Note: Zeke Riser was a defensive lineman for UH from 2009-2012.
Overall, I think that the defensive line play was below average, at best. There weren’t too many big plays nor any stand-out performances. The lack of run defense is never solely on the DL but it does start with the guys up-front. Being out of their gaps and the inability to get off of blocks were the main reasons for failure throughout the game. Not getting off of blocks was obvious at the defensive tackle and nose on this snap:
It appears we had a decent plan going into the game, defensive line-wise. It was simple but I don’t know much more that Brian Early could do schematically. If the proper technique were used more consistently we would have had guys in the right places. Here’s Fleming (5) out of his gap and that’s exactly where the ball goes:
It’s hard to know exactly what an offense will try to do, being the first game of the year (and going against a brand new quarterback and OL in this scheme). I also thought it was evident that we were being held excessively throughout the game with very few penalties called. But linemen know that you can never depend on penalties to be called.
At times, I couldn’t tell whether or not the guys on the interior knew if it was a run play or a pass due to the lack of pressure. They didn’t seem to play with much energy – clearly, we need much MUCH more production from that group.
Aymiel Fleming, Blake Young, and Oliver Charles-Pierre need to step up if this group is to have any success. All were noticeable at times but will need to stick to their technique against the run and apply pressure on the pass.
On this play, Fleming (5) did a great job of fighting off the block and getting in there to make the play.
Exterior Line: Defensive End & The Bandit
Throughout the game, there was good effort from both spots on the outside but generally a lack of finish when they beat their man. Early on, we didn’t win many snaps at all. Our guys were swallowed up by blocks and were running down the middle of the blocker as Derek Parish (31) did here:
Other times, we did not play our outside shade technique although the technique and effort seemed to be better once we settled into the game. But by then, it was too little too late.
Everyone has a lot to improve on. Going forward, we absolutely have to get off of blocks and overall playmaking ability must improve greatly. Players such as Derek Parish and Payton Turner need to continue to lead with their energy. Payton (98) made a nice play here:
In his first start, Derek Parish (31) steps into the hole and immediately pressures Hurts on the first snap of the second half. Here he is blowing up the play:
Other times, the inability to make plays and help out the linebackers at the second level was evident. We saw flashes of solid production and effort from Parish and Turner, as well as David Anenih (12) and Alexander Duke (30) on the outside, but will need to fine-tune their hands in pass rush to be more effective. Here, Anenih and Duke apply some pressure but struggle to finish:
This week, Brian Early will have these guys working on finishing on pass rushes and getting off of blocks against the run. Don’t give up on this group because they’ll get better. There are a lot of newcomers and a lot of young guys and they will be coached up the next couple weeks and will bring it against PV and Washington State.