Big East: Positions of strength

August, 12, 2011
8/12/11
1:00
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It is pretty clear the Big East has two positions of strength headed into the season: quarterback and defensive line.

Of the eight teams in the league, six are returning starting quarterbacks. As for defensive line, 20 of 30 starters return as well. Among the best of the best:

Quarterback

[+] EnlargeZach Collaros
Cary Edmondson/US PresswireCincinnati's Zach Collaros heads an impressive list of Big East quarterbacks.
Zach Collaros, Cincinnati.First-team All-Big East selection in 2010, Collaros went 225-of-383 for 2,902 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Geno Smith, West Virginia. Smith was the second-team All-Big East selection in 2010 after going 241-of-372 for 2,763 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Defensive linemen

Bruce Irvin, West Virginia. Irvin ranked second in the nation in sacks with 14 -- as a part-time player. He now takes over as a full-time starter with eyes on increasing that sack total.

Chandler Jones, Syracuse. A second-team All-Big East selection, Jones had four sacks and 57 tackles last season and should be a leader on defense this season.

Brandon Lindsey, Pitt. One of two players in the league to record double-digit sacks last season with 10, Lindsey made the All-Big East second team.

Julian Miller, West Virginia. Teaming with Irvin gives the Mountaineers a terrific duo. Miller had eight sacks last season.

Kendall Reyes, UConn. A first-team All-Big East selection in 2010, Reyes is a force inside and had 10 tackles for loss and two interceptions last season.

Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati. Wolfe is underrated for the Bearcats, but a nice presence inside, having nine combined sacks in the last two years and 25 starts.

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