In case you haven't noticed, FBO has taken a back seat this year while I've focused more on other work (FFFF, GIFs, the hoops preview mag, etc.) and attempted to save my body the wear and tear that led to me barely hanging on through basketball season. Instead of spending my Fridays heading out to games, I've been looking for online streams of Michigan commits and other available film to break down. In that vein, if you're in the area of a U-M commit or target and are interested in filming a game for me to analyze, please email me.
Highland vs. East Overview
This game did not got well from Highland's standpoint, as the Rams coughed up seven(!) turnovers and managed just 128 yards of offense in a 29-7 loss. The defense barely had time to breathe between possessions and the turnovers repeatedly put them in tough situations:
Four of Highland’s six first-half possessions resulted in turnovers — two fumbles, two interceptions — and East’s average starting field position on those four drives was Highland’s 31-yard line.
Good teams make a living punishing mistakes, and East did just that.
After missing a field goal following their first takeaway, the Leopards punched the next three into the end zone to open up a 22-0 halftime lead.
East's triple-option attack allowed them to largely avoid Mone on the interior while hitting the edge or utilizing play-action to move the ball down the field—the star of the game was one of East's wing-backs, Malakai Solovi, who rushed 104 yards and a pair of TDs as Highland repeatedly lost contain. The Rams offense was unable to generate anything even when they weren't giving away possessions, leading to a rote blowout.
Bryan Mone Film
Film courtesy of WATCHit Network, which has the whole game available on YouTube.
This is just about every snap of Mone on defense (he also played several snaps at offensive guard, and a couple late cuts to the action made it impossible to see him on a couple defensive snaps). As you'll see, the plays are broken down into categories. This is when I note that I'm not a coach or even a former player, so if I've filed something as good that's actually bad, or vice versa, please point out my error in the comments.
Apologies for some of the quick cuts and hard-to-read descriptions; next time I'll leave more room between snaps so it's easier to point out a player and add commentary. If you have any suggestions for the format, as always, let me know in the comments.
[Further impressions from the film can be found below THE JUMP.]
You'll note from the video that East spent most of the day trying to cut block Mone, as blocking him head-up usually did not go well. I came away impressed with Mone's balance, as he was able to keep his feet the majority of the time; while the split-second it took for him to shed the cut-block often allowed East to get the edge, that's more on the rest of the Highland defense than Mone—there's only so much one defensive tackle can do, especially when the vast majority of plays are heading to the outside.
When East did attempt to run up the middle, Mone met them with great resistance; he holds the point of attack very well and for the most part did a good job of using his hands to disengage and make a play on the ballcarrier. His brute strength and sheer size make him very tough to move, even with a double team.
Mone showed off solid pass-rushing skills, as well. Much of his rush came simply from getting his hands into the opposing lineman and pushing the pocket back; even if this didn't result in any sacks, it allowed Mone's teammates to get pressure off the edge. He also did an impressive job of "getting skinny"—finding gaps in the line and breaking through before the OL could close on him, often utilizing a quick swim move. Between the swim and the bull rush, Mone boasts two effective pass-rushing moves that complement each other well.
Given that the defense was on the field for most of the game—and Mone also took snaps on offense—I thought he displayed a very high motor; he rarely gave up on plays even if they were downfield, and at no point did it seem like he took a snap off. He was quick off the snap throughout the game—usually the first Highland lineman to get out of his stance and get his hands into his blocker.
In a few instances, East successfully cut Mone to the ground, and those plays usually ended in very successful runs. This doesn't concern me a great deal given that he was able to keep his feet the majority of the time and very few college offenses (save Air Force) cut block with that much regularity.
I would've liked to see Mone finish a couple more plays in the backfield; his pursuit speed left something to be desired, though I'm not sure how much of that should be blamed on his athleticism versus getting worn down while playing almost every defensive snap.
For the most part, Mone executed his assignment; on a couple plays, however, he got through the line and hit someone who didn't have anything to do with the play—you can see one of them at the 6:20 mark. Going against a triple-option offense is tough, but play recognition may be an area in need of some work.
You'll be shocked to see that Mone's pad level needs work, just like very other high school defensive lineman in the history of ever. I like how low he gets in his stance and the quickness with which he fires off the ball; too often, however, he pops right up instead of driving into the offensive lineman and getting under his pads. When Mone kept his pad level low, he consistently moved the pocket; when he didn't, he was a non-factor.
I thought Mone lived up to his recruiting rankings. He's enough of a force that East's gameplan clearly revolved around staying the hell away from him, using cut-blocks to hold him up just long enough to allow a quick hitter to the edge, whether on the ground or through the air. Mone's strength is apparent on film, and for a defensive tackle he possesses plenty of quickness and overall athleticism. The fact that he brought 100% effort until the final gun despite being on the wrong end of a blowout speaks highly of his motor and desire.
Mone's size and stoutness against the run mean he's probably ticketed for nose tackle; I could also see him rotating in as an oversized three-tech given his skill-set—keep in mind that he played defensive end for Highland as recently as last year, and his ability to disrupt plays in the backfield is apparent. I think he's a nose that Greg Mattison would consider keeping on the field against spread teams, something he hasn't been comfortable doing with Quinton Washington, more of a pure run defender.