He may not be the best, but he definitely deserves to be in the conversation. With Phillips and Peterson out, I think it’s safe to say that Tapper is the best. However, Dimon (rhymes with “diamond”) was definitely our best DLman in the last game. Tapper played well, but wasn’t as dominant or as consistent as Dimon and his entering the game in the second quarter was a significant part of why our defense started playing better.
Midway through the 3rd Quarter, Dimon replaced Tapper and did such a good job that he didn’t leave the game until we were in obvious passing situations. If he took the place of our best DLman because he was playing better, then you could make a case that he deserves to be a legitimate contender for OU’s best DLman.
Having watched and broken down every single defensive play in this game, Matt’s performance was so refreshing. In a game where our DL wasn’t getting off blocks or getting the push we needed, it was so nice to see Matt come in and make plays!
Of our 4 DL, Matt was second only to Tapper in the number of times he got off blocks. Also, Matt tied Tapper for second in number of times he got push on the OL blocking him. However, he only played 11 downs! Chuka played 31 downs, Wade played 30, and Grissom played 22. [Note: I did not count downs where I couldn't identify the player.]
Tapper was nullified (not pushed, nor did he get push, and did not get off block) the same number of times he got off blocks (14), whereas Matt was nullified one time fewer than the number of times he got off blocks (4 vs 5). Neither was ever pushed.
I would still say Tapper has more upside, as the sky is the limit for him. And Matt definitely isn’t as fast as the other ends so versus a high octane passing offense or in obvious passing situations you might want to sit him. But, if I was the coach, he and Tapper would be my two starting DL (even if I had to move Matt to the opposite side in order to do so). And even in passing situations I’d love to have Matt rushing up the middle like a DT shrinking the pocket.
I brokedown all 9 of the plays he was in (not including special teams where he also blocked a punt!) in the video below. See for yourself! [NOTE: I accidentally missed him in the last 2 plays. He actually played 11 snaps.]
A “Dimon” in the Rough: