The Importance of a DL

Mack

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,361
I am going to start this thread with an "I told you so" and it will be directed at those members of another board who called me crazy two years ago for suggesting that TECH was very talented in the back 7 on defense. Some of you, in this audience, participate over there and may possibly remember. During the 2012 season, when things were in disarray on defense, I made the statement during one of my weekly film reviews that we had 5 future NFL players in the LB and DB ranks and that our problems were not due to a lack of ability in the back end. Well, of course, considering the recent results, people went crazy and told me it was all about a lack of talent and poor recruiting and that I had no idea what I was talking about. According to them, we had stolen all our recruits from East TN ST or Western Kentucky and they can't cover or tackle nearly good enough to compete in big boy football etc etc etc. It was all about lack of talent.

By now, I think we can all see that, most likely we did indeed have those 5 NFL bound guys on the field. Sweeting is already playing, Attaochu and Thomas are pretty much sure things in terms of making a roster. On top of that, Watts, who was one of my 5, looks poised to make an NFL roster, most likely as a special teams specialist and back up LB. He is not enough of a punishing tackler to be considered a front runner for an NFL LB draft pick, but his kind of athleticism and open field ability, combined with size, makes him very attractive. Those pro day speed and agility numbers were pretty eye popping for a 230 pound guy. If you are an NFL team, who do you want, in terms of a prototype, covering your punts and kicks? Now you see what I am talking about. So far, that is 4 players. The 5th, in my mind, was Hunt-Days. He still has a lot to prove, but he has time to do it. We will see.

So, why were we so bad if the talent was there? Well, it is because the DL was in total disarray. You could have put the pro bowl DBs back there for us and they wouldn't have been able to cover as long as we needed them to. Plus, if your DLs can't control or stabilize a gap, how are LBs to do proper run fits? Our LBs were always leaving their gaps, either because the gaps were so fluid they didn't really exist, or they knew DLs weren't going to make the plays and needed help. They felt the pressure to do too much. In order to try and get pressure, we would send a bunch and ask the DBs to back off in loose zone, making them look like they couldn't cover.

You may ask, why am I taking the time to write this? Well, I do so, not to pound my own chest and say "I told you so" (well maybe a little), but because I fear we are going to find ourselves in a similar position this year. If you want something to worry about in the off season, make it the development of a DL. Once again, I find myself feeling good about the back 7, but wondering about us up front. We have a slew of pretty capable guys roaming the second level. What are they going to be asked to do and how much? I feel sure that CTR will eliminate confusion (like CAG couldn't) as a part of the problem and that he will have the kids in a scheme that plays to their strengths (rather than his - once again CAG). BUT, without some major growth along the DL, he will only be able to scheme so much to mitigate the foundational problem.
This is what I am most eager to find out as spring and summer camps unfold. In my mind, it is the biggest question about our team BY FAR. More so than QB, BB, OL or any other. Hopefully, we will have a very positive development in the near term.
What is so tragic to me is every good to great defense has a stout defensive line...The Steel Curtin,Purple People Eaters,Orange Crush etc of course are pro teams but they controlled the run and put pressure on the passer.Bama and LSU are two teams that come to mind that every year have stout lineman and guys that are strong and wide so they are hard to move...No matter who coaches the defense and this is not a knock of Ted Roof,who has done well,until we can stop the run and use only four rushers we will always be in deep kemchi.DBs cant cover tight mainly due to lack of rush.If we had better rush qb has to throw early rather than pick out his receivers like they do now.Give me a pass rush and we will be better.
 

chrsw003

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
376
I feel like all of our best/more potential d ends are all at the same d-end spot. Why dont they move one to sde like Jabari? Than you can have him and hopefully Whitehead on the field together. Get the best players out on the field.
 

AE 87

Helluva Engineer
Messages
12,979
I feel like all of our best/more potential d ends are all at the same d-end spot. Why dont they move one to sde like Jabari? Than you can have him and hopefully Whitehead on the field together. Get the best players out on the field.

SDE and WDE are two really different positions in our D.
 

PowderSpringsJacket88

Helluva Engineer
Retired Staff
Messages
1,034
Location
West Cobb
I wish I could agree about DT. Hopefully you are right. If Gotsis makes as big a jump from '13 to '14 as he did from '12 to '13, then we probably have something with him. However, I feel like he is being forced to play out of position because of a lack of depth at nose. I like Green in a lot of situations, especially short yardage, but as an every down player, especially in nickel type down and distance, I'm not so sure he gives us what we need. So far, I'm am not as high on Gamble as a lot of people are, but I am definitely a supporter and want to see him grow. Kitchen is a solid number 2. To me, it is going to come down to Kallon and the Commish. What will we have in these two? At this point I really have no idea. I just know that their growth and impact will be exceedingly important to our success as a unit. You build successful defenses from the inside out and from the front to the back. If those two guys in the middle are dominant players, everybody else will look like a pro. At this point, expecting dominance isn't very realistic.

I feel good about Gotis with Gamble backing him up. I feel good about Whitehead, Jabari,T. Henry, or Simmons working out at WDE. Green and Kitchens should be serviceable with Commissiong being a quality back up.

I still don't love that three man rotation of Green,Kitchen, and Commission but I don't hate it.

The SDE is a real worry for me.

Stargel is solid but I just can't see him holding down the position all year long. His back ups have not made any impact really and two are seniors. I do appreciate Menocal and Kyle Travis with the commitment to our program. However, they simply haven't been good enough. I wish that the light comes on their last year but I have no confidence in that happening really...Chungong is under sized and has been hurt so that has been working against him. I can't see him starting either.

There is one guy who could give the SDE a shot in the arm immediately and that is Tyler Merriweather. He is in my top 5 favorite recruits from this class and is physically ready to play. He is huge and quick and strong. If none of these 3 can help out Stargel then someone will have to move over from the inside in running situations.

Also, expect Roof to use a WDE in pass situations to play the SDE.
 

PowderSpringsJacket88

Helluva Engineer
Retired Staff
Messages
1,034
Location
West Cobb
I am going to start this thread with an "I told you so" and it will be directed at those members of another board who called me crazy two years ago for suggesting that TECH was very talented in the back 7 on defense. Some of you, in this audience, participate over there and may possibly remember. During the 2012 season, when things were in disarray on defense, I made the statement during one of my weekly film reviews that we had 5 future NFL players in the LB and DB ranks and that our problems were not due to a lack of ability in the back end. Well, of course, considering the recent results, people went crazy and told me it was all about a lack of talent and poor recruiting and that I had no idea what I was talking about. According to them, we had stolen all our recruits from East TN ST or Western Kentucky and they can't cover or tackle nearly good enough to compete in big boy football etc etc etc. It was all about lack of talent.

By now, I think we can all see that, most likely we did indeed have those 5 NFL bound guys on the field. Sweeting is already playing, Attaochu and Thomas are pretty much sure things in terms of making a roster. On top of that, Watts, who was one of my 5, looks poised to make an NFL roster, most likely as a special teams specialist and back up LB. He is not enough of a punishing tackler to be considered a front runner for an NFL LB draft pick, but his kind of athleticism and open field ability, combined with size, makes him very attractive. Those pro day speed and agility numbers were pretty eye popping for a 230 pound guy. If you are an NFL team, who do you want, in terms of a prototype, covering your punts and kicks? Now you see what I am talking about. So far, that is 4 players. The 5th, in my mind, was Hunt-Days. He still has a lot to prove, but he has time to do it. We will see.

So, why were we so bad if the talent was there? Well, it is because the DL was in total disarray. You could have put the pro bowl DBs back there for us and they wouldn't have been able to cover as long as we needed them to. Plus, if your DLs can't control or stabilize a gap, how are LBs to do proper run fits? Our LBs were always leaving their gaps, either because the gaps were so fluid they didn't really exist, or they knew DLs weren't going to make the plays and needed help. They felt the pressure to do too much. In order to try and get pressure, we would send a bunch and ask the DBs to back off in loose zone, making them look like they couldn't cover.

You may ask, why am I taking the time to write this? Well, I do so, not to pound my own chest and say "I told you so" (well maybe a little), but because I fear we are going to find ourselves in a similar position this year. If you want something to worry about in the off season, make it the development of a DL. Once again, I find myself feeling good about the back 7, but wondering about us up front. We have a slew of pretty capable guys roaming the second level. What are they going to be asked to do and how much? I feel sure that CTR will eliminate confusion (like CAG couldn't) as a part of the problem and that he will have the kids in a scheme that plays to their strengths (rather than his - once again CAG). BUT, without some major growth along the DL, he will only be able to scheme so much to mitigate the foundational problem.
This is what I am most eager to find out as spring and summer camps unfold. In my mind, it is the biggest question about our team BY FAR. More so than QB, BB, OL or any other. Hopefully, we will have a very positive development in the near term.


I agree that we have had a decent back 7 and they have been put in bad situations due to the DL issues. We never have a solid core of DL. I thought Cummings,Dieke,Gotis, and Jerry were a good solid 4 guys for GT but the depth was horrible last year. When they would get gassed then there was no one to relieve them. Even Jerry needs more breaks and will be more effective when he is getting them.

I think the most we can hope for is that the starting front 4 will be close to the same as last years with way more depth and guys that can rush the passer. That would be wonderful if that happened.

We can't seem to sign many big Nasty types at DT.
 

COJacket

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
794
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
I feel good about Gotis with Gamble backing him up. I feel good about Whitehead, Jabari,T. Henry, or Simmons working out at WDE. Green and Kitchens should be serviceable with Commissiong being a quality back up.

I still don't love that three man rotation of Green,Kitchen, and Commission but I don't hate it.

The SDE is a real worry for me.

Stargel is solid but I just can't see him holding down the position all year long. His back ups have not made any impact really and two are seniors. I do appreciate Menocal and Kyle Travis with the commitment to our program. However, they simply haven't been good enough. I wish that the light comes on their last year but I have no confidence in that happening really...Chungong is under sized and has been hurt so that has been working against him. I can't see him starting either.

There is one guy who could give the SDE a shot in the arm immediately and that is Tyler Merriweather. He is in my top 5 favorite recruits from this class and is physically ready to play. He is huge and quick and strong. If none of these 3 can help out Stargel then someone will have to move over from the inside in running situations.

Also, expect Roof to use a WDE in pass situations to play the SDE.



Are we hearing anything about Kallon yet? In shape, technique getting better, anything?
 

wingsrlevel

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
480
Whitehead coming in and being able to contribute will be a huge factor in whether or not our defense will even be remotely good enough to keep us in some games. I just don't think Kallon will be a factor at all until he learns to play lower. I'm hoping he picks it up this year. We need him too.
 

PowderSpringsJacket88

Helluva Engineer
Retired Staff
Messages
1,034
Location
West Cobb
Are we hearing anything about Kallon yet? In shape, technique getting better, anything?
Good question..He is in good shape and has put on muscle from what I have heard. The physical part seems to be there besides getting in game shape like everyone needs to be. Kid needs to play fast and hard the whole time. The staff expects him to contribute but it is up to him.

From what I have heard they are kinda like "you know enough and are physically ready" its time for him to put them together and step his game up. I hope he does because we need his depth there now.

I have heard very little on any guys individually yet but hopefully I can get some more soon.
 

COJacket

Ramblin' Wreck
Messages
794
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Good question..He is in good shape and has put on muscle from what I have heard. The physical part seems to be there besides getting in game shape like everyone needs to be. Kid needs to play fast and hard the whole time. The staff expects him to contribute but it is up to him.

From what I have heard they are kinda like "you know enough and are physically ready" its time for him to put them together and step his game up. I hope he does because we need his depth there now.

I have heard very little on any guys individually yet but hopefully I can get some more soon.

Thanks Jacket88. good to hear just a little bit. And you got that right. This whole board would be feeling better if we knew Kallon has come to play.
 

Eric

Retired Co-Founder
Staff member
Messages
12,734
The practice report for Kallon through the first week hasn't been glowing.
 

Eric

Retired Co-Founder
Staff member
Messages
12,734
This is somewhat disappointing. Without trying to overanalyse it, is it a light-bulb issue or a motivation/work ethic issue?

Both. Pelton has said a few times that Kallon needs to put it on himself to get better.
 
Top