Hawkeyes Gamefilm: Defensive Line Vs Minnesota
After being a little bit down last week this unit put together a very nice game against Minnesota. They didn’t post big statistics or have any sacks, but they consistently were playing on Minnesota’s side of the LOS. Overall this was a pretty aggressive game-plan for the defensive line. They came out with lots of various line games from the get go and looked like they wanted to set the tone early. I don’t think Minnesota’s offensive line was particularly good, but Iowa’s guys looked like they out-classed them much of the day. Iowa has continued to use a regular rotation and are keeping their guys fresh down the stretch. Not only are they building some depth up front but they are being more strategic with their substitutions. On longer drives they are typically subbing for both DTs and occasionally a DE as well, but DE seems to be more of a series based rotation.
We got a longer look at Riley McMinn this week and while he was in he was disciplined and was getting aligned correctly against motion. As a pass rusher he’s a little raw but did display a good motor and didn’t get bogged down and lose track of the QB. His most noticable play was in the 4th quarter on a scramble by Shortell. McMinn was pushing a bull rush on the outside, and Shortell tried step up in the pocket and take off but McMinn disengaged and chased down Shortell to hold him to a 1 yard gain on the play. It’s always a good sign when you see that kind of awareness from a young player. McMinn has plenty of room to add more bulk on his frame and should develop into a solid defensive end.
A strange day for Dom Alvis. He was fairly quiet most of the day but had a couple of gaffes that were hard to miss. He got stiff-armed to the turf in the 4th quarter by Shortell on a QB draw. To his credit, he did manage to trip him up with a leg whip as Shortell tried to go by him, but Alvis was way off balance on that play. Later in the 4th quarter he was called for a neutral zone infraction on goal-line play where Iowa had stuffed the play for a loss. He appeared to be hobbling after a couple of plays and may be dealing with a nagging injury. Alvis is normally a disciplined, smart football player, so we’ll just chalk this game up as an aberration and expect better results against MSU.
Defensive End Ladder:
1) Joe Gaglione(3TOT)
2) Dom Alvis(3TOT)
3) Riley McMinn(2TOT)
The defensive tackle position has been a pleasant surprise so far this year. Many have attributed the growth on the DL to position coach to Reese Morgan and I agree with that sentiment. Louis Trinca-Pasat is starting to resemble the blue collar, high motor Iowa DTs of recent memory. He made some nice plays out in space in this game. However, keep in mind Shortell is not an especially gifted runner and LTP will likely lose footraces with most B1G QBs in space. Of the Iowa DTs, LTP may also benefit the most from the increased number of stunts up front. He’s pretty undersized at this point and his agility and pad level make him difficult for opposing offensive lineman to handle when he’s on the move.
Another high effort performance from Steve Bigach this week and with better results. He had a couple of excellent plays with a forced fumble and a TFL. He’s still rotating between both DE and DT and can get a little too high when playing inside at times. Bigach is another guy who benefits from all the line games up front and will usually struggle to deal with a double team. He makes most of his plays with quickness rather than strength. Having a Senior step up this way and play with the kind of effort Bigach has is a great example for all the younger guys on the team. He raises the level of play of the guys around him by consistently leaving it all out on the field.
Carl Davis and Darian Cooper both looked like they came to play in this game. Neither racked up much in the way of statistics but both had some bright moments out there. Both played with improved leverage and were using their hands to control opponents more this week. Both have also improved their ability to shed blocks and find ball carriers. Cooper split a double team twice in this game, which isn’t something I’ve seen him do up to this point. Both times he disrupted the running play and forced the back to cut behind the LOS. Cooper had an excellent bull rush in the 3rd quarter that drove the guard back into the MN QB and caused the throw to flutter harmlessly incomplete in the flat. Had he not made that play Shortell had an open receiver down the middle for a big play. Carl Davis also compressed the pocket a couple of times on drop back passes and also had a nice TFL down on the goal-line that was negated by an off-sides penalty. To me it looks like both guys are starting to put the pieces together and it will be fun watching them in the 2nd half of the season. To me Darian Cooper is starting to resemble former Iowa DT Mike Daniels in more than one way. He’s got a ways to go before he’s that dominant of a player, but the raw ability is there.
1) Louis Trinca-Pasat(7TOT)
2) Steve Bigach(3TOT 1TFL 1FF)
3) Darian Cooper(1TOT)
4) Carl Davis(N/A)
5) Mike Hardy(N/A)