Playing on a defensive line in ultimate can be tough. That’s what I do, a lot. I've heard our coach Bryce Merrill tell our D-line on a couple occasions that we will fail at our job almost 90% of the time. It can be hard to have a job like that; but I love it!
If you think about the game of ultimate you expect big plays from your offense. I know players like Jason McKeen, Spencer Hodson, Seokhee Burningham and Dakota Flanary will go out and dominate every opportunity they get. That being said, as the D-line we are the difference makers. We are the difference between a close game and a blowout win.
The difference between last year’s D-Line and this year’s is night and day. Last year we were more of a highlight defense, with lots of hand blocks, huge layouts and foot blocks. We lost a lot of returning players from our D-line this year and honestly I was nervous. We have been forced to rely on, and trust one another in getting our jobs done. Being assigned in the cup this year, I am generally guarding the opposing player with the disc. This has forced me to trust my teammates more than my position required last year. Being in my position now, I don't know what is going on downfield, but I know Devon Terry and Nolan Hutchings are back there. Nothing is getting past them without a fight. I know Austin Alpeter is right behind me and there is no throw going through him uncontested. That trust is powerful!
The group of guys we have this year are honestly just a bunch of athletic freaks! I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in there. Most teams with this advantage has everyone wanting to be “the guy to make the play”. In our case we don't care who that guy is, we want to be part of the team effort.
For those who play on their team’s D-line, don't try and do too much. If you're doing a zone, guard your zone; if you play man-defense simply stay with the force and sprint hard for every point. No defense is made to stop every look.
Run hard, enjoy the game, and remember; you're expected to fail 90% of the time anyway so don't get down on yourself.