After a less-than-stellar showing last season, the d-line looks to make some much needed improvements.

Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Senior Photographer

After a less-than-stellar showing last season, the d-line looks to make some much needed improvements.

September 13, 2017

After Struggles in 2016, Defensive Line Faces Major Test

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This is part of The Sun’s position-by-position preview of the 2017 Cornell football team. For a preview of each position, click here.

The men of the defensive line stand as the first line of defense for Cornell football. With so much inexperience, this position could prove to be one of the most important for the Red this upcoming season.

One of the returning starters is senior Seth Hope, who lead the defensive line in tackles last year. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman also had a pair of sacks on the season. A start in the team’s first game against Delaware will be his 21st consecutive time as a starter. Another returning starter is Geno DeMarco, who had 24 stops last season as a junior. Defensive coordinator Jared Backus will likely look to their experience to provide veteran leadership at the line of scrimmage.

Also starting on the line is Jordan Landsman. The sophomore will get his first chance to see varsity action this season and is projected to be an impact player right out of the gate. At 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, Landsman “plays mean and has that presence in the middle that alone will help our rush defense,” said head coach David Archer ’05.

Returning reserves Victor Olapinsin and Chase Wickenheiser will be back for their junior years this upcoming season. The pair combined for 37 tackles in 2016, and will bring in-game experience to the defensive line.

Gus Basanes started his Cornell career as a defensive linemen, flipped to an offensive linemen and returns to the defensive side of the ball as a senior. After a productive freshman season in which he tallied a sack in his first appearance, Mason Banbury missed his sophomore year due to an injury. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound lineman is healthy again and transitioned to defensive tackle for this upcoming season. Once the junior can figure out the nuances of the new position, Archer said “the production level from the inside is going to skyrocket.”

Overall, the defensive line has the potential to make “a significant jump from last year,” Archer said. And that improvement is something the program as a whole needs, according to the head coach.

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