Hogs line­men say mov­ing to new de­fense free­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

FAYETTEVILLE — Se­nior nose tackle Bi­jhon Jackson and sopho­more de­fen­sive end McTelvin “Sosa” Agim both praise the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs’ new 3-4 de­fense, pre­dict­ing they have more free­dom to make more big plays than in last year’s 4-3 align­ment.

How­ever, some of the plays they don’t make also could prove piv­otal to the Ra­zor­back’s foot­ball suc­cess. The more of­fen­sive line­men it takes to re­strict the free­dom Jackson and Agim as­sert this scheme al­lows them, the more free the four lineback­ers be­hind them are to make a play.

“Yeah, that took a lit­tle get­ting used to,” Jackson said of more double teams. “But I just have got to stay stout in the mid­dle. A lot of double teams, but hey, that’s just a job. A lot of guys in the 3-4 get double-teamed across the board. It helps the line­backer be­cause he’s com­ing free. It helps those guys in the back mak­ing plays.”

All the double-team­ing seems apt to cut down the de­fen­sive stats that might catch NFL scouts’ at­ten­tion.

How­ever, Agim as­serts those in the know look beyond stats.

“If you don’t make the play but tie up block­ers, that’s how NFL scouts look at it,” said Agim, who has been mas­sively pre­dicted even­tu­ally bound for the NFL since his five-star days at Hope. “Even if you don’t make a play, did you hold your own? Did you do your as­sign­ment? You’ve got to make sure you are stay­ing on that.”

De­fen­sive line coach John Scott cer­tainly stays on them about stay­ing on it.

“That’s some­thing that our coach has harped on, about hold­ing that double team and mak­ing sure the line­backer can come un­der­neath over the top to make those plays,” Agim said. “So if it takes two to block me he can shoot right up in there in the gap.”

De­spite the in­creased double teams, Jackson and Agim in­sist this 3-4 is less re­stric­tive.

“Last year I felt we were stuck in one place,” Agim said. “Now I feel like a lot of move­ment is go­ing on and that we can make a lot of plays out of this de­fense.”

Agim praised sopho­more T.J. Smith at the other de­fen­sive end.

“T.J. has been great,” Agim said. “He’s been hold­ing his gap and mak­ing plays.”

ARKANSAS TAKES ON THE WORLD

En­tire coun­tries won’t win as many pres­ti­gious medals as those who have rep­re­sented Arkansas won this week at the on­go­ing World Out­door Track and Field Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

Omar McLeod re­peated his 2016 Olympic gold for Ja­maica win­ning the World’s 110- me­ter hur­dles while Texarkana, Texas, na­tive Jar­rion Law­son leaped to the World’s long jump sil­ver for the United States. They are both for­mer NCAA cham­pi­ons for Coach Chris Buck­nam’s Ra­zor­backs men.

Sandi Mor­ris, the for­mer NCAA cham­pion for Coach Lance Harter’s Ra­zor­backs women, re­peated her Olympic sil­ver for the U.S. in the World’s pole vault.

Ke­mar Mowatt, re­turn­ing to Buck­nam’s men as a se­nior in 2018, runs the World’s 400-me­ter hur­dles fi­nal for Ja­maica to­day.

“If you don’t make the play but tie up block­ers, that’s how NFL scouts look at it. Even if you don’t make a play, did you hold your own? Did you do your as­sign­ment? You’ve got to make sure you are stay­ing on that.”

— Arkansas Ra­zor­backs de­fen­sive end McTelvin Agim

NATE ALLEN

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.