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Line Segment: Interior of Oklahoma State Defense Has Been Tremendous



Through the first five games of the year, the Oklahoma State defensive line continues to impress. Although there have been gaps in production from the DE spot, and the stats don’t necessarily point to an extraordinary group, the disruption has been there.  

The Oklahoma State defense line had one of its best games of the year vs. Texas Tech and was a main reason why the defense was able to hold Texas Tech 203 yards under their average for the year coming into the game.   

DeQuinton Osborne continues to be a force and the anchor of the defensive line, and although he was only credited with one sack, he was all over the place in the backfield disrupting the Tech offense. This was probably Darrion Daniels’ best game of the 2017 season as well, as he was credited with 2 QB hurries, .5 TFL and 5 tackles. Glenn Spencer really mixed up the fronts a lot, which helped keep both of these guys fresh well into the 4th quarter.  

Overall as a defense OSU was credited with one sack, which is simply not enough. However there were 3-4 instances where a sack probably should’ve occurred, but Nic Shimonek was able to shake pressure and get rid of the ball out of bounds. OSU had a season-high 8 QB hurries and also 6 tackles for loss, which tell a better story of the success of the DL. A side note that isn’t DL-related, but the defense also had a season high 8 pass deflections, which is a very high number.  

Outside of Jordan Brailford and to a lesser extent Vili Levini, the defensive ends still aren’t consistently creating enough pressure, and too much of the pressure that is applied is created from the inside DTs or blitzing LBs.  Ideally you would like to have a mix of pressure coming from all areas of the field, not just the middle. Something to monitor moving forward as Spencer will need to get creative on how to create pressure off the edges (hint: his number is 1 and first name rhymes with Dalvin).

The run defense was absolutely dominant, and a lot of those run plays were blown up by members of the DL. Although the DE’s have struggled on pass rush, I do think they’ve been strong in run support. Tech had 26 rushes for 54 yards and 2.1 yards/carry. Tech isn’t a dominant running team by any means, but holding anyone in conference play to 2.1 yards/carry is fantastic.  

Here are some highlights from the film review.

This is a called screen play by Texas Tech. OSU is sending two LBs, one is a delayed blitz. Check out the nice spin move by DQ and just completely blows up the screen. Nice work by Whitener on getting in the QB’s face to force the throw away. This is pretty poor execution on Tech’s part.

DQ is so quick off the line. Watch how quick has hands are. Once the guard gets his hands extended out and head is over his feet = game over.  

Darrion Daniels had a really nice game. Has a nice bull rush on the center (poor guy), and gets great pressure on Shimonek. Unfortunately KEM gets his doors blown off by a nice go route for a big completion.

DQ — quick off the line, disruption. Broken record.

Tremendous pass rush here by Jordan Brailford. He sets up the spin nicely by taking two steps up field and then busting out the spin move. This is good for two reasons – 1. Going up field and then spinning back keeps him in his rush lane to maintain gap integrity and 2. It sets up the RT going right and opens up rush lane for Brailford in-between RT and RG.  

Also side note, he doesn’t get primary pressure here but watch DQ.  His hands are getting so good.  

DQ – quick off the line, great hands.  Broken record. Did I mention the center had a tough game?

Even Taaj Bakari is getting in the mix.  He is generally brought in during goal line situations, and he showed nice strength to shed the block and make a nice TFL against Tech’s big powerful back.  

I was able to find a few plays similar to this.  The downside of rushing three and applying no additional pressure is getting two DL set up on double teams, and the third rusher unable to shed a block. Ideally you would like to force at least one of the guards to not be blocking anyone.  

Shimonek could’ve had all day in this situation.  He didn’t need it because the coverage was not very good, this was a coverage bust somewhere. Also, Rodarius … if you’re going to completely forget about proper tackle form you better bring the pain better than that.  

Other Defensive Observations

I caught this and couldn’t leave it out of my observations.  Check out Ramon Richards’ eyes pre-snap. He is watching the QB and recognizes the WR screen before he even throws the ball. Comes downhill to make a huge play for a 6-yard loss.  He is so savvy and has elite awareness.  My hope is Spencer gets more aggressive in slot coverage as the year goes on, as he continues to get more comfortable with Richards.  

Overall this was a very good performance by the Oklahoma State defensive line.  This type of run defense will be needed upcoming against some good rushing teams.  Time to get healthy and get prepared for Baylor.  

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