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Notre Dame Football

Scouting the Roster: Te'Von Coney

June 26, 2017
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Player name: Te’Von Coney

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 235

Player position: Linebacker

Years of eligibility left: 2

Projected rank on the depth chart: Competing to start at Buck

Player productivity so far:

2016: 61 tackles 1.5 TFL 1 QB hurry

2015: 13 tackles 0.5 TFL

What player does best: Coney is an instinctive and physical football player. There is a lot of old school to his game in the way he fills versus the inside run. He’s not the biggest guy, but he does a pretty good job working his way through the trash to find the football and he is often a knock-back tackler.

Although he hasn’t shown much productivity in coverage in terms of pass breakups or interceptions, I think he made good strides in coverage last fall. He changes directions fairly well and his anticipation allows him to run with crossers. He puts the defense in a good position by not allowing yards after the catch and can handle running backs in man to man.

Coney showed a knack on Green Dog blitzes last season and took advantage of when he had a back in man coverage that stayed in to block. He recognizes that and other things quickly and that’s probably his greatest strength as a player. He sees a play developing and doesn’t hesitate and it makes up for him not being a guy with 4.5 speed.

What player needs to work on: I mentioned that he does a good job of working through the trash, but I’d like to see him strike more with his hands to defeat blocks. He needs to be a bit quicker in that sense because he isn’t going to win a battle against a 320 pound guard head to head too often.

I expected more from Coney as a blitzer last season. I mentioned that he did well with some Green Dogs, but I didn’t see him win enough in regular blitzes whether it was a timing or a getting skinny issue. I thought it was something he was going to excel at after seeing him succeed as a recruit doing it, so we’ll see if he can improve his pass rushing this season.

He’ll need to improve that and make more plays on the ball in coverage to prove he can be a 3 down player and not be taken out during sub-packages.

Productivity of former ND players and top players in the nation at his position:

Jaylon Smith 2015: 114 tackles 9 TFL 1 sack 5 PBU 6 QB hurries 1 forced fumble

Ben Boulware Clemson: 116 tackles 11.5 TFL 4 sacks 2 PBU 1 INT 3 forced fumbles

Jayon Brown UCLA: 120 tackles 7 TFL 2.5 sacks 3 INT 6 PBU 1 QB hurry

Roquan Smith Georgia: 95 tackles 5 TFL 1 PBU 3 QB hurries 2 forced fumbles

Jerome Baker Ohio State: 83 tackles 9.5 TFL 3.5 TFL 2 INT

What can we hope for? With all due respect to the player he is competing with at Buck (Greer Martini), I think we can hope for Coney to take the next step and secure the job for himself. It would be a natural progression from backing up Jaylon Smith as a freshman and then splitting the job for most of last season at Will.

In order to do that, he needs to start making more plays close to or behind the line of scrimmage. It would be big to see him make more impact plays and have his tackles for losses, sacks, and pass deflections take off. In other words, we can hope for more havoc from Coney.

The goal would be for him to be as productive of former Wake Forest linebacker Brandon Chubb who played Buck in Mike Elko’s defense. If he’s the full-time starter then approaching triple digits in tackles with anywhere from 6-9 tackles for loss mixed in would be something to shoot for.

What is a realistic expectation? It’s probably more of a realistic expectation that he and Martini will split duties at Buck and that means his numbers won’t be outstanding. That doesn’t mean we can’t expect him to make more of an impact, though.

It’s realistic to think Coney will make more plays and his combined numbers with Martini will look good. Even if you take a look at last season, they combined for 116 tackles. It was just that Martini was able to make more of a difference when it came to sacks and tackles for loss. I think Coney can close that gap between them this year, but maybe not enough to win the job outright.

I have no doubt that Coney will play a lot of snaps this season and have at least a couple of very productive games at Buck. It’s fair to think he will be better than he was in 2016 and he was solid the majority of the time last fall.

What about the future? The future is going to be interesting with Coney. I think there is a strong possibility he could be a captain in 2018 and he could potentially be the starter at Mike or Buck with Martini and Nyles Morgan gone.

Notre Dame should have a crowded depth chart at that time in terms of numbers, but Coney will be the veteran. How he performs this season will largely tell us if he is going to be considered a high-level linebacker that should be set up for a massive senior year or if he will mostly be a guy that provides solid play and stability at the position as the younger linebackers gain more experience.

The likely scenario is that it probably fits somewhere between those two possibilities, but if I had to bet on one I would put money down on him being set up for a great senior season under linebacker coach Clark Lea.
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