LSU's junior defensive tackle discusses the Texas A&M offense, run game, quarterback Johnny Manziel…
Hop's Defensive Report Card - La. Tech
Damontre Moore is proving his value to this defense week-in and week-out. The inconsistency and unfocused label has now become the future all-SEC label. He put in a 17 tackle performance on Saturday and added another 1.5 sacks to his impressive season total. Then to top it off, he had the critical PAT block that was returned for two points. Spencer Nealy also made his presence known with six stops. The rest of the unit was pretty quiet. The front four was not pushed off the ball too many times, but they didn't bottle up the Bulldogs' freshman RB Kenneth Dixon who finished with 111 yards and two TD's.
The linebackers played inconsistently. Starting for the suspended Steven Jenkins, Donnie Baggs made some nice plays early in the game. He a critical stop behind the line to end a drive, and in the second half he had a big sack that stopped the Bulldogs for one of the few times in the second half. Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart also made some nice plays combining for 11 tackles. However, as the defense started tiring toward the end of the third quarter, the poor tackling really sparked Louisiana Tech's comeback as Dixon had several second and third effort runs that led to a couple of scores. Bottom line, linebackers are the ones to make the tackles in the box. It's not satisfactory to make the stop… sometimes
If you ask me the most disappointing aspect of the 5-1 season so far, I'd have to say the cornerback play. Coming out of fall practice and through the first four games, it appeared the staff had three reliable corners to work with, along with a swing player in Deshazor Everett. But facing two spread offenses the past two weeks, and the confidence level of the corners on the perimeter is shot right now. The group was inept in the second half on Saturday, giving large cushions which allowed for easy short passes and then the inability to come up and tackle which compounded the problem. |Granted, A&M will face more traditional offenses the rest of the way, but with big, physical teams like LSU and Alabama on the docket, the corners better tighten up their run support. If the poor tackling continues, the Tigers and Crimson Tide will run all over the Aggie defense. There was nothing positive that came out of that game for the secondary. Thus, they receive a failing grade.
Special Teams C
It was a very quiet night on special teams with no big negative or positives on kickoffs and punts. But the fireworks surprisingly occurred on PAT attempts. It didn't look all that important at the time, but Damontre Moore's kick block and Dustin Harris' return gave A&M a three-point swing…and the Ags won by two. On the downside, Taylor Bertolet once again pushed a PAT to the right after the Manziel TD run that left the door open for the Bulldogs. That erased his impressive 54-yard FG in the first half.
Coach Snyder told the media at last week's media luncheon that the 8-yard cushion his cornerbacks were giving Ole Miss receivers was unacceptable and that they were working to improve that for the Louisiana Tech game. He wants 6-yard cushions. Now, we can debate whether a 6-yard cushion is something works or not, but as soon as the defense became stressed in the second quarter, the cushions quickly stretched out to 8-yards and even as much as 10 yards in the second half. You wonder how Quinton Patton caught 21 passes? There's your answer. With a talented and very quick receiver on the other side, a larger cushion makes tackling even more difficult and it makes passes much easier to complete. With Patton killing the A&M corners, why not get up and play bump-and-run? Get physical with him and knock him off his route and then have a safety taking the deep zone against him? At some point you have to do whatever it takes to stop Patton and make somebody else beat you.
OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE D
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