Future Blue Originals: Flint Southwestern vs. Davison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 21st, 2016 at 12:06 PM


Deron Irving-Bey: very large human [Nasternak/MGoBlog]

The crystal ball may not reflect it just yet, but it seems that Michigan’s interest in Flint Southwestern SDE Deron Irving-Bey has risen of late, and vice versa. David and I took the opportunity to travel to Davison to take in the best game left on Irving-Bey’s schedule; Davison’s long been a local power with good linemen, and they had a right tackle who could provide something of a challenge for Irving-Bey.

Though lining up across from Davison RT Zach Slezak did provide an intriguing, back-and-forth matchup, the game itself was, uh, not as intriguing. Southwestern fell to Davison 42-6, dropping them to 0-4 on the season. Davison was perfectly content to hand the ball to running back Tariq Reid, a 2018 recruit who has exploded this season with 16 TDs in four games and a 200+ yard per game average. He understandably spent most of the game running to the side opposite the defense’s only D-I recruit. Irving-Bey did what he could to get involved in stopping the run; whether this was at the expense of his pass rush is a question for a different game, but he did look good in pursuit. That was good for Irving-Bey as it relates to our scouting, but infrequent enough that it was ultimately inconsequential for Southwestern considering the numerous other paths Davison had to the end zone.  

[After THE JUMP: Irving-Bey video and scouting]



2017 SDE #52 Deron Irving-Bey (M offer)

An inauspicious start quickly turned positive before the first snap of the highlight video even ended; Irving-Bey looked like he lost his block after being double teamed on the first play, but as the RT falls off he ragdolls the TE and closes quickly on the running back. That’s when things got weird.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have no idea what’s happening from 00:27 to 1:03 of the above video, and I won’t pretend to. These plays are ordered chronologically, and though two nothing snaps were excluded it’s worth noting to dispel any notion that I might have created a weird cut-block supercut. I asked Ace if he’d ever seen anything like this in his time scouting and he hadn’t, though he posited that Irving-Bey might have been doing so to prevent the tackle from jetting out on a screen. A review of the tape shows no screens, so…[shruggie]. Some of their other D-linemen were doing it at various points in the game, so I think it’s a coaching thing. I guess it could ostensibly be to cut down the O-linemen and prevent them from getting to the second level, thus keeping the linebackers clean. I’m not sure.

When they weren’t running left from under center, Davison liked to option Irving-Bey. Leaving him unblocked didn’t work out that well, as he was able to quickly get into the backfield and identify the ballcarrier. His on-field awareness was obvious; 1:41 is a good example, as he takes out a TE without losing track of the RB, then has to pick through garbage and pursue to the opposite sideline. Irving-Bey was strong in the run game, often getting off a block and initiating or assisting on a tackle (good examples come at 2:26 and 2:35). When he made contact he stuck, wrapping up a back and pulling him down instead of trying to pop someone shoulder-first.

Irving-Bey didn’t display any pass rush moves, and he really didn’t get much push. While Irving-Bey didn’t outright lose a block more than a handful of times, he often fought Slezak to a stalemate. That’s not all that alarming, as Slezak is 6’4”, 275 pounds, and moves well. The play at 2:15 is representative of quite a few that didn’t make the final cut.

Even when Slezak (or Slezak and a TE) got a solid block on Irving-Bey, there was a chance he’d escape. One of Irving-Bey’s best assets is his athleticism, and he uses that well when the opposition is engaged. At 1:55 he’s doubled and shoved off the line, but he’s able to use their momentum against them, swimming over and getting off the block. At 2:55 the right tackle gets under Irving-Bey’s pads, but he’s able to spin off the block and would probably have a shot at getting to the running back if he hadn’t tripped over his own teammate. At 3:03 Slezak appears to blow back Irving-Bey, but Irving-Bey uses his momentum against him to fling him out of the way before absorbing and bouncing off another block and wrapping up the RB. There’s a nice blend of football IQ and athletic ability at work in these clips.

Irving-Bey’s going to have to get stronger at the point of attack in college. That’s not a huge surprise; like improving pad level, most SDEs need to get stronger when they get to college. The other thing that didn’t particularly stand out in this viewing was Irving-Bey’s quickness off the snap. He wasn’t much faster off the ball than his teammates, but he was able to make up for some of that with his ability to escape blocks, recognize, and pursue. At 6’5” and 282 pounds, Irving-Bey has the frame of a Big Ten strongside defensive end. The elements of his game that stand out are the ones that are most difficult to improve and certainly the ones that take longer to develop; he’s a guy who may have redshirted under a past regime simply to add muscle, but who might get limited snaps should he end up a freshman Anchor in a Don Brown defense because of his ability to diagnose plays.



September 21st, 2016 at 12:22 PM ^

I graduated from Flint Southwestern a few years ago. The program is...bad. A total of four wins since Mark Ingram graduated. A combination of poor coaching and academic standards (at one point you needed a 3.0 or better to attend, which is increasingly rare in the inner city schools. You also had to WANT to attend instead of your local Flint school)

That being said, it isn't a surprise with the questionable technique of cutting the OL. And not a surprise in the slightest that he has a lot of coaching up to look forward to. Even when Ingram was there, the coaching was questionable. Mostly relied on handing the ball to Mark.

This is one of the classic situations where a player being bigger than everyone else and also more athletic gives him a leg up and makes him a top level prospect. But also means he is extremely raw and hasn't received proper coaching up to this point.

He is going to be one of those high upside, raw prospects that will take a few years to see the field.


September 21st, 2016 at 3:05 PM ^

I went to Flint Central my freshman year, then they closed the school. So I ended up at Flint Southwestern. I was intending to play football, but the coach insisted I try out at QB instead of RB. I guess they frowned upon white 5'9" 170 lb running backs at predominantly African American schools, and because I was white I MUST be a good passer.

Long story short, I stuck with baseball instead. A sport we were actually worse at than football and made all-Valley my Junior and Senior season with a .493 batting average. Next highest on the team was .131. ''Twas a long season.


September 21st, 2016 at 2:21 PM ^

and yeah... Southwestern was VERY poorly coached. They had guys taking plays off about every other one. I would put more stock into camp film, if he has some.

Davison, on the other hand, is very good. They also talked nonstop shit before, during, and after the game, even though we stomped them.

'Twas a priceless experience.

Mr. Elbel

September 21st, 2016 at 7:09 PM ^

Yeah I graduated in 2009. not many people understand the hatred for Davison anymore since we don't really play. not a huge fan of powers either for obvious reasons, except that they actually beat the cards. our church is right on Richfield on the border of the districts, so that only further enhanced the rivalry since half my friends were cards.


September 21st, 2016 at 3:42 PM ^

Was really poorly taught/excecuted submarining. Usually used in youth football to avoid getting blown back by a double team. I've seen it once before in highschool, we were playing a much smaller school and we had a 300 and 320lb guards and they had like 200lb DTS and they knew we were going to pump the ball down their throat so they just submarined instead of getting pushed 5 yards back. But there is no reason a D1 prospect should be doing that at all. That's a technique to use if you're greatly outmatched physically. Although maybe after watching that first play and the play at the 2:05 mark...


September 21st, 2016 at 11:00 PM ^

we had our defensive line do a similar move to that regardless of stature. The intention is to stop a zone blocking team from being able to get out in space and create havoc. We ran a 3-3 stack that relied on stopping the run.The DL would bear crawl basically throught the outside thigh pad of the guard or tackle, and the nose would have to dominate the center. The only team we ran it much against had 4 division 1 OL on their squad and two of them "play" in the NFL (practice squad). So it works with good coaching, but thats some dogshit right there.