Insomnia and Oregano: Brent Venables recaps young defensive line's spring

by - Senior Writer -
Tyler Davis impressed Venables during the spring
Tyler Davis impressed Venables during the spring

There are no shortcuts for Brent Venables.

Venables will have a young defensive line in 2019, and while some players have limited experience, there is no amount of seasoning he can use to get them ready. They have to learn as they go.

We have had a lot of seasoned guys here in the past. But these guys aren’t seasoned,” Venables said. “There is no oregano or pepper we can throw on them. There is a lot of prep work to do.”

The Tigers were without veteran defensive tackles Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams during the spring as both players recovered from injuries. Those injuries allowed a lot of those younger players to gain valuable reps in practice.

“Everybody would have gotten reps had those guys been out there, but after the injuries, they got overwhelmed with reps in a good way,” Venables said. “This is a developmental game, and that is how you improve is through failure. There have been some great opportunities and some constant learning moments for these guys. It is a blessing in disguise, but you sure would have liked to have had them out there because they need to continue to develop as well.

“But they have played enough and have enough wisdom, and they will be ok. And this gives those news guys a chance to take up the slack with the number of reps. We had to work hard with the rep count and getting those guys into that kind of shape, but that has been a good part of it as well.”

Who are some of the younger players that took strides this spring?

“A guy that is still a young player but has been the model of consistency is Logan Rudolph. He knows how to play winning football. He is a really good leader,” Venables said. “I think defensive tackle Tyler Davis had an easy transition. He still has a lot of work to do, but you can tell he’s played football since he came out of his momma’s womb. He is very heavy-handed and plays fast from a low position. He knows how to use leverage and how to play fast. Xavier Kelly made some progress this spring. We are transitioning him from the outside to inside.

“And then we have Insomnia – the Nigerian Nightmare. That is what we call them now. We had a lot of fun with them in recruiting. We went to Kansas City and got Etinosa Rueben – we call him ET, and he is a twitchy and athletic defensive tackle. And then we have Ruke Orhorhoro, who is from Detroit. Both of them are learning to play defensive tackle because they played defensive end in high school. They are learning to play the game.”

A pair of young defensive ends also earned praise.

Logan Cash is another young player. He led the state of Georgia in sacks the last couple of years. He is playing defensive end, and he is very heavy-handed and natural in his movement,” Venables said. “Justin Mascoll is one of the guys we redshirted last year. He is long and athletic, twitchy, can really bend and has a high motor. He is a guy you will hear a lot from.”

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