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BYU: BROCK, HALL LEAD GROUP THAT COULD WIND UP BEING ONE OF BYU’S BEST.

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It wasn't long ago BYU finished at or near the top of the WAC in defensive statistics every year.

Not anymore. Last season the Cougars were last in the defenseless WAC and the third worst team in the nation at stopping opponents.The rebuilding process has begun, as defense was emphasized in recruiting and spring drills. The Cougars should be improved defensively in '94 (they couldn't be any worse), but how much better is open for discussion.

BYU's linemen were the most consistent part of the defense last season and three of the four starters return. Tackle Lenny Gomes has graduated, but ends Travis Hall (6-6, 270 pounds) and Randy Brock (6-6, 250), both honorable mention all-WAC selections, are back.

"Travis Hall and Randy Brock worked hard during the summer to become stronger and more physical, but they haven't lost any of their speed," BYU defensive line coach Tom Ramage said.

Hall led the team a year ago in defensive points. He had 43 tackles, five hurrys and three sacks. Brock had 30 tackles, 11 hurries and four sacks. Backing up the end positions will be senior Brian Hughes (6-3, 240) and junior Matt Redden (6-4, 260).

Tackle Greg Pitts (6-5, 280), a three-year starter, is in a fight to keep his job against all-American junior college transfer John Raas (6-0, 285) from Ricks. Pitts recorded 22 tackles, two sacks and five hurries last season. The other tackle job will split between junior transfer Mike Ulufale (6-5, 275) and senior letterman Duaine Williams (6-5, 255).

"Right now we plan to alternate four tackles," Ramage said. "All of them are quick and physical and they should be able to cave in the pocket and get to the quarterback."

Ramage, who has coached at BYU for 21 years, feels this defensive line will get the job done.

"This group has the potential to be one of the best we've had here in a long time," Ramage said. "They are good players individually, but they compliment each other and work well together as a unit making them even better."

The line will likely be the strength of the Cougar defense again this season and should be above average for the WAC.