Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taking a Defensive Stance - The 'True' Linemen

“I remember we used to put him on offense at tight end sometimes, and had two 97-yard touchdowns in a row in one game,” Steve Parr, Ziggy Hood’s coach at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo said. “He’d pull from the back side and he’d block two people each time.”

Parr also said the team would line Hood up in the backfield a la Refrigerator Perry and the then-220-pounder would bowl his way through opposing defenses and rack up a few touchdowns on his own.

For Parr, having coached a player like Hood comes in handy even if he isn’t there. “They always seem to use him as an example of someone who’s succeeded,” Young said. “It’s always good to have someone everyone knows to use as an example to younger kids and show them what he had to do to get there.” “He comes back and he’ll share with our kids what he’s learned,” Parr said. “It’s so neat because of his unselfishness. We have some coaches here who have gone on to other places, and he’ll go there, too. He’s got time for everyone in his past."

Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski said Hood is a dream to coach.

"Ziggy's motor on the field never stops," Kuligowski said. "He not only listens and is coachable, he learns quickly and nobody works harder. He is the first to arrive and the last to leave. The story I like to tell about Ziggy is when we run sprints, he runs with our receivers and running backs. None of our other lineman are athletic enough to dare do that."

Hood shrugs that off, saying: "I'm just trying to better myself. I've learned the harder you work the easier the game is.

"(Coach Kuligowski) is a cool man to be around. He taught me so many things when I got there. Hopefully, I will be able to share that with somebody else."

Peria Jerry's football career started out as a secret held apart from his father, who disapproved, and thought his children should be working at home, cleaning chicken coops, instead of playing a game. But his mother saw structure in the sport and would do the chores for him while his father was at work.

Jerry's high school coach said that Peria (pronounced pa-RAY) was so dominant he had to be held out of practice so the offense could get some work in. But then, faced with new hardships, Peria became wild and undisciplined. His acts of rage and disobedience got him kicked off the team. He stayed out of trouble and got back on the following year, gaining 104 tackles, a state championship, and Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year recognition. But lousy grades from his troubled years were enough to hold him out of contention for a scholarship and he ended up at Military school where he focused in on football and let the rigid confines of the school take care of his grades. Enough so to get to Ole Miss.

"Peria Jerry is the toughest player who's ever come here," Prunty (Hargrave Prep Coach) says. "Peria Jerry is mean."

"Off the field, Peria is one of the most pleasant kids you can ever be around," Houston Nutt says. "Great smile. Happy. Having a good time. Great in the locker room. But I tell you what: Once that whistle blows, he has a different mentality. He can be violent. Violent."

Jarron Gilbert could sneak into the first round of the draft. While projected to go much lower (about 15 to 20 spaces down the board) the truth is, there are VERY few big fellas rated as first day picks. So if a team wants one, they're going to have to reach for one. I constantly get asked about why I don't see Robert Ayers going in the first round, as he is usually projected in mock drafts. It's because I don't see him getting any bigger than he is. He's already gained 50 to 60 lbs in 4 years. Could he really add any more? Gilbert, on the other hand, started out big, is big, and could get even bigger. I don't know much about his history, because any google search on this guy will give 20,000 links to stories about him jumping out of a pool. But it's my general rule of thumb that a first day draft prospect with no negative comments said about him, even by detractors, probably has nothing negative in his closet.

These 3 guys are the only first-day defensive linemen who aren't named Ron Brace that might be available to the Dolphins. BJ Raji and Tyson Jackson will be gone, and I honestly see Robert Ayers switching to 3-4 OLB if he's going to be successful. I know he's listed at 272lbs, but I watched tape on the guy and it didn't look like he was playing any heavier than 260 on a good day.

Would you guys be happy with any of these guys or do you prefer one over the others?

Remember to check back later for the Tins Fins inaugural reader competition.

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