Jump to content

Position Preview - Defensive Line


Recommended Posts

Readjusting the outlook after the spring game. The coaches say we’ll have a “multiple” defense, but what I saw in the 2nd half of the spring game was a base defense with 4 linemen. 

 

Against 11 personnel sets (3 WR), it looked like we went with 2 LBs and a “Nickel.” Sometimes the defensive ends were players listed as outside linebackers and were in a 2 point stance (standing). Other times it looked like we had one true defensive end in a 3 point stance and a stand up outside linebacker at the other end.

 

Bumping true defensive ends inside to a defensive tackle spot should help with pass rush. The concern is when one of our outside linebackers are slotted in the defensive end spot and get caught against the run. Keeping edge contain in that scenario might be a problem for our lighter weighing outside linebackers. 
 

The staff did a great job landing some talented veterans out of the transfer portal that should provide immediate help. Where high quality defensive line depth was an issue in 2021, it should not be as much of an issue in 2022.

 

 

 

Bennett Adler - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - Defensive end with a strong motor. He is active and is at his best when coming downhill and rushing the passer. Adler could bulk up and be as effective against the run as he is rushing the passer. HS FILM

 

Curtis Fann - (Redshirt Sophomore, Returning) - 3 ️ - Former transfer from Florida State. Good athlete that should be strong at defensive end. His technique needs work, but he is physically gifted. Fann possesses long arms to help shed defenders, has the agility to drop into space, and the speed to come off the edge as a pass rusher. With effort and the right coaching, Fann has the capacity to develop into an All-MAC player. Although, when Fann was bumped inside during the spring game he looked disinterested. Hopefully, we see more effort from him during the season. HS FILM

 

Logan Hawkins - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - 2 ️ - Stout and strong defensive tackle. He is a space eater and someone that should be placed at nose tackle to take up blocks and get push into the back field. He’s not going to be a stat stuffer, but could clog running lanes and assist in keeping offensive linemen off the linebackers. HS FILM

 

Angelo Howze - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - NR - Former walk-on transfer from Cincinnati. Active defensive end that shows good pursuit. He has some agility, but doesn’t run particularly well. Howze should provide depth. HS FILM

 

Ryan Johnson - (Junior, Returning) - NR - Former JUCO transfer who played DE in a 3-4 defense and has ideal size. He is strong, active, and agile. Johnson should push for starting minutes at defensive end as he has the ability to develop into a full time starter by the time he graduates. JUCO FILM

 

Quevan Lawson - (Redshirt Sophomore, Returning) - 3 ️ - Has Power 5 measurables in the terms of height, length, and athleticism. The arm length and agility he possesses can’t be taught. Lawson has added more mass to his frame and now physically looks the part of a starting defensive end. Will he start living up to his potential in the 2022 season? HS FILM

 

Zach Morton - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - 3 ️ - Former transfer from Syracuse who is a solid athlete with height and length. He runs well, has some pass rush ability, and the frame to add more mass. Morton’s best fit in this defense is at defensive end, but he could he bumped inside for pass rush. HS FILM

 

Andre Proffitt - (Sophomore, Returning) - 2 ️ - Defensive tackle with size. He runs well and has some agility. He’ll need to get stronger before becoming a consistent contributor. HS FILM

 

Nazir Sy - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - 2 ️ - Former JUCO transfer. Sy is a stout and agile defensive tackle, but will need to fine tune his body to provide more quality minutes at nose tackle. JUCO FILM

 

Bryce Wilson - (Junior, Returning) - 2 ️ - Good athlete that runs well. He’s strong, agile, has long arms to take up blocks and also shed them. Wilson has the ability to play both defensive tackle and defensive end. He should compete for starting minutes, but will have plenty of competition from the new transfers. HS FILM

 

Devon Robinson - (Redshirt Junior, New) - 3 ️ - Transfer from Memphis, where he did not play. Robinson was originally a scholarship player at Mississippi State who then walked on at Memphis. This is the definition of a boom or bust opportunity. It’s worth the staff taking a chance on Robinson as he possess immense talent and could be an all MAC defensive lineman if he lives up to his potential. HS FILM

 

Victor Jones - (Redshirt Senior, New) - 3 ️ - Senior transfer from Wyoming. Jones played defensive end and defensive tackle during his time at Wyoming. He was a productive backup who will bring experience and provide immediate defensive line depth. After the spring, Jones is pushing for a starting role. HS FILM

 

Curtis Harper - (Redshirt Senior, New) - 2 ️ - Senior transfer from Syracuse. Harper was a productive backup at Syracuse and is now pushing for a starting role at Akron. He’s strong, agile, and should cause problems for interior OL in the MAC. He’s a defensive tackle that could also play defensive end in short yardage situations. HS FILM

 

Kiawan Murphy - (Freshman, New) - 2 ️ - Stout and wide bodied nose tackle, similar in build to transfer Curtis Harper. Murphy has been well coached at the high school level and gets out of his stance quickly. He usually overpowered OL at the high school level, but also flashed plenty of agility. HS FILM
 

Ravontae Holt - (Redshirt Senior, New) - 2 ️ - Senior transfer from Wyoming and is the second defensive lineman to transfer in from Wyoming. Holt was a talented and underrated defensive lineman coming out of high school. He was quick, powerful, and ran well. During his time at Wyoming he tore his ACL twice in one knee and once in his other knee. If Holt’s body can hold up, he’ll provide valuable minutes on the interior of the defensive line. Holt did not participate in spring practice as he will arrive at a later date. HS FILM

 

Kyle Thomas - (Redshirt Junior, New) - 2 ️ - JUCO transfer. Thomas should see playing time this year and may even push for starting minutes. He’s agile and uses his hands well. Thomas is a defensive tackle who could be slotted as a 1 or 3 technique. JUCO FILM


 

 

I’m excited about this group and looking forward to seeing them perform. The media may be sleeping on this defensive line, but I’m not. It’s a versatile group who should provide an adequate pass rush and a massive leap in run defense over last year.

 

 

 

Best guess as to who is on scholarship:

Murphy

Harper

Jones

Robinson

Fann

Adler

Proffitt 

Sy

Lawson

Wilson

Hawkins

Johnson

Holt

Thomas

 

 

 

Added:

Ravontae Holt

Kyle Thomas

 

Removed:

Janirr Wade

David Hooks

 

 

Edited by catdaddyp
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kiwan Murphy looks awesome. Is there any way a true freshman could start on the DL?  That'd be pretty remarkable.

 

What are the physical prototypes looked for in D-linemen when running a 3-4 scheme?  I'm more used to the 4-3, where you typically have 2 beefy DT's and 2 leaner, more athletic DE's.  With 3 DL's, are there two typical DT's and 1 typical DE who switches sides depending on the offensive alignment?  

 

(I'm going to ask a similar question when we get to the 4 linebackers.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Blue & Gold said:

Kiwan Murphy looks awesome. Is there any way a true freshman could start on the DL?  That'd be pretty remarkable.

 

What are the physical prototypes looked for in D-linemen when running a 3-4 scheme?  I'm more used to the 4-3, where you typically have 2 beefy DT's and 2 leaner, more athletic DE's.  With 3 DL's, are there two typical DT's and 1 typical DE who switches sides depending on the offensive alignment?  

 

(I'm going to ask a similar question when we get to the 4 linebackers.)

The further away from the football, the higher the chances of a freshman starting. Meaning it’s more likely for a freshman to make a bigger impact at safety or cornerback than it is at defensive end or defensive tackle. However, there are plenty of examples of it happening, but it’s usually due to a high need at that position or the player just being that much more gifted than the current players on the roster. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murphy get some playing time in the back half of the season, but it’ll be tough in the front half - especially with this year’s depth.

 

As far as the 3-4 goes, the best way to think of the 3 down linemen is as space eaters. In a perfect world, they would hold their ground, swallow up the double teams, and allow the linebackers to run free. In today’s game, the schemes have gotten more complicated and offenses have become so good at getting to the second level (think about all the inside and outside zones you see now vs 20 years ago). So when a defensive lineman has the chance to make the play, he’d better do it, otherwise the chances are high that an offensive lineman has already moved up to the linebacker.


The DEs are usually in the 6’3-6’6 250-300lbs range. The DTs are usually in the 6’0 - 6’3 265-315lbs range. Those are just general numbers as some players are more productive at different weights due to their body types. Our roster may not exactly fit those ranges right now as the staff will continue to recruit more to the scheme we are playing.

 

Depending on down and distance we could see a combination of any of the linemen. Could be up to 3 DTs on the field in short yardage, 3 DEs for pass rush, or 1 DT and 1 DE when we go nickel. The 3-4 is popular due to all the combinations and pass rushing angles that can be created.

 


 


 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, catdaddyp said:

The further away from the football, the higher the chances of a freshman starting. Meaning it’s more likely for a freshman to make a bigger impact at safety or cornerback than it is at defensive end or defensive tackle. However, there are plenty of examples of it happening, but it’s usually due to a high need at that position or the player just being that much more gifted than the current players on the roster. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murphy get some playing time in the back half of the season, but it’ll be tough in the front half - especially with this year’s depth.

 

As far as the 3-4 goes, the best way to think of the 3 down linemen is as space eaters. In a perfect world, they would hold their ground, swallow up the double teams, and allow the linebackers to run free. In today’s game, the schemes have gotten more complicated and offenses have become so good at getting to the second level (think about all the inside and outside zones you see now vs 20 years ago). So when a defensive lineman has the chance to make the play, he’d better do it, otherwise the chances are high that an offensive lineman has already moved up to the linebacker.


The DEs are usually in the 6’3-6’6 250-300lbs range. The DTs are usually in the 6’0 - 6’3 265-315lbs range. Those are just general numbers as some players are more productive at different weights due to their body types. Our roster may not exactly fit those ranges right now as the staff will continue to recruit more to the scheme we are playing.

 

Depending on down and distance we could see a combination of any of the linemen. Could be up to 3 DTs on the field in short yardage, 3 DEs for pass rush, or 1 DT and 1 DE when we go nickel. The 3-4 is popular due to all the combinations and pass rushing angles that can be created.

 


 


 

 

Thanks.  Very insightful.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great write up as always. I wonder if we will run a 3-4, 4-3, or if its situational. Remember Nick Toth was the DC, something happened there, then Tibesar was brought in to replace. I'd think Moorhead would want to replace Toth with someone who is planning to run a similar scheme, but I haven't dug into it really.

 

My general thoughts on both the DL and OL: Not really super high on personnel across the board, but for the first time in a long time, we have both depth and experience on both sides. I'd think we can find some lineups that will stick and be formidable.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Catdaddyp, I love the position analysis you are providing. They are first class and addictive for any Zip junky. FWIW I'd like to offer one suggestion. Can you include the player's year and if he is returning or a transfer. There is such needed and welcomed change to our roster I am unsure of which players are new (high school and transfers) and which are holdovers from previous years. Just a thought. Thanks for joining the board. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are going to have some real depth at DL then. We still have the likes of Fann, Wilson, Johnson, McClain, Morton, and Szy backing them up (assuming they don’t transfer)..all of whom have plenty of experience. I guess 4 new starters means we should raise our expectations of this unit. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, LZIp said:

We are going to have some real depth at DL then. We still have the likes of Fann, Wilson, Johnson, McClain, Morton, and Szy backing them up (assuming they don’t transfer)..all of whom have plenty of experience. I guess 4 new starters means we should raise our expectations of this unit. 

Perhaps I'm cynical, but I don't expect much out of the holdovers on DLine from last year. Joe is going to expect a whole lot more than they are accustomed. I hope they make the transition. If not the portal can be their friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, 72 Roo said:

Perhaps I'm cynical, but I don't expect much out of the holdovers on DLine from last year. Joe is going to expect a whole lot more than they are accustomed. I hope they make the transition. If not the portal can be their friend.

Devon Robinson looks like something we haven’t seen next to the rest of the DL, hope he plays as good as he looks

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, 94zipgrad said:

Devon Robinson looks like something we haven’t seen next to the rest of the DL, hope he plays as good as he looks

Agreed. Makes you wonder why he wasn’t able to catch on elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, Blue & Gold said:

Some brutally honest quotes from DL coach Winston DeLattibourdere about how deficiently coached he thought our DL was last season.

There have been multiple comments from this staff implying that the previous coaching staff did a poor job or had the players inefficiently conditioned. Can’t really argue that if solely going off the team stats or overall record, but not everything done by the previous staff was poor. I hope this staff - and I think they will - backs up this talk with excellent play in the field.

 

I was going to adjust my thoughts accordingly on a 4 man front scheme, but this is the second article I’ve seen mention a “multiple” front, so I guess I’ll wait and see. Sounds like they still don’t know for sure and are letting what the players do best dictate what will be ran.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/4/2022 at 1:33 PM, catdaddyp said:

Readjusting the outlook after the spring game. The coaches say we’ll have a “multiple” defense, but what I saw in the 2nd half of the spring game was a base defense with 4 linemen. 

 

Against 11 personnel sets (3 WR), it looked like we went with 2 LBs and a “Nickel.” Sometimes the defensive ends were players listed as outside linebackers and were in a 2 point stance (standing). Other times it looked like we had one true defensive end in a 3 point stance and a stand up outside linebacker at the other end.

 

Bumping true defensive ends inside to a defensive tackle spot should help with pass rush. The concern is when one of our outside linebackers are slotted in the defensive end spot and get caught against the run. Keeping edge contain in that scenario might be a problem for our lighter weighing outside linebackers. 
 

The staff did a great job landing some talented veterans out of the transfer portal that should provide immediate help. Where high quality defensive line depth was an issue in 2021, it should not be as much of an issue in 2022.

 

 

 

Bennett Adler - (Sophomore, Returning) - Defensive end with a strong motor. He is active and is at his best when coming downhill and rushing the passer. Adler could bulk up and be effective against the run.

 

Curtis Fann - (Redshirt Sophomore, Returning) - Good athlete that should be strong at defensive end. His technique needs work, but he is physically gifted. Fann possesses long arms to help shed defenders, has the agility and mobility to drop into space, and the speed to come off the edge as a pass rusher. With effort and the right coaching, Fann has the capacity to develop into an All-MAC player. Although, when Fann was bumped inside during the spring game he looked disinterested. Hopefully, we see more effort from him during the season.

 

Logan Hawkins - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - Stout and strong defensive tackle. He is a space eater and someone that should be placed at nose tackle to take up blocks and get push into the back field. He’s not going to be a stat stuffer, but could clog running lanes and assist in keeping offensive linemen off the linebackers. 

 

Angelo Howze - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - Active defensive end that shows good pursuit. He has some agility, but isn’t fast and doesn’t run particularly well. Howze should provide depth.

 

Ryan Johnson - (Junior, Returning) - Defensive end with ideal size. He is strong, active, and agile. Johnson should push for starting minutes at defensive end as he has the ability to develop into a full time starter by the time he graduates.

 

Quevan Lawson - (Redshirt Sophomore, Returning) - Has Power 5 measurables in the terms of height, length, and athleticism. The arm length and agility he possesses can’t be taught. Lawson has added more mass to his frame and now physically looks the part of a starting defensive end. Will he start living up to his potential in the 2022 season?

 

Zach Morton - (Redshirt Senior, Returning) - Solid athlete with height and length. He runs well, has some pass rush ability, and the frame to add more mass. Morton’s best fit, in this defense, is at defensive end but he could he bumped inside for pass rush.

 

Andre Proffitt - (Sophomore, Returning) - Defensive tackle with size. He runs well and has some agility. He’ll need to get stronger before becoming a consistent contributor. 

 

Nazir Sy - (Redshirt Junior, Returning) - Stout and agile defensive tackle. He needs to fine tune his body to provide more quality minutes at nose tackle.

 

Janirr Wade - (Sophomore, Returning) - Defensive tackle with good size. He’s agile and sheds blocks well, but he’s a labored runner. He should provide depth at nose tackle.

 

Bryce Wilson - (Junior, Returning) - Good athlete that runs well. He’s strong, agile, and has long arms to take up blocks and also shed them. Wilson has the ability to play both defensive tackle and defensive end. He should be a starter along the defensive line, but will have competition from the new transfers.

 

Devon Robinson - (Redshirt Junior, New) - Transfer from Memphis, where he did not play. Robinson was originally a scholarship player at Mississippi State who then walked on at Memphis. This is the definition of a boom or bust opportunity. It’s worth the staff taking a chance on Robinson as he possess immense talent and could be an all MAC defensive lineman if he lives up to his potential.

 

Victor Jones - (Redshirt Senior, New) - Senior transfer from Wyoming. Jones played defensive end and defensive tackle during his time at Wyoming. He was a productive backup who will bring experience and provide immediate defensive line depth. After the spring, Jones is pushing for a starting role.

 

Curtis Harper - (Redshirt Senior, New) - Senior transfer from Syracuse. Harper was a productive backup at Syracuse, who is now pushing for a starting role. He’s strong, agile, and should cause problems for interior OL in the MAC. He’s a defensive tackle that could also play defensive end in short yardage situations.

 

Kiawan Murphy - (Freshman, New) - Stout and wide bodied nose tackle, similar in build to transfer Curtis Harper. Murphy has been well coached at the high school level and gets out of his stance quickly. He usually overpowered OL at the high school level, but also flashed plenty of agility. 

 

 

 

Best guess as to who is on scholarship:

Murphy

Harper

Jones

Robinson

Fann

Adler

Proffitt 

Wade

Sy

Lawson

Wilson

Hawkins

Johnson

 

 

 

Edit:

Removed David Hooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bump for post Spring update.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...