OXFORD, Ohio - With Jason Semmes and Luke Kelly graduating this spring, redshirt junior Wes Williams looks to be Miami University football's main pass rusher this upcoming season.
Williams, who finished tied for third on the team in tackles with 65 and tied for second in sacks with 2.5 last year, has used the off-season to improve his speed and agility.
"He's doing really good things (in our weight and conditioning program)," MU defensive ends coach Nick Siatras said about the 6-foot-3, 242-pound native of Houston, Texas. "Wes has always been a very good athlete, but he's just getting a lot quicker. He's doing all of his drill work with the skill players."
Tim Johnson, Bryson Albright and J'Terius Brown will also be in the mix at the defensive end position.
"They are competing," Siatras said. "That's the one thing I like about this group.They're not sitting in the back seat. They're all very close friends, so they don't have a problem pushing each other, getting on each other and holding each other accountable."
Albright, a true freshman last year, tallied 19 tackles and a sack in 2012. The Cincinnati native and St. Xavier High School graduate received the most playing timeout of the three competing for a starting job.
"He's a very smart player," Siatras said. "He dissects everything and he knows what's coming. For him right now, it's transferring that knowledge and being able to react fast like a starter could."
Albright, at 6-foot-5 and 215-pounds, still needs to put on weight and continue to get stronger, but Siatras doesn't think he'll have a problem doing that.
"Bryson's brother (Alex Albright), who is a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, was a defensive end type guy in college," the coach said. "Bryson is the spitting image of him when he went to Boston College. You look at Bryson's frame and he's starting to fill that frame out and add weight."
Brown, who red-shirted last fall, didn't see the field in 2012, but he did gain valuable practice experience.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pound native of Milledgeville, Ga. was a two-time captain at Miller Grove High School where he recorded 13 sacks during his senior season. He was clocked at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
"J'Terius is making big-time strides in the off season," Siatras said. "He's a smart kid and he grasps the defense, so we definitely look at him as someone who can make an impact this year."
Johnson, a soon-to-be junior, also lacks playing time, as he spent most of last season backing up Semmes. But the New Orleans native has all the tools to be a full-time starter.
"He's athletic and he's a good football player," Siatras said about Johnson, who is 6-foot-2 and 223-pounds. "He just has to continue to get better and when the opportunity arises, he's got to be able to go get it."
Johnson runs well and is very versatile. He can play with his hand down or be a stand-up outside rusher.
Additionally, junior Jalen Johnson and upcoming sophomore Jimmy Rousher, last season's Defensive Warrior of the Year, will get a look at defensive end.
Johnson, who previously played tight end, and Rousher are projected to be inside players on the defensive line, but could move to the outside on occasion, Siatras said.
The RedHawks will take the field for spring practice March 25 through April 26.
The 2013 regular season begins Saturday, Aug. 31 at Marshall. Click here for the complete schedule.