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Red Raider Gridiron :: Finding Twenty-Five on Defense

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Thanks to RaiderDoc:  Much thanks to RaiderDoc for volunteering his tailgate for the DTN tailgate.  I'll make sure and take lots of incriminating pictures and I promise to post them.  I would also suggest that if you do plan on attending, please BYOB.

Get Twenty-Five Ready:  LAJ's Don Williams has a really interesting article this morning which details how head coach Tommy Tuberville wants to get 25 players on the field on defense:

"We’ll play 25 players,’’ Tuberville said Wednesday, revisiting a theme he’s touched on before. "We’ll run them in and out. You’ll see mass substitution. We want to keep them as conditioned as we possibly can into the fourth quarter and be able to outplay teams in the fourth quarter on defense.’’

Snip.

"One thing is we’re not going to be that big,’’ Tuberville said. "We’re going to have to be fast and quick. We won’t line up in the same (alignment) quite often. We’re going to have a lot of fronts and a lot of different looks.

"With this type of material, we’re going to have to be a surprise attack team in terms of not blitzing every time, but just giving different alignments, different looks, moving around, using quickness and not playing (only) 13, 14 guys on defense a game.’’

I'm excited and figuring out the 25 by watching the spring game might be a pretty fun little game for us while watching that spring game.  It would be interesting to try to pick out those 25 players and try to track those different alignments. 

Williams notes that with returning players, the staff must develop 14 more players that will fit into that 25 man rotation and  the article goes on to discuss a couple of players, including junior ILB Tyrone Sonier, sophomore ILB Daniel Cobb, and redshirt freshmen CB Jarvis Phillips and DE/OLB Aundrey Barr.  I could include lots of blockquotes, but I'll encourage you to go read the whole thing. 

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New Helmet Photos:  For those of you who didn't see these yesterday, the Uniwatch Blog (hat-tip to kayakyakr) posted a link to the alleged new white helmets (I guess they haven't been officially confirmed).  I kinda like them and they are a shout-out to the helmets of the early 1970's, which I can appreciate.  I'll say this again, my favorite look is from the E.J. Holub days:  red jersey, white pants, and red helmet.  I know, that's awfully similar to what OU wears, but I like lots of red in the uniform because we're the Red Raiders and I also like traditional uniforms, and yes, that includes Penn St.

Notes, Notes, and More Notes:  LAJ's Don Williams details that DT Chris Perry will have surgery on his foot, and DT's Pearlie Graves and David Neill are expected to return relatively soon . . . Tuberville also says that the running backs are running hard, but they're not always picking the right holes:

"I’ve got no problem with them running hard,’’ Tuberville said. "They’ll break tackles. But there’s times when we don’t hit the right hole and we don’t make the right read. A lot of that’s just got to come from repetition.’’

. . . 90% of the squad is on pace to make all 15 spring practices . . . Saturday's scrimmage time is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., which is earlier than previous scrimmages . . .

More links, video and stuff after the jump.

Offensive Line Competition:  DT's Mike Graham details the offensive line battles, including the various seniors along the line that are battling for position, including C/G/T Chris Olson, C Justin Keown and LG Lonnie Edwards.  Here's Olson on playing the center position thus far this spring:

"I like having the leadership role on the offensive line," Olson said. "I like having to know what’s going on with every play. Now I have to know everything and tell everyone else (on the offensive line) what to do and I kind of like that."

And offensive line coach Moore says that Olson is his most versatile player:

"He’s a real unselfish player," Moore said. "Right now I could put him at all five different positions. He’s doing a good job at center, he and Keown are battling it out at center. He’s a team guy and wants to do what’s best for the team, and he wants to win ball games. It helps to be a pretty smart guy, too."

Graham, pulling double-duty for the DMN, also writes that Tuberville wants the team to play smart:

"There's two types of players," he said, "guys who play games and guys who are smart players. We're going to have to play smart because there are going to be games next season where we'll have to outplay some teams in what we're doing.

"We're getting to a point where we understand why we run in and out of the huddle, why we run to the sideline, all the little things."

Miscellaneous Links:  FoxSports' Rich Cirminiello has the top 5 players that you don't know about, but you will by the end of the season and includes OLB Brian Duncan . . . Phil Steel has the top kickers and JUCO players and DE's Scott Smith Lawrence Rumph check in at numbers 7 and 74 . . . From The Rumble Seat (the SB Nation Georgia Tech blog) has an excellent primer on the 3-4 defensive line . . . and completely unrelated to football, ESPN looks back to the UNLV Runnin' Rebels and Tark the Shark, twenty years later . . .

Video:  Wreck'Em TV's Travis Cram focuses on the offensive line with lots of thoughts from Tuberville and OL coach Moore (Moore essentially gives us a depth chart of the offensive line):