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Notre Dame Football

ND Vs...Georgia D-Lineman Trenton Thompson

June 4, 2017
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In an ideal world, all college football teams would stay intact before the biggest games. Rosters would be healthy on both sides and there would be no suspensions, no academic casualties, and it would simply be best versus best. It rarely works out that way, but I wish it would.

It looked like it might not work out that way for Georgia when they planned to visit South Bend this fall. Their best defensive lineman, junior Trenton Thompson, was forced to withdraw from classes due to health issues and his status was unclear for quite awhile, though, he was around the team in the spring.

Fortunately, head coach Kirby Smart updated Thompson's status in the middle of March and informed everyone that he was doing well and would re-enroll in classes in the summer.

A former 5 star recruit, Thompson had a solid sophomore season with 56 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, and 5 sacks, but had a spectacular finish in Georgia's bowl game. He had 3 of his sacks in that game alone and started to show exactly why he was so highly touted coming out of high school.

It looked like he was on the verge of big things this season and he could be again now that he is back in school. Assuming everything goes smoothly this summer, he is going to be a huge factor that the Irish offensive line will have to deal with this September. It will be best on best and it should be a fun match up to watch.

He'll line up inside and out


It's not going to be a simple as Thompson lining up against Quenton Nelson every play, although they will go head to head quite a bit. Georgia will have Thompson line up everywhere from a 5 technique end to a straight up nose guard. He may be lined up as a 3 technique against Alex Bars on one play and then be directly opposite Mike McGlinchey the next. The entire line will have to deal with him.

Here he is inside shade of the right tackle and working through that shoulder on an inside run play. He is a bull at the point of attack. Although he needs to do a better job of not getting caught up with his man, he only needs one arm to bring the ball carrier down on this particular play.

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This is later in the game and he is lined up head up on the center. Sometimes Sam Mustipher might have to single block him, but they are slanting him to left here and he can be effective with it because of his athleticism. He moves extremely well laterally and this kind of line game is perfect for him because he somtimes get stuck with his blocker when he rushes straight up.

Quarterback Kenny Hill can't get outside of him and Thompson ends up with the sack. He turns back inside to rush the corner, but is able to keep contain.

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Constant motor


One thing I was incredibly impressed with is the fact that Thompson wasn't taking plays off against TCU. His motor was outstanding and he was hustling to the football all the time. Not many 309 pound individuals are going to run down the line to make a tackle from the backside like he did here.

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He is not a perfect technician, but when a big and nimble guy like him plays that motivated, it's going to present a challenge each and every play.

Disruption equals production


Rotoworld's NFL Draft analyst Josh Norris has a saying that "disruption equals production". It's a fancy way of saying that a defensive lineman that plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage is going to cause a ton of havoc. Even considering that Georgia frequently has him in a frog stance, which isn't exactly conducive to an explosive get off, Thompson still can fire off the ball and knife into the backfield.

He had 3 sacks in the TCU game, but could have had 4 if he finished here.

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He is raw as a pass rusher, but does a nice job of lifting up the inside arm of the right guard to get to Hill. He escapes, but is forced to scramble and that allows Lorenzo Carter to strip him of the football. It was then recovered by Georgia.

None of that happens without the disruption that Thompson caused on the play. Even when he doesn't make the sack or the tackle for loss, he can still help his teammates out with them cleaning up the play.

All five guys on the line are going to have to deal with Thompson and they can't let him be a disruptive presence like he was versus TCU. Last season Notre Dame did not do a good job of handling impact linemen like Michigan State's Malik McDowell and Stanford's Solomon Thomas. They'll need it to be different this season against a guy who can be a game wrecker like Thompson.
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