Tyrann Mathieu - Hybrid Defender

Interesting article on Tyrann and what he will hopefully bring to our team. Addresses my key concern with Tyrann; not the off the field stuff, but what an undersized player will do in the pros.

Article link is here.

Here's the portion that pertains to Tyrann:

The best defensive player in college football last year — at least in terms of highlight-reel, game-changing plays — was Tyrann Mathieu of LSU. At the college level, I don't think I've ever seen a player with such an uncanny knack for impactful moments. He intercepted screen passes, blew up quarterbacks on unexpected sacks, and simply ripped the ball from the hands of unfortunates runners and receivers. No doubt it was overdone, but the "Honey Badger" moniker was well deserved.

Yet it's difficult to say what position Mathieu played. LSU's roster lists him as a cornerback, but that's not the way he was categorized by opponents, as CBS's Bruce Feldman, who spent a week embedded with West Virginia as they prepared for the Tigers,explained:

The star or, more apt, biggest star of the LSU defense is "No. 7." To fans, No. 7 is sophomore Tyrann Mathieu, a 5-foot-8, 183-pound whirlwind. To the WVU coaches, Mathieu is known only by his jersey number, just like the rest of the Tigers. No. 7, listed in the media guide as a cornerback, but in the WVU scouting report as a SAM [strongside] linebacker, literally playing all over the field and playing faster than anyone out there. From the Cotton Bowl game, there are clips of Mathieu, then wearing No. 14, blowing past a helpless 300-pound Texas A&M offensive tackle to clobber the quarterback and force a fumble. No doubt, No. 7 is a big, big problem.

As he did all year, Mathieu lived up to his opponents' expectations, forcing two turnovers in LSU's 47-21 victory.

Mathieu's title of most impactful defender in college football as a "cornerback" is strange for a couple of reasons. Along with being undersize, he's only average in coverage. This is the reality for this new hybrid linebacker. It's not as important to be superior at any one thing as it is to do a bit of everything: stuff the run, blitz the quarterback, drop into coverage, and, above all, be a disruptive force.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Revenge of the Birds' (ROTB) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of ROTB's editors.</em>

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