Archive for Wednesday, October 5, 2011

D-tackles difficult to find

October 5, 2011


An engineering brain equipped with a salesman’s personality. A nakedly honest politician. A creative thinker with a clean car.

Rarities, every one of them, but more common than big, strong, fast, explosive men blessed with excellent endurance and a motor that never stops. In other words, a gifted defensive tackle.

The best in history, men like Lee Roy Selmon and Warren Sapp played what is known as a five technique, a D-lineman who lines up with his nose on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle and completely changes the game.

“God makes five techniques,” Kansas University offensive line coach J.B. Grimes said. “A lot of times, those guys are hard to find because they’re such natural guys. They’re naturally explosive guys. Those things are hard to develop. The good lord makes those kinds of things.”

The good lord makes exceptional defensive tackles and coaches from the SEC and to some extent Big 12 schools from Oklahoma and Texas sign them to letters of intent.

Pulling elite football players out of the South and convincing them to head north presents a difficult challenge, particularly at a position where talent is scarce.

Asked to name the most difficult position to fill in football, Grimes said, “a lockdown corner and a defensive tackle that’s real.”

By real, Grimes meant one who truly fits all the requirements of the position. Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt discussed those qualities.

“You not only have to be big, you have to be athletic,” Wyatt said. “You’ve got be sudden. You’ve got to react. I always tell people the closer you play to the football, the faster you have to react because the ball’s snapped and everything happens from inside-out.

“You don’t have time to make a mistake and recover. It happens quick. You have to be very instinctive. Your technique has to be perfect, because if it’s not, those big guys get on you and it’s hard to get off them. If you don’t have your hands inside, or if your pads are too high, if you don’t take the proper step, your recovery time is almost nill. You have to be big enough and strong enough to get off the block and you have to be fast enough to chase them down and make a play.”

Wyatt agreed defensive tackle is the toughest position to recruit.

“Everybody’s looking for them,” he said.

Wyatt was at Nebraska during Ndamukong Suh’s sophomore year.

“He was strong, he was mean, and he was sudden,” Wyatt said. “Very explosive. And he could really, really run.”

Perennial powerhouses monopolize massive men who can fly. The best approach for KU is to recruit undersized explosive D-tackles, such as James McClinton.

His relentless motor earned him second-team All-American honors in 2007. He made it easier for linebackers and defensive ends, and in turn, the secondary.

Wyatt remembered McClinton from when he coached at Nebraska and summed him up in one word: “Explosive.” The word doesn’t fit any current KU linemen.

On defense, it all starts up front, where KU’s problems begin.


Chris Condren 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree that finding great interior defensive linemen is difficult but bringing no one to play the position is a blue print for the nations worst defense. This article just landers to the mistakes of the worst coaching staff in the Big 12. I wish the writer could be honest and just lay the bare truth out for readers that the KU defense cannot compete in BCS football and probably not be a consistence winner at the FCS level of competition. We do not need articles that try to provide excuses for Kansas football mediocrity.

Chris Condren 6 years, 5 months ago

Landers should be panders. Consistence should be consistent. Try to stay ahead of spelling police. Thanks

rtwngr 6 years, 5 months ago

None in the program and none in the pipeline. This article just summed up the future of KU football.

Vaildini 6 years, 5 months ago

A DT is the hardest thig in football to find. This would still be Manginos recruits playing so if your really pissed call him and let him know. Remember we are close to winning as many games as Mangino's last year here when he had one of the best QB's in history and one of the best WR's corps in history. We should let Gill gets his seniors to there final year before we get to crazy. No excuses being made just reality. I remember back when Bowen was our D coor. and everyone thought he was horrible. It is a huge difference running a defense with an all american DT (McClinton) and a pro bowl Shut down CB (Talib). When your DT demands a double team and you CB doesn't need help over the top it allows for more people in the box to stop the run and less people on the oline to help in Blitz pick up when pressuring QB. It's about the Moes and the Joes not the X's and O's most of the time. But this is KU. We had people complaining about Mangino when he first got here and also, Roy Williams. And when we hired Bill Self people thought we were crazy. It's just the way it goes. Stay in the fight coach Gil because a lot of us have your back.

Mo Meza 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree. We need to give a chance to Coach Gill and his coaching staff. Coach Gill and his staff can recruit as you all saw this year. They are getting talent, high school kids that need to be trained in the program. The defense will turn around and will be good. The offense will get even better. The just recruited two great QBs. We need to support our football coaches and players. This is KU. This the Jayhawk Family. Coach Gill we support you, your coaching staff and players. Continue moving forward.

Vaildini 6 years, 5 months ago

Well said. Support them. I'm not saying it will workout for sure. Who knows? But we should atleast let his recruits grow and be seniors before we get to excited. I do know all the whining and negative banter under every article isn't going to help us land the DT and CB that we need.

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