Future Blue Originals: Bryan Mone

Submitted by Ace on September 27th, 2013 at 4:02 PM

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.



September 27th, 2013 at 4:21 PM ^

He needs speed. If you run away from him, he isn't going to catch anyone. If he can blow up a play by getting into the backfield and some one cleans up, that will be great. Pipkins had great lateral movement and sideline to sideline pursuit speed in hghschool. I didn't see much of that on the higlights of that game. Is he slated for defense?

Ron Utah

September 27th, 2013 at 4:28 PM ^

Mone is obviously a force to be reckoned with.  He does a nice job making himself small and penetrating, plays to the whistle, and has good quickness off the ball.

His speed, even for a DT, is lacking.  I think he's probably 10-20 lbs. too heavy right now.  I see him exclusively at NT in college, and hope he works to refine his physique a bit.  I think he'll be an amazing player and am excited to have him.  If he can pick-up even a little speed by dropping some weight, he's a game-changer for sure.


September 27th, 2013 at 5:05 PM ^

One of the things seems to be he doesn't keep any kind of momentum after he beats that first block.  He crushes right through the line and then he's just kind of standing there, trying to find the ball, and once he figures out that the ball carrier is headed for the edge he has to get his body back up to speed.  Better vision will let him come crashing through at full speed instead of needing to pause and figure out what is going on.  Lots of wasted steps there, which in some instances comes close to letting the offensive linemen pick him back up.


September 27th, 2013 at 11:25 PM ^

Not sure I understand the criticism saying he doesn't have the speed or awareness to catch a guy going to the edge.  The runner was already to the LOS by the time Mone got into the backfield on most plays so where was he supposed to carry his momentum?  And why would you be counting on your DT to catch a runner heading for the sideline?  That play Pipkins had in the UA all american game (which I'm sure is what was being referenced above regarding lateral quickness) was an anomaly.  How many times is a NT going to need to make that play in a season?  Probably less than 10, maybe even 5.  Not saying Mone is a 1st rounder right now, but if we have some DEs that get get pressure while Mone is blowing up the pocket, we'll having a lot of success.  We've heard the coaches reference the need for pressure up the middle in order for the DEs to be effective all offseason.  Mone is pressure up the middle.

Low Key Recidivist

September 28th, 2013 at 10:02 AM ^

Granted that Mone doesn't appear to be a quick twitch athlete like Pipkins or Hurst Jr., but can't expect a DT to chase down a dual threat QB inside out.  There was absolutely no contain from the defensive ends on any of the plays he got penetration.  Once Baez got outside of the tackle box, it was all over. 

Also, not like he was rushing against John Navarre; the kid could move. 


September 27th, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

Hey Ace, I'm not one who follows recruiting as well as everyone, and you do have the "Bryan Mone" tag on this post, but a small synopsis of the recruit couldn't hurt and would add to this post. If you had something like:

"Bryan Mone, DT, X-Star, Class of XX, Committed/M Lean/Whatever" up top I think it'd be a nice little addition to a good breakdown.

Give some info at a glance.


September 27th, 2013 at 5:29 PM ^

I think it will be tough for him to see anytime at the 3tech behind Poggi and perhaps Wormley.  I think thats where Wormley ends up staying in the future with the talented DE depth we'll have in the years to come.


September 27th, 2013 at 9:40 PM ^

I agree with most posters here. He does seem rather slow which doesn't set too well for any position on D outside the most interior of all DLine spots. But Brady, despite not having a great lifetime win loss record prior to coming here, spent most of his years as HC building up moribund programs into conference champs then taking on another challenge.  ^I saw some good things on this film, mainly strength and hand quickness. He seemed very adept at warding off cut blocks and the OL attempting to do so usually found themselves on their butt with his hands on top of their shoulder pads. That's an excellent sign. While not ideal for every spot along the DLine, due to the speed issues, I did see a couple of plays where he was able to gain penetration by making himself skinny and sliding in between two blockers.  We are getting to the point now that we can enjoy the luxury of RSing almost any position we want and he needs that year.          ^The one thing I've learned about coaching is every coach, at every level, sees something in certain players they like whereas others might pass on them. And I won't apologize for backing every UM coach who holds the title at any given time. Brady was a DLmen and his position coach along with the coordinator, I'm guessing, are normally in agreement on a player when it comes to offering scholarships. I see this kid as being a three year contributor and probably having strong to very strong 3rd and 4th years. His quick hands and certain gains in strength and technique could very well make him a Will Johnson type, holding his gap assignments well and allowing quicker DLmen and lbers to clean up. A Good one, I think.


September 27th, 2013 at 10:11 PM ^

There's always a guy or two in every class that I follow closely and root for just because of the person that they are and the character they have. I'm looking forward to watching his career play out here.


September 28th, 2013 at 1:17 PM ^

I actually like this format over the old "Creeper Van/ Future Blue Originals". I like being able to watch a large percentage of the plays and THEN get your analysis.  Additionally, I also like being able to watch some of the more distant prospects instead of the 10 or so within reasonable driving distance.


September 28th, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

he seems like he should move over to the offensive side of the ball. every good defensive player has one thing in common, a relentless motor and ability to get after people with acceleration. this includes NTs. his strength and first step would still be incredible assets on the OL