After a week away from writing after getting back from the Senior Bowl, I am finally back and ready to share the rest of the quotes and bits of info I got from the Senior Bowl this year. Most of the interviews will be transcribed below but I have added a few audio clips as well as a few of these interviews were too good to just not include the full audio. So sit back and enjoy these quotes and clips from the 2020 Senior Bowl.
One quick note before the article is that I talked to a lot of offensive lineman in this piece. I asked almost all of them about pass sets and topics like that. The reasoning is that the Colts run a very unique pass set that is very aggressive and relies on angle sets most of the time. So if you see a player talk highly about angle sets or say they ran them a lot in college, keep an eye on that player for the Colts. For more on the Colts’ unique pass sets, read this piece I wrote last summer about them: Howard Mudd Technique and how it works
Media Day Interviews
Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
Size: 6’8” 308 pounds
ZH: First thing I want to ask is regarding your pass sets. Do you prefer a vertical set, angle set, or a jump set in pass pro?
AT: It really depends, it depends where he lines up. Usually if he’s wide, I prefer a vertical set but if he is tight, I prefer a jump set just to stop his rush quick and end it quickly.
ZH: Would you switch it up against specific guys like for example would you change it up against a speed guy?
AT: If he is more of a speed type of guy, I would want to.... You know it depends. If he is real twitchy, I want it safe because you don’t want to jump a twitchy guy because he can beat you inside.
ZH: What would you say is the most important trait for a good tackle; feet, a good strike, long arms... what is the most important trait you can have?
AT: Feet. These Dlineman nowadays are so good with their hands but if you have good feet, you are always in the right position.
We talked briefly after the interview about Darius Leonard and Taylor obviously thinks very high of the superstar linebacker from his school
Here’s what an 88-inch wingspan looks like against a speed rush. That’s normally the reach equivalent of someone 7’4”. Length matters in football. @SCState_Fb OL Alex Taylor has it.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/F7817OAOJm— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 29, 2020
Ben Bartch, OT, Saint John University
Size: 6’5” 305 pounds
ZH: So you are going to play some guard and tackle this week, where did you mostly play at Saint Johns?
BB: I played tight end my first two years then I switched to offensive tackle my Junior and Senior year.
ZH: Did you guys learn jump sets, vertical sets, or angle sets at Saint John? Which did you prefer?
BB: We were allowed to switch it up. We called it smart sets so just whatever depending on down and distance, we were able to do what we wanted to do. I preferred angle though.
ZH: Which set would you do if you were facing a speed rusher on the outside?
BB: Typical angle set
While he was a man of very few words, we did talk a bit about angle sets off recording and we even went into our stances and talked about the advantages with them. Stock up in the Colts’ eyes.
Nice job by Ben Bartch against Terrell Lewis. Hand placement and that punch just ended the fight pic.twitter.com/PSGIrIvjNL— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 24, 2020
Jason Strowbridge, DE/DT, North Carolina
Size: 6’4” 267 pounds
Senior Stats: 44 tackles, 6 TFL, 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble
ZH: You played all over the place for North Carolina last year, playing some 3-tech (DT) and some 5-tech (DE). Where do you feel most comfortable?
JS: If I’m being honest, I feel most comfortable at 3-tech. I’m going to work at 5-tech (down in Mobile). I’ll get inside a few times mostly out on the edge this week.
ZH: Okay so let’s talk about 3-tech. You weighed in at 267 today, did you have to gain weight to get up to playing at a 3-tech position?
JS: When I first moved there, just out of necessity and coaches realizing the mismatch with me inside, they told me to add some weight if I wanted to stay there. So I bumped my weight up a little bit but I kept the speed and that helped a lot.
ZH: On the interior, how do you win as a pass rusher against those guards?
JS: Definitely hands and quickness. Hand placement is really key and getting on them quick. Then ball get off really, that cancels out a lot of things
ZH: You aren’t as big as traditional defensive tackles. How do you win or hold up in run defense with your smaller size?
JS: For me, it’s hands. Hands and controlling where you are. Leverage is always good but without your hands you can’t do anything.
Strowbridge went on to dominate the one on ones drills all week as he was energetic and quick on every rep.
UNC’s Jason Strowbridge showing elite strength pic.twitter.com/J1bau4495o— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 22, 2020
Matt Peart, OT, UCONN
Size: 6’6” 310 pounds
ZH: Which pass sets did you do primarily at UCONN? Or did you do multiple sets?
MP: We had to do multiple ones because you don’t want to be doing the same set all the time because the defense can key on that so we would change our sets up relative to the play so you aren’t giving away if your offense is doing three steps, five steps, play-action or what not.
ZH: Did you ever change it up according to the defender you were playing? For instance, how would you set against a speed rusher?
MP: Oh yeah of course. With speed rushers you are trying to beat them to a spot before they can get to that spot so it is all about getting out to them and intersecting their jump before they can get downhill on you. Basically he’s saying that he prefers angle sets in this situation.
ZH: Last question and I want to challenge you a bit. If you are the left tackle and you have to reach block a three tech, where is your first point of contact?
MP: I’m trying to shoot for the play side number then get my hat across the sternum and come down with my forearm to angle them out of the play.
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Size: 6’3” 257 pounds
Senior Stats: 41 tackles, 14 TFL, 13 sacks, and 1 forced fumble
ZH: I loved your film. You have a lot moves in your arsenal from the spin move to the dip/rip to the club, what would you say is your go-to move?
BA: Probably just starting with speed and then trying to swipe or club to get the oline’s hands off of me. That would be my go-to.
ZH: You use that club quite a bit. When do you know when to go to that club though? Is there something the tackle does that makes you start your club move?
BA: Yeah. If you get a great get-off the ball then he has no choice but to try and shoot his hands to interfere with you so you don’t beat him off the edge so once you have that get-off and make him shoot the hands, you just react and hit them with the club. The club bats that arm down and helps you come free so a lot of it is your get off and quick reaction. It requires a lot of practice and repetition though.
ZH: Last question, the spin move became part of your move set last season. Was that something before your Senior year that was a focus for you?
BA: I always knew how to spin so it was just a matter of putting it in on game day but it was pretty fun just doing it, seeing it, and getting sacks from it.
For more on Anae’s overall game, check out my breakdown of his skill set in this article I wrote over at Cover 1
Josh Uche (Michigan) and Bradlee Anae (Utah) have dominated the EDGE in this game pic.twitter.com/lxUVMKkoSr— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) January 25, 2020
Nick Harris, OC, Washington
Size: 6’1” 293 pounds
Click the link below to listen to the media day interview with Nick and to hear about his thoughts on his former coach (and current Colts’ Oline coach) Chris Strausser.
This is rare quicks from Washington center Nick Harris. Watch how quick he snaps & lands his punch. pic.twitter.com/2lIj39gYnc— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 22, 2020
Post Practice Interviews
These interviews are a bit shorter due to the limited time we had on the field so I apologize for the quick questions and answers in this section.
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Size: 6’2” 206 pounds
Senior Stats: 66 catches for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns
ZH: I saw you dominating the blocking drill over there. It was outstanding how you were dominating. Is that a big part of your game?
DM: Yes, yes it is a big part of my game. Besides me making unbelievable catches you know what I’m saying, blocking is something I really take pride in. I love to block, I love it and I’m gonna continue to block this against anybody.
ZH: How would you say your overall practice was today?
DM: I’d say I did pretty good for the first day. There are some things I need to improve out there but I did pretty good today.
Denzel Mims has had a strong week. Just grabbed this one-handed pass from Jordan Love in the end zone at Thursday’s Senior Bowl practice. pic.twitter.com/22GfuLekbi— ryan wilson (@ryanwilsonCBS) January 23, 2020
Kyle Dugger, SAF, Lenoir-Rhyne
Size: 6’0” 217 pounds
ZH: You have looked good out there all week. Are they playing you safety all week or are you going to get some looks at linebacker too?
KD: At first I was told that I would play both but I’ve been playing safety all week so far but we have one more practice and we’ll see what they want to do but I’ve been deep more than playing that strong safety position in the box.
ZH: Love how you’ve been coming downhill this week and playing fast. Was that a point of emphasis for you this week?
KD: I’m just trying to play fast man. We ran something completely different than this at school so I’m just trying to play what I know. I’ve seen this all the time even though we didn’t play but it’s still a very simple defense and I’m trying to play fast right now.
Yes, Kyle Dugger gets a little bit of jersey here, but that's not what is important here.— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) January 25, 2020
Look at the ground he's able to cover between the hashes to jump this route. A team is going to fall in love with his potential. pic.twitter.com/5Y3LSkvkT1
Troy Pride Jr, CB, Notre Dame
Size: 5’11” 193 pounds
Senior Stats: 40 tackles, 6 pass deflections, and 1 interception
Click the link below to listen to the post practice interview with Troy
Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. had himself a DAY in Mobile, some really impressive reps in one-on-ones. pic.twitter.com/yHlQnQGwNL— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) January 22, 2020
Khaleke Hudson, SAF, Michigan
Size: 5’11” 218 pounds
Senior Stats: 101 tackles, 3 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and a blocked punt
Click the link below to listen to the post practice interview with Khaleke