Who Stood Out
#93 DE Mike Tuaua put on a clinic on how to speed rush. By my count, he was inches away from having 4.5 sacks on the night rather than the two that he tallied. Tuaua consistently beat the left tackle off the ball, extended his arm to keep distance, used violent hands to turn the corner, and finished the play with his speed. He played like his hair was on fire, and it showed in the stat line. Better left tackles won’t allow him to dominate with just his speed rush and I’ll be watching to see what other pass rush moves he brings to the table in the coming weeks. His technique in run defense isn’t quite up to his pass rush technique, as his instincts aren’t quite caught up to his speed, but when he puts it all together he’ll be even more dominant.
#97 DT Chris Bradley really jumped off the screen for me. He dominated his assignments most of the night and looked great. He can get up field in a hurry and from the 1 and 3-technique he dominated Samford’s offensive line. He consistently knifed into and destroyed running plays. On one pass rush he brought down both the left guard and the center—by himself—and he had consistent pressure up the middle all night long. Both of the tackles ahead of him had good plays, but Bradley really impressed me with his speed, power and technique.
#94 DE Josh Carraway can run really well to the sideline and he does a great job keeping contain in the run game. He didn’t win in the pass rush very often on Saturday, but there were moments in the game that he looked great. The run game is where he shines for now, and that’s a good role for him.
#96 DT Chucky Hunter had his fair share of plays and he was in position to make more. With his power he can anchor against the double team, stack and shed when left 1-on-1, and pass rush from the 1 or 3-technique. He’s the stable veteran this defense needs him to be and it showed last Saturday.
Overall, they are as good as advertised and the defensive line depth is even better than expected. They are all so well coached and it is evident they are on a Patterson-coached team. They barely give up their gaps, anchor to allow the linebackers to make plays, and are only going to get better. They all have proficiency at stacking the lineman, reading and shedding the block to make plays in the run game. They are all very explosive off the ball and have athleticism to chase down the play from behind.
The only real complaint about their game was that they vacated the middle of the pocket and split like the Red Sea far too often. The defensive tackles need to maintain control of the middle. When a defensive end sees the quarterback step up, he needs to stop his rush, stack and shed to make the tackle before the quarterback escapes the pocket. The line got better at reading and reacting to the scramble, but in the Big 12 they will need to do that a lot better than they did Saturday.