Training Camp Preview: The defensive tackles

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Today, continues its in-depth, position-by-position look at the 2006 Boilermaker football team heading into training camp. The Boilers are scheduled to report to campus for preseason practice on Aug. 6.
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Normally losing your starting two defensive tackles might be cause for a great deal of off-season consternation. That, however, wasn't so for the Boilermakers' coaching staff, which will turn to a young but talented group to take over in 2006.
Key Players
Alex Magee: Magee became the rare D-tackle during the Joe Tiller Era to see the field on Saturdays in his true freshman year. That experience will be crucial now that he slides into a starting role. A great athlete with a big frame, Magee could also see a few snaps at end.
Ryan Baker: Yes, it's true: Baker has a non-stop motor, a phrase Boilermakers coaches use ad nauseam to describe the hard-nosed sophomore. A workaholic, Baker, who also moves into a starting role, could also quickly develop into one of Purdue's top on-field leaders.
Mike Neal: After some initial reservations, Neal adapted to his new position — he had played end during high school — with ease during his redshirt freshman year. Like the rest of Purdue's young tackles, he could still stand to pack on a few more pounds.
Jared Zwilling: After a standout year on the Boilermaker scout team while redshirting, Zwilling has quickly ascended up the depth chart. Though he's not likely to challenge for a starting spot, he'll definitely figure into the rotation.
Jermaine Guynn: In his short time in West Lafayette, Guynn has gone from a walk-on to a valuable backup. However, injuries slowed his progress significantly last season. Although he's a little undersized, Guynn can be counted on to fight to the best of his ability on every down.
Best Competition: How exactly do you effectively rotate five quality defensive tackles? It's a good problem to have, much better than two seasons ago when Brandon Villarreal and Brent Grover were forced to play virtually every snap. Because of their experience — it's limited, but still more than the others — Magee and Baker are probably fairly well entrenched as starters. Still, it's probably not a foregone conclusion either.
Lowdown: Tiller and staff haven't worried much about the D-tackles and with good reason. Though extremely young — they have only a combined four starts — there's little reason to think this group can't succeed. Still with tremendous upside, the best has yet to come.
The Roster Rundown
• Ryan Baker — 6-5, 282, So.
• Jermaine Guynn — 6-1, 277, So.
• Alex Magee — 6-5, 275, So.
• Mike Neal — 6-4, 270, R-Fr.
• Kyle Sheehan — 6-3, 251, Fr.
• Jared Zwilling — 6-4, 281, R-Fr.
Past Position Previews:
The defensive ends
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