Arizona’s task against Iowa: Stop those ‘big dudes’ up frontby Anthony Gimino on Sep. 13, 2010, under Sports
The first thing you need to know about Phillip Garcia is that he’s a big dude. The Arizona Wildcats senior right tackle is 6 feet 7 inches tall. He’s 330 pounds. I’m guessing he has the largest hat size of anyone I’ve ever known.
A big dude.
He took a seat in front of a reporters Monday and starting talking about Iowa’s defensive line and how they compare to other defenders he’s seen. That’s when the big dude couldn’t stop saying “Big dude.”
Yes, Iowa’s defensive line — rated No. 1 in the nation in the preseason by Lindy’s College Football Annuals — has a lot of big (and, oh yeah, really, really good) dudes.
“They’re big, strong physical guys,” Garcia said.
Takes one to know one?
Iowa’s four returning starters from last season — ends Adrian Clayborn (6-4, 285) and Broderick Binns (6-2, 261), and tackles Karl Klug (6-4, 270) and Christian Ballard (6-5, 297) — combined for 27 sacks and 52 tackles for loss in 2009. They are all seniors.
Given that, the Hawkeyes don’t have to do anything fancy in defending the pass. Turn those four loose up front and then devote everybody else to choking off the passing lanes. And having a safety like Tyler Sash helps a little, too.
“Anytime you can pressure with four like they can, they can cover you up pretty good,” Arizona coach Mike Stoops said.
The biggest dude of the Iowa front, at least figuratively, is Clayborn, a monster at end, an NFL prototype. The Wildcats’ chances Saturday against visiting Iowa would have been a whole lot better if he had taken the money and become a first-round pick after his junior season.
Clayborn had 12 tackles, three for loss, against Ohio State last season. He blocked a punt against Penn State and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown. He was the MVP of the Orange Bowl after making nine tackles, with two sacks, in a victory over Georgia Tech.
He had a sack, three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble against Arizona last season.
Get the impression that he gets up for big games?
I asked Stoops how Clayborn compares to any of the defensive ends he’s seen in the Pac-10.
“He’s so big. Wow, I don’t know if we have anybody,” Stoops said.
“Maybe a couple of years ago with those linemen from USC. He’s just big and mobile. That’s the thing that really makes him the player that he is. It’s not the great size that he has. It’s just his mobility at that size which makes him an effective player.
“And I think the other guys make him effective, too. They’re good across the board. This is an extremely talented group. They remind you a lot of Nebraska in some ways.”
You remember how well that turned out. (Or maybe you’ve been trying to forget.)
“We didn’t handle that very well,” Stoops said of being the Cornhuskers’ chew toy in the 33-0 Holiday Bowl loss. “We’re going to have to be better than we were against a team that presents four guys like these guys.”
These big dudes.
More from me on Arizona-Iowa at FoxSportsArizona.com:
Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi a ‘nightmare’