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Defensive Film Review: Eastern Illinois

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Broderick Binns #91 of the Iowa Hawkeye's celebrates a second quarter safty with Christian Ballard #46 in front of Dennis Landolt #73 of the Penn State Nittnay Lions on September 26, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
hawkeye gamefilmContributor ISeptember 7, 2010

Iowa's front 4 lived up to their billing and then some in week 1 even without Broderick Binns. The athleticism shown by this unit is extraordinary as it's not uncommon to see a DT or DE making plays in space and they show up on gang tackles in the short passing routes pretty consistently.  Ballard shined pretty bright in this game as he played outside at DE most of the game and also played some DT. Clayborn and Klug both had kind of quiet days yet on film they still showed very well.  Mike Daniels also made the most of his first start and was constantly active and making plays up front. Lebron Daniel also saw a fair amount of snaps in this game and looked solid on the edge. After watching this game I'm pretty sure this is the most balanced and best front 4 in the country.  Offensive Coordinators will have to significantly adjust and even change their game plan to account for the ability of this group.

With 2 new starting LB's there were some questions about how Iowa would fill the shoes of 2 NFL draft picks who graduated last year. Nielson looks like he's very capable of playing at a high level in AJ Edds former spot.  Nielson will need to work hard and improve week by week to fill the role, but he has the ability to do so. With Tarpinian hurt Bruce Davis and Troy Johnson split the duties in the middle. Their combined effort at MLB was solid and they didn't make any real big errors as this game unfolded, but both were unspectacular in this one.  The lone returner Hunter looked much like the vet he is and did a nice job in his pass drops and filled well against the run when he was lined up inside. With so many opposing teams running 3+ WR sets Hunter will need to be reliable in underneath coverage.

As you would expect both Sash and Greenwood looked good in this game. Both have the experience and play making ability to play at a very high level this season and this was a good starting point. Both had few chances to make plays with the front 4 dominating this game the way they did.

Hyde's inexperience showed on him a little in this game as he got caught out of position a few times. He had his eyes in the backfield instead of playing his man which led to two big completions. Other than that drive he was solid in coverage and attacked lateral running plays pretty well.

Castillo played far better than he did last year. He looked like a liability much of last year but he was very sound in coverage against EIU. He didn't see many balls thrown his way and he'll likely be tested much more against ISU next.

Some reserves saw action in this one as well including true freshman James Morris and B.J. Lowery. Morris looks like he's got some bright days ahead as he seems to have both the instincts and athletic ability to be a big time player. Lowery looks to have some quick feet and a good frame for a corner. Thomas Nardo also looked good on the field at his DT spot.

Another guy that caught my eye was #50 Lance Tillison. He made some nice plays on special teams and showed some pretty good athletic ability on the last series of the game.

+1 Nice job holding up a the point of attack. Good stack up here as he had excellent hand placement.S2
+1 Great pass rush here as he gets free and rips down the QB. S4
+1 Good pad level has he gets under the guard and jams up the middle. S9

Overall: +3

+1 Showed great athletic ability ranging outside and running down the bubble screen for a loss. S1
+1 Nice work here as he gets free immediately and chases down the QB in his pass rush. S1
-1 Showed good acceleration and burst as he comes through untouched off the edge but fails to break down and make the sack. S3
+1 Shows good pad level and quickness in the twist here as he just blows by his man to help collapse the pocket. S5
+1 Great job of reading the QB’s eyes there by Ballard as he bats down the pass intended for his flat there. Very smart play there as he realized he wasn't going to get to the QB. S6
+1 Nice job stretching out and forcing the back to retreat back and go further lateral on the perimeter run. S9

Overall: +4


+1 Klug for sloughing off his block to the RB and gets a TFL. S1
+1 Just flies by the guard here on 3rd down and forces a early and off target throw. S5
+1 Great play by Klug there as he shucks the block and just smashes the back on 3rd down. S6
+1 Shows good power and leverage and he stacks up hole on the running play. S9

Overall: +4

+1 Great pressure off the edge forces the QB out of the pocket very quickly S1
+1 Quality edge rush here as he flies around and flushes the QB before he even finishes his drop. S4
+1 Just sheds his block at will at shuts down the run for a short gain. Excellent use of hands to keep himself free here. S5
+1 Great clean up job on the screen as he just wipes out the WR here. S8

Overall: +4

-1 Missed tackle on WR in flat.  Nielson needs to break down and make the tackle against the receiver screen in space. S2
+1 Nice job running to the flat here and he makes the TFL. S4
+1 Good job of making a very quick read and blowing up the screen before it could get set up. S8
+1 Make a good run to the boundary here and finishes off the RB on the jet sweep S9

Overall: +2

-1  Picked a gap instead of reading and reacting to the ball carrier. S2
+1 Excellent job attacking up-field on the ball carrier after he diagnoses the play. S4

Overall: Push

+1 Showed excellent timing and acceleration on the blitz as he forces the early and poor throw that ends up as a safety. S7
+1 Nice job stepping up in the hole and making the stop coming forward. Good read and fill. S8

Overall: +2

+1 Nice job squatting in his flat here and brakes to the ball and knocks away the pass. S3
-1 Poor footwork and technique here as he gets beat by the stop and go S3
-1 gets caught with his eyes in the backfield here and his man sneaks away and catches the TD in the back of the end zone. S3

Overall: -1

+1 Great fill and puts a shot into the WR on the bubble screen. S7

Overall: +1

+1 Nice downhill TFL for Greenwood in the red zone.  Good read on the play. S3
+1 Nice timing on the big hit on the sideline as the receiver bobbled the ball. S5

Overall: +2

+1 Big sack by Lebron Daniel there to kill the drive. Good looking pass rush to get himself free there. S10

Overall: +1

+1 Good job of reading the slant and being on the up-field shoulder and in position to make a play on the ball. S10

Overall: +1

+1 Nice job of attacking the receiver in front of him short of the sticks. Did an excellent job of planting and driving. S2

Overall: +1

+1 Nicely timed blitz here as he opens up an alley in the middle for the other LB to come free. This ends up forcing the QB to throw early and this ends up as a safety. S7

Overall: +1

+1 Nice job filling the hole here as he beats the block and attacks the ball carrier and makes the tackle. S10

Overall: +1

+1 Nice stack and shed by Nardo there as he makes the stop for no gain in the trenches. S10

Overall: +1

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