Bradlee Anae leads inexperienced Utes defensive line
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) - When you lose three dominant players like Kylie Fitts, Filipo Mokofisi and Lowell Lotulelei to graduation, you might expect the Utes defensive line to regress this year. But Bradlee Anae doesn't want to hear it.
"It's to be expected," Anae said. "Older guys leave and it's just a big question mark. But, for me, it's not a question mark. It's more of an exclamation mark."
Anae is coming off a breakout season in which he led the team with seven sacks, and he's expected to lead the way for a talented, yet inexperienced group.
"I show more by example more than by words," said Anae, whose uncle Robert is the former offensive coordinator at BYU. "So, I'm still young right now, 19. I remember playing behind Hunter Dimick and he was the same way. He led by example more than he talked. He barely talked."
While Anae does his talking on the field, no matter who plays beside him, there is a certain expectation the Utah defensive line has to live up to.
"That's definitely true," he said. "There are a lot of expectations along the D-line. But everyday we don't focus on that. We focus on what we can get better. All of us, we're a pretty young group. But as far as running around and having that juice, we've got that this year and hopefully we'll do some good things with that."
The Utes appear to be loaded with talent again, as unproven as it may be. With guys like Leki Fotu, Paul Maile, John Penisini, Maxs Tupai among others, Kyle Whittingham is hoping to find a rotation of eight or nine guys by week one.
"We have no problem at all," Whittingham said about the defensive line. "We probably have five or six defensive tackles that will be in the rotation, and at least four defensive ends."
The Utes open the season August 30th at home against Weber State.