I think it's fair to say that most people associate the defensive end position with rushing the quarterback. In Mike Breske's 3-4, however, the defensive end's primary responsibility is to set the edge -- i.e. get up field and contain -- and turn the runner back into a plethora of swarming linebackers.
That's why your current starting defensive end, Matthew Bock (6-foot-2, 270 pounds) looks more like a smallish defensive tackle than the long, lithe guys you typically envision at that position. It's not a hard and fast rule -- Logan Mayes, all 245 pounds of him, also is now a defensive end -- but it's important on early downs to have an end who can hold his own at the point of attack.
In that respect, Bock's probably never going to wow you. But he doesn't have to in order to do his job.
Let's get to know Matthew Bock.
Bock's WSU Career
Bock came to WSU as a walk-on and didn't see the field at all in his first two seasons. His sophomore year started with some special teams appearances, but by the end of the year, Bock had played his way into sporadic appearances in the defensive line rotation.
Lacking the speed to be a traditional 4-3 defensive end, the switch to a 3-4 probably was one of the best things to happen to Bock, who continued to add weight. Somewhere along the line, Bock earned a scholarship (we think - it's unclear) and caught the eye of the current coaching staff.
In the most extensive action of his career, Bock racked up career highs in every category, making five starts. His best stretch against Oregon State, Cal and Stanford. He made five tackles -- three of them solo, not always easy for a defensive lineman -- including a tackle for loss against the Beavers, and also had four tackles and half a sack against the Cardinal. He played a key part in what were probably two of the three best defensive performances of the year for WSU.
It was a solid year.
What to expect in 2013
Bock will rarely be described as anything more than solid, and while we all hope the defensive line features guys better than "solid" in the future, there's something to be said for Bock's dependability. I would expect him to play about the same amount he played in 2012, sharing time with Mayes and coming off the field on passing downs.
Junior college transfer Lyman Faoliu could push Bock for time, as he's a guy who is supposed to be big enough to set the edge yet still agile enough to rush the passer. Faoliu appears raw, however, so don't expect him to supplant Bock until midseason, if at all. And if Faoliu does, that's probably a good thing, because it would mean WSU is doing better than "solid."
It does not appear Bock has a Twitter account.