August 29, 2007

Rhodes ready to step up on the D-line

It's always tough to see guys leave, but on the college level every season every team will see key players graduate, head to the NFL, or just go a different direction.

Following the 2006 season the Bears saw the departure of four senior defensive tackles, but there are some positive feelings about the Bears defensive front thanks in large part to the return of junior Vinny Rhodes.

"Vinny has the most experience of the entire group and he's played as a redshirt freshman and saw time the last three years," said defensive line coach Don Wnek. "Of all the guys I've probably been around him the most, and I've seen steady increase in his game. I'm talking about run defense, pass defense, and just his whole attitude. He's real football player. He's a dedicated guy. He's serious in everything he does."

Rhodes was named scout team defensive MVP in 2004, recorded 16 tackles as a redshirt freshman in 2005, and saw his production increase to 35 tackles, two sacks, and five TFLs in 2006.

In 2007 Rhodes is expected to take on a bigger role as a full time starter, and he has been working hard in the offseason to prepare.

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