Even when Walter Stewart was playing at the top of his game last season, UC's front line was having big problems getting to the opponents' quarterback. Once Stewart was lost for the season, I'm not sure if an opposing QB even got his uniform dirty. Hell, he probably could have played without a helmet. All joking aside, this is becoming an epidemic.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase torched the UC (albeit depleted) secondary in last week's embarrassing loss. Scheelhaase faced practically zero pressure in the pocket and was allowed to sling the ball all over the field. Like I said, it's no secret. Neither is the fact that something is going to have to change in that department or we're all going to have to come to the realization that perhaps this defense isn't as stout as we all thought and hoped.
Game one, Silverberry Mouhan made one of the most important, yet overlooked, plays of the young season. With Purdue driving inside the UC red zone, Mouhan got to Rob Henry, sacked him, and forced a fumble. Purdue recovered, but the sack on Henry pushed Purdue back significantly. By the time the series was over, Paul Griggs missed a 39-yard field goal attempt and UC dodged a major bullet.
Sometimes it doesn't even take getting to the quarterback to force mistakes. (Not to pile on) Munchie Leguax always had trouble with accuracy when he faced pressure. In the very same Purdue game, his first pass of the season in fact, Legaux had a passed tipped up in the air for an interception all due to pressure in his face.
Now, we all knew losing Brandon Mills, Dan Giordano, and especially Walt Stewart meant somewhat of a learning curve for the UC defensive line. That line lost a ton of experience, no doubt. But guys like Mouhan along with Jordan Stepp, Brad Harrah, and Chad West are certainly capable guys. It's time to put it on display and get after it.
Everything starts up front. Always has. Always will.