Week 3: Marquee Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes OTs v Arizona Wildcats DEs

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Week 3: Marquee Matchup: Iowa Hawkeyes OTs v Arizona Wildcats DEs
Doug Benc/Getty Images

 

Arizona DE's
Number Name Height Weight
#44 Ricky Elmore 6-5
260
#42 Brooks Reed 6'3
255

 

Iowa OTs

Number Name Height Weight
#77 Riley Reiff 6'6
300
#56 Markus Zusevics 6'5
295

 

Who They are:

Arizona's pair of DE's will be 5th year seniors Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed.  Hype around Elmore was very quiet despite a 10.5 sack 11.5 TFL season in '09. He had 1.5 sacks and 1.5 TFL in last years contest with the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Elmore was an Honorable Mention All Pac-10 Defender in '09 as well. Reed had an injury marred '09 season that limited his effectiveness after having a great sophomore campaign that included 8 sacks and 9.5 TFL. He sustained a high ankle sprain against Iowa in '09 and he missed multiple games with the injury. Both have been healthy and active through the first two games of '10. I currently have both of these guys graded out as a late round or FA pick in next years draft.

Iowa's left tackle Riley Reiff started 3 games at LT, 8 games at RG, and 1 game at RT and is settled in now at LT. Iowa's other tackle is Markus Zusevics who will be making his 3rd career start at RT in the desert this week. Reiff is a red-shirt sophomore who played his way into Iowa's starting line-up in Iowa's second game of '09. Reiff made a name for himself in the de-facto Big Ten title game in '09 when Iowa played at Ohio State. He took on Cameron Hayward in the trenches several times and announcer Matt Millen took notice as Reiff drove Heyward around to create running lanes. Zusevics has excellent athleticism as he was an excellent volleyball player in high school to go along with being a punishing offensive line man. Reiff currently grades out as a early 3rd-late 2nd round prospect in my book.

What to watch for:

Both Elmore and Reed are solid against the run and are legit pass rushing threats. Watching tape of them they are disciplined and consistently defend their gaps well. Reed is the rangier of the two and has already made 10 tackles on '10 season. Both do a good job of keeping outside leverage and not allowing backs to get on the outside. Neither has elite burst or first step but both are quick enough to take the edge if the tackle doesn't kick step outside quickly. Both show a variety of pass rush moves and expect to see a fair number of inside rips and swims from both these two.

Reiff is balanced LT with the feet to keep up with the speed rushes and the power to anchor against the bull rushes and power moves. Watching tape of Reiff you have to be impressed by his consistency and the mean streak he plays with in the trenches. At times he will drive block defenders 5-10 yards before slamming them to the turf. In addition to being a good in-line blocker Reiff shows good ability to get out and find LB's in space and keep them off from the backs. As a pass protector he shows excellent athleticism and strength to go with fairly good technique. He is a natural knee bender but at times will get a bit too low and lose his base.

Zusevics is a first year starter for an Iowa line that has a long tradition of quality tackles. At this point he appears to be a better pass blocker than run blocker but is above average in both. He shows excellent footwork in space against pass rushers and does an solid job of using his hands to control his man.  He is at his best in the run game when sliding out to the second level and getting to a LB. He does this exceptionally as he is athletic enough to stay with speedy linebackers. He seemed to struggle more with reach blocks in Iowa's zone scheme but was still effective there as well.

2009 Iowa v. Arizona: Reiff v. Reed & Elmore

In this match up last year Reiff was in his second start of his career at LT as a red-shirt Freshman. Reiff spent most of this game matched up with Reed. At the start it looked like Reed might have some success getting to the QB as he got a little separation to the outside in speed rushes. As the game went on Reiff picked it up noticeably and began to man handle Reed in both pass protection and run blocking. Late in the 3rd quarter Reed sprained his ankle and  he only managed a half tackle with no QB pressures in that contest before he left. Reiff then saw some match ups against Elmore who didn't have any success beating Reiff on the pass rush. Elmore's success against Iowa was in the first half and against now graduated RT Kyle Calloway. He beat Calloway around the edge for his solo sack as well as his shared sack.

Summary:

Based on what I've seen on film I don't see Iowa having too much trouble in pass protection against the Arizona tandem, especially Reiff. Athletically the pair of OT's have the ability win their match-up. Though if Iowa's tackles gets careless with either Elmore or Reed they are capable of making a big impact. In the run game I expect Reed and Elmore to make some plays. Iowa's OT's will need to work hard to keep these two from disrupting the run game throughout this one. Advantage Iowa in this match up.

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