some real problems because they are not sure what they want to do yet. The quarterback (Inoke Funaki) has the ability to run. They have a very physical offensive line."

Roberts agrees the Warriors are showing different formations on film. "They're running a bit more [on film]," said Roberts.

Nonetheless, Hawaii's rush numbers do not show much improvement. The Warriors are averaging a paltry 95.2 yards per game rushing. Starting running back Leon Wright-Jackson has just 67 yards rushing per game through four games.

Roberts says Harrell and McEntee are working hard in practice. While Hawaii might posses a strong run game to stop, the revenge factor is on every players' mind.

"I was on the sidelines as redshirt," Roberts says of the Warriors 68-37 win at Bulldog Stadium in 2006. "I rarely saw the field last year at Hawaii, but it was enough."

Roberts and the rest of the d-line are aiming to shut down Hawaii and come away victorious.


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