|Maurice Hurst, Jr.|
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #73
Last year: I ranked Hurst #82 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.
Putting Hurst at #41 is perhaps the gutsiest ranking of the whole countdown, since he's jumping up 41 spots from last year and has yet to play a down of college football. I often choose not to believe the practice hype, but Hurst has been earning some buzz since last season when coaches and players were talking about his quickness off the ball. He also played some running back in high school, and I think his burst offers something that other nose tackles (Ondre Pipkins, Bryan Mone, Ryan Glasgow, Brady Pallante) lack, perhaps with the exception of Willie Henry. I bumped Hurst up the list a little bit because of the uncertainty surrounding Pipkins, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Regardless, I like a nose tackle who can penetrate and cause some havoc, and I also think Hurst could play some 3-tech tackle. His listed weight (277 lbs.) might be a drawback if accurate, but he looked bigger than that in the spring. I look for Hurst to start to make a name for himself and perhaps work his way into the lineup on passing downs, where his lack of bulk won't be as much of a hindrance and his quickness can force quarterbacks out of their comfort zone.
Prediction: Backup nose tackle
I agree that the hype in this case is probably accurate. In the spring game, it was like night and day watching Hurst and Henry come off the ball compared to the guys who were playing ahead of them. Hurst looks like Jibreel Black to me, except with a little more beef.ReplyDelete
I think he will play a lot this year. Michigan is playing a fair amount of finesse and tempo offenses this year (no Iowa or Wisky), so the quicker DT's will see plenty of snaps. But where Hurst can really be valuable is in passing situations. GMatt struggled to find a rush from the DT's on passing downs last year. He resorted to sliding guys like Taco and Ojemudia inside, and that did not go well at all.
The guy looked real quick in the spring game; yeah, it was a 3rd-string OL he blew by, but he was around him before the guy was completely out of his stance. I have high hopes for a disruptive DT of some sort.ReplyDelete
I think that was by design in the spring game. It would not have been in the coaches' best interest to show up the beleaguered, first-team OL in front of an audience. So they matched them up against manageable guys like Godin, Glasgow, and Strobel to allow the first team offense to do a little.Delete
Yes, please ... I'll take some good pressure from the defensive line interior if you have it on the menu.ReplyDelete
I'm no football X's and O's guru ... but what Mattison said in an interview once seems to ring true to me -- "For the defense, it all starts on the inside." If the defensive line interior gets penetration, then the job of the defensive ends becomes more productive ... the linebackers, the safeties, etc., etc.
If they have Ryan in the middle, the coaches will be looking to blitz him a fair amount. I think that will work most effectively if they have some quickness at the DT spot. So a guy like Hurst could be an important player.Delete
I would think the opposite. If you have a guy blitzing up the middle you want someone who is going to absorb double teams to clear a lane. I think the coaches mostly put Ryan at MLB to make him harder to game-plan for and take advantage of his change-of-direction abilities more consistently. My guess: you'll see less TFLs and sacks from Ryan, but he'll consistently make an impact and limit some would-be 20 yard runs to 3 or 4 yards by darting around blocks. That's probably optimistic...
I've read otherwise elsewhere, and like you I'm no expert on DL tactics, but it seems like the Under is more amenable to having smaller penetrating DTs than the Over.
I'm not sure where you're getting that, but the 4-3 Over defense is more about penetration. Against 12 personnel, you have seven defenders in the box from tackle to tight end, so you can afford to get some penetration and let the other guys clean up for you. If you think of the Detroit Lions with Suh/Fairley or the old Tampa Buccaneers with Warren Sapp/whoever ,those guys are in there to wreak havoc. A 4-3 Under is more about holding up to double-teams and such, almost like a 3-4 defense.Delete
I wrote the opposite of what I intended to. I think the move to the Over was made, in part, because we don't have the block-eating mammoth NT but do have guys like Hurst and Henry who could be good to penetrate.Delete
I think what you see on a lot of interior blitzes is the OL may pick up the blitzing LB but then one of the DT's is single-blocked, or better yet, getting blocked by an OL who is not in good position. The quicker DT's are just better able to take advantage and actually get to the QB.Delete
true. angles are always vital in football and just as important as quickness, hands, pad level etc on DL- but effective use of angles by quicker DL typically result in more successful games up front. i.e. quick DT like hurst explodes off the ball and forces the OG or OC to reach further than anticipated or sells a gap over and allows a missle like ryan to attack the line with a better angle. mattison has a million techniques but more athletic DL should afford him some enticing calls. adjustments are that much harder for OL when disruptive DL cannot simply be stoned and passed off on the fly while eliminating those better angles for blitzers. and of course as you mentioned, quicker DTs also usually stand better chance of winning that 1 v 1 or angling the double and getting to QB within 3 secsDelete
He's the quickest guy off the snap at the High School level I've seen in the limited video I've sat and watched since I started hanging out around here. This includes the 5 star names that we've pursued.ReplyDelete
I know I beat this dead horse repeatedly from time to time, but I don't have any problem with a smallish middle guard, having watched Timmy Davis completely disrupt the quality offenses of his day at 210 lbs.
I believe the key with guys like Hurst is your scheme. If he's attacking gaps life could be very good indeed, if he's soaking up double teams, Ryan will be busy and I'm thinking not necessarily in a good way.
I assume Mattison is significantly more clear on this issue than I am.
Thunder. From my understanding, a 4-3 under requires a big space eating NT. With the move to a 4-3 over, the interior DL is now a bit more interchangeable. That fact coupled with our interior DL being young as all hell, I see Hurst getting a great chance to steal a starting spot and not give it back.ReplyDelete
When I think about players weights, I remember the TCU wisco rose bowl. Wisco's OL averaged something like 50 lbs more than TCU's DL, and TCU effectively shut their offense down.
I'm buying the hype. He's a top break-out candidate at a position where many get to play.ReplyDelete
This is far from your gutsiest pick - ranking the top returning RB #42 was certainly more audacious.
Your version of the top returning running back is a guy who had fewer carries than Derrick Green, DeVeon Smith, Dennis Norfleet, Shane Morris, Devin Funchess, and Thomas Rawls, not to mention Ty Isaac.Delete
Yes, because the RB job isn't limited to carrying the ball. More often then not, they don't. -A point that is particularly salient when the OL can't run-block.Delete
Hayes started the bowl game and was ahead of the other candidates through the spring. He's the top guy until he isn't. Furthermore, the other candidates have somewhat redundant skill-sets, while no other RB has the pass-catching Hayes offers.
Fitz and Hayes were the only RBs to catch passes last year. This offense saw a whole lot of 3rd downs last year. Fitz is gone.
Darren Sproles is one of the best RBs in the NFL but only gets a few carries a game. It's more common than not these days to share RB duties between a guy who can pound it and a guy who brings a more versatile skill set (catching/blocking). Focusing only on ball-carrying exclusively is willfully ignoring the reality of modern football. Kind of like discounting or ignoring a QB's ability to run with the ball, or simply ignoring it as a deficiency when other QBs bring it to the table. QB is more than passing, RB is more than running. It's a team game and things like avoiding/preventing sacks and converting 3rd downs (with RBs who can catch or QBs who can run) are invaluable.Delete
I don't know that Hayes is good enough at those 'other' things to hold off the others or the others are so bad at them, that he is winning by default. What I do know is that, so far, the evidence we have says he is ahead of them. I'm not going to cast that evidence aside because of recruiting rankings or desires for prototypical weight/height.
I'm not discounting the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield or pass block. Which is why I ranked a (in my mind) third string running back as the #42 overall player on the team and said he would be the third-down back.Delete
The part I don't get is WHY many/most people are so confident that he is the third-string back (or worse). His career ypc are over yard more than Green's. Smith has some nice ypc numbers, but hasn't beaten out Green and reportedly had issues blocking and being a team player.Delete
Regarding 3rd down duties. Though Hayes is less proven, we had basically the same debate about Vincent Smith. When V.Smith was the clear-cut 3rd down back you ranked him #23, and last year you had 2 RBs in the top 20 including Fitz, the presumed 3rd down back.
Even if Hayes' role IS limited to 3rd down duties, this seems pretty low. You can think of Green as a 1st down guy and Smith as a 2nd down guy, because they'll probably split carries, if last year is any indicator. 3rd down seems more important to me than 1st or 2nd.