Trenton Thompson is one of the Bulldogs top defensive linemen, but his recent MCL injury, a sprain he suffered in the Mississppi State game, has opened up more opportunities for sophomore Julian Rochester at different spots on the D-line.
Rochester has been constantly involved on the defensive line in his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, but with the loss of Thompson, Rochester has seen his role expand. He is normally the second-string nose guard behind John Atkins, but he has moved to different positions on the line to accommodate for the loss of Thompson.
“Last week, I played a lot of nose, I played a lot of end, and I played a lot of tackle. I was just moving all over the line just being as aggressive as possible coming for these weeks,” said Rochester. “We just have to pick up the slack that was left behind, which is really no slack.”
Rochester went on to compliment his fellow defensive lineman Tyler Clark and how he has stepped up in past weeks with the recent loss of Thompson.
“Tyler is a hard-nosed dude, who is gonna set his point and set his anchor, put his foot in the ground and get vertical,” said Rochester. “That’s what we need on the d-line, helping our linebackers to crack heads and bang.”
The Bulldogs defensive success this season can be much attributed to the absolute dominance that they have displayed in the trenches. Although they are facing one of the SEC’s most potent passing attacks, their ability to win the battle in the trenches should ultimately be the deciding factor in the outcome of the game.
The ability for players like Clark and Rochester to step up during the absence of a player like Thompson should be very encouraging for the Bulldogs staff and the depth that has built along the defensive front. If they can continue to play at a high level, then they should take care of Missouri for homecoming and head into the bye week undefeated to get ready for a showdown in Jacksonville with the Florida Gators.
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