Lamar’s defensive line shaping up

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BEAUMONT — Look at Lamar’s starting defensive line, and only one person on that three-man front played with the Cardinals last year.

Another guy already has posted 11 tackles for losses through six games.

“That’s the beauty of playing defensive line,” junior Larance Hale said. “Somebody’s going to come in and pick up the slack. There won’t be much drop-off.”

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The Cardinals’ D-line has found its chemistry midway through the season, but fourth-year position coach Carey Bailey is looking for a little more consistency out of each of his performers.

“It could be better,” the former Howard head coach said. “We’ve had guys make plays in spots. I’m still looking for more consistency. We have certain guys starting in certain packages, and we have other guys starting in other packages.”

Hale, a 6-foot-2 junior from Tatum, in northeast Texas, has become the anchor of the line since moving into the starting role for Manasseh Miles, a junior transfer who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Baylor in the second week of the season. Hale has three sacks on the season and 41 tackles overall (24 solo), including the 11 tackles for losses, to go along with two forced fumbles.

They’re pretty impressive numbers for the son of a former major-college quarterback. His father, Jamelle Holieway, was the quarterback of Oklahoma’s 1985 national championship team.

“My dad played offense, so I like offense, but I’ve always been defensive-minded,” Hale said. “I blocked extra heavy and I was just too aggressive to be on the offensive line. So, I mean, defense is my natural position.”

Hale starts along with two-time letterman Omar Tebo at nose tackle and junior transfer Larry Carroll at defensive end. Carroll is the only Cardinal D-lineman to start every game this season, but William Wowkanyn, who plays right behind him at right tackle, has been a visible playmaker in his own right. Along with 2.5 stops for losses and two quarterback hurries, Wowkanyn (whoa-CANNON) has also recovered two fumbles.

Wowkanyn’s road to Lamar began in his hometown of Brick, New Jersey, and led him to junior college in California, where he had nine sacks during his career. He said he’s playing at “90 percent” with plantar fasciitis, a bottom foot injury which he was diagnosed with during preseason camp.

“With the injury I was backed up on the depth chart coming out of JC,” Wowkanyn said, “but I feel like we have a great bunch of guys and we trust in coach Bailey’s system and [defensive coordinator Craig] McGallion. So, I just try to do the best I can. We seem to do well when we’re out there together.”

They’ll need the same synergy when Southland Conference power Central Arkansas comes to visit Lamar on Saturday night.

“What we try to do is just put them in positions where they’re able to do what they do best without a lot of thinking,” Bailey said. “Be able to line up, play and be productive. Larry is a very cerebral player, so he’ll be in a position where he won’t be a detriment, and we’re still trying to get some consistency from other guys.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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