Tom Strobel: Three Tech

Submitted by Blazefire on April 16th, 2013 at 12:02 AM

So this is something I pulled out of the presser with Mattison:

Tom Strobel is a guy we’re very very happy with at the end of spring because here’s a guy that plays the 5-technique and because of an injury, we moved him to the three.

I thought this was an interesting quote and bore further examination, since I hadn't heard anything about him being moved to three-tech prior to this.

For the uninitiated, the difference between Three Tech and Five Tech is as follows (Descriptions from Touch the Banner):

Alignment: 5-technique, which is on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle
Gap responsibility: C gap (between offensive tackle and tight end)
What should he look like? It's only a matter of semantics, but head coach Brady Hoke and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison appear to be referring to this position as the 5-technique defensive tackle.  Don't get caught up in the terminology - the term "5-tech" is more important than whatever comes after it.  This player needs to be able to stand up to double-teams by the tight end and tackle, which will come with some regularity.  He also needs to be able to rush the passer when the tight end releases or when the offense goes to the spread.
Best physical fit: Ryan Van Bergen (6'6", 283 lbs.)

Alignment: 3-technique, which is on the outside shoulder of the weakside guard
Gap responsibility: B gap (between weakside guard and tackle)
What should he look like?  Rather than size, the key at this position is the ability to get penetration.  Whether it's by brute strength or pure quickness, it doesn't really matter.  Most running plays go to an offense's strength, which means the 3-tech is expected to play the B gap while simultaneously squeezing the A gap and trying to prevent cutbacks.  In passing situations, the 3-tech ought to be able to beat a single block (typically the guard) and push the pocket.  Because of the job description, players of various shapes and sizes can play the 3-tech.  Albert Haynesworth was a great 3-tech at 6'6" and 335 lbs., but so was Warren Sapp at 6'2" and 300 lbs.
Best physical fits: Mike Martin (6'2", 299 lbs.) and William Campbell (6'5", 333 lbs.)

So, according to Mattison, because there was some form of injury (though I don't recall of hearing about any injury to a DT), Strobel came inside. Can Strobel play the 3-Tech? Does this move make any sense? Lets find out.


Player Size Weight
Tom Strobel 6'6" 262

According to, Strobel is currently 262 and 6'6".vs. the ideal 6:2", 299 lbs Mike Martin or 6'5" 333 Lbs William Cambell, this id not particularly good. However, Albert Haynesworth played very, very well at 3-Tech at 6'6", 335 lbs, so if Strobel can add 40 lbs from last update by start of RS Frosh year, not an unreasonable goal for a 6'6" guy, he's got a chance to fit the right mold, more or less.

However, if he's going to be Albert Haynesworth, we'd better ensure that he really does fit that mold. First of all, what does it take to be a three tech?

A: Ability to get penetration.

Unfortunately, according to scout, his areas for improvement before signing were strength and technique & moves. These are two key attributes that a player uses to get penetration. However, his highlight tape does reveal great speed for beating his man whenever not blocked properly or by design.

So, if he can add the necessary bulk to be a bull rusher, there is always the chance. Lets compare that with what he's leaving behind by leaving the 5-Tech spot.

Unfortunately, the 50 Tech sounds like a great fit for the Tom Strobel that is, a speed rusher, tall enough to take on most TE's, that can also speed rush whenever given the opportunity. There's not much to say here. Tom Strobel already really fit the role of 5-tech well, and I have trouble seeing moving a somewhat slight guy to 3-tech as a great option.

As a caveat, I came today from a funeral, and I am drunk. Perhaps there's something I'm missing. What do you guys think?



April 16th, 2013 at 12:30 AM ^

Yeah it seems pretty odd that Strobel was the one moved inside. We all knew one of the 5/3 tech type guys we brought in for 2012 would move inside (Wormley, Godin, Strobel), but it's strange the one seemingly least fit got reps there. However, they may feel his ultimate position is there and he's just getting early reps. When Tressel offered him, it was for the 3-tech spot by the way, so our coaches weren't the only ones thinking this.

Mr. Yost

April 16th, 2013 at 8:46 AM ^

You feel Heitzman, Godin and Wormley are your 5-Techs...

Size/Frame wise, Godin, Wormley and Strobel could all play 3-Tech down the road...

Strobel is #4 of your 5-Techs, isn't going to get a bunch of game reps and you have an opportunity to move him so that he gets more reps and a better shot at playing early.


I don't think this is far fetched since Mattison just said in his recent presser that one of the reasons and a couple players have changed positions (or started their career at positions) to see the field sooner.

Mr. Yost

April 16th, 2013 at 8:33 AM ^

It's not really a big deal. Just like Morgan going from WILL to MIKE.

They're very similar positions and guys rotate all the time. Van Bergen and Heininger seemed to flip flop back and forth between the two positions every 3rd game.

Wormley, Godin and Strobel (and Poggi) all have the make up of a player that can play both positions. Hurst, IMO, is an interior lineman.


April 16th, 2013 at 8:39 AM ^

The coaches themselves have said they are all but interchangeable.  Not unlike WLB vs. MLB (where we choose differentiate) or flanker vs split end (where we don't), it's worth resisting the temptation to overthink things - particularly when you're talking about young backups.  This could easily be temporary; a coaching "move" aimed at improving his technique.  If not, no big deal since he's still working with the same guys and doing more or less the same things.

Boom Goes the …

April 16th, 2013 at 1:37 AM ^

3's- Black, Henry, Strobel

5's- Wormley, Heitzman, Godin

Nose- Washington, Pipkins, Ash

Rush- Clark, Ojemudia, Taco


Pretty solid (if largely unproven) 3 deep

Add in Poggi, Hurst to the 3/5 mash and we should be solid


April 16th, 2013 at 8:22 AM ^

I see a lot of people penciling Wormley in as the starter at the 5. Is there something I'm missing? Heitzman was out there with the first group and Godin with the second group. Wormley was with the 3's. And if one of the RS freshman is going to win the job from Heitzman to me Godin looked better. But obviously Wormley is still recovering from the knee injury so by the end of the summer it could be a different story.

Mr. Yost

April 16th, 2013 at 8:30 AM ^

I think a lot of people are going off of where Wormley was last year.

He was backing up Craig Roh at 5-Tech/SDE until he got hurt and he was NOT going to redshirt.

Even going into the spring there have been bits and pieces about him being the best player at that position but the coaches have been careful with him. Raymon Taylor (not injured) played with the 2nd team in the spring game then got pulled midway through the game. Different situation, but I don't think anyone knows for sure as of right now.

They're pretty much 1a, 1b, 1c as far as I could tell. When you're talking about young players, a lot can change over the summer/fall. It very well could be a predicition since Wormley is likely to get healthier and he's got the most potential of the 3 (by most accounts).


April 16th, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

Like you said, he is coming off an injury, so they probably didn't want to push the issue in the spring. Let him get reps and get his confidence up while he regains whatever he lost due to injury.

Other reasons as to why he may be getting penciled in would have to do with Craig Roh's high praise for him, and how huge this dude got. I believe they referred to Wormley as the next stage in human evolution or something.

Whether he starts or not, it would be because somebody shows up even better, in which case, its a win win for us.


April 16th, 2013 at 9:14 AM ^

It would surprise me a little bit if he came from the third string in the spring to winning the job in the fall.  I do still think he'll get reps there, obviously, but he didn't do anything in the spring game to warrant hype.  The coaches said he would have played last year, but Royce Jenkins-Stone, Delonte Hollowell, and Terry Richardson all technically played as freshmen, too - that doesn't mean they were good enough to have a real impact.

Mr. Yost

April 16th, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

Wormley wasn't mentioned in the same breath as those 3.

Hoke even pointed it out THIS year that they were excited about him before he got hurt.

Norfleet, Ross, Bolden, Ojemudia, Pipkins and Funchess also played last year and had a certain level of impact. They were all in the rotation.

The excitement around Wormley was MUCH more than it was around any of the players you mentioned. None of those guys were cemented in the 2-Deep when they were freshman. No coaches were commenting about how they were competing, no players, no obvservations from spectators. By all accounts I've seen, Wormley was, or at least tied with Heitzman.


Just like Dymonte Thomas this year. No one has said he's 100% the starter, or even in the 2-deep. But the comments are VERY positive and by all accounts he's going to have one of the larger roles of any of our freshman.

Mr. Yost

April 16th, 2013 at 8:25 AM ^

To have a 3-deep at all four positions is a long way from where we were when Hoke arrived. Still reeling the loss of DeQuinta Jones and Pearlie Graves.

This is a solid foundation that we can build from with guys like Hand, McDowell, Pallante, Mone, etc.


April 16th, 2013 at 6:10 AM ^

Not always on the outside shoulder of the WEAKSIDE guard. Depends if the D is in Bench/Field, more commonly known as Over/Under, 3tech is the outside shoulder of a guard strong or weak.


April 16th, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

The injury itself didn't HAVE to happen within the defensive line for Mattison to shuffle him from DE to DT... For example, Frank Clark is a talented and versatile athlete. With a healthy Jake Ryan at LB, Clark might not have been a necessity amongst the LB core, giving Mattison the option of using him as a DE/pass rush. With Jake going down, Frank moves to LB, Wormley to DE and Strobel to DT. Not saying this is exactly what happened, just one possibility/theory.

Mr. Yost

April 16th, 2013 at 4:38 PM ^

Can't tell if you meant Beyer. Maybe I've just lost it. But Frank doesn't play LB and really only played it for like a week when he first arrived at Michigan. Wormley has always played DE, so how can he move to DE?