Scouting Report: TCU D-line

TCU's defensive line got a major shot in the arm last week with the return of Tommy Blake. Total Blue Sports caught up with Ray Feinga, Sete Aulai and David Oswald for the scouting report on the guys they will face across the trench.

The Horned Frogs come to Provo having lost conference games to Air Force (20-17), Wyoming (24-21) and Utah (27-20). TCU just came off a sound victory over New Mexico (37-0) last week in Fort Worth. The TCU d-line played a major part in the defense blanking the Lobo offense, and held New Mexico to only 119 total offensive yards for the game.

"Their d-line is very fast and physical," said BYU guard Ray Feinga. "They like to do a lot of zone blitzing, where they do a lot of shifting. They like to drop the d-end back into coverage and bring a couple of linebackers or a corner blitz. They do those types of things, kind of like how Utah does. On top of that they can beat you one on one.

"They like to do a lot of zone blitzing," said offensive tackle David Oswald. "Sete Aulai has done a great job in recognizing what their defense is going to do, and then making the right calls for us to block."

Now you can listen to Aulai talk about the TCU defense, and how the MWC championship has gone through the BYU vs. TCU game the past two years, in this Total Blue Sports exclusive.

Aiding TCU in the game against New Mexico was the return of defensive end Tommy Blake, who was able to play between 30-35 plays according to TCU head coach Gary Patterson.

"I think [Blake] gives the whole defensive line, and the entire defense for that matter, more confidence," said Feinga. "He's one of the team leaders and I had the chance to play against him last year, and he's the real deal."

Facing the 6-foot-3-inch, 252-pound senior speed rusher will be left tackle Dallas Reynolds, who didn't face Blake last year.

"Dallas has [Blake] this year, and I spoke to Dallas about him," said Feinga. "I don't think [Blake] has very many weaknesses. He's a good ball player."

Tommy Blake Nominations

2007 Playboy Preseason All-American
2007 Athlon Preseason All-American
2007 Preseason All-American
2007 CBS Preseason All-American
2007 Preseason All-American 2007 Lombardi Award Watch List
2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
2007 Lott Trophy Watch List
2007 State Defensive Player of the Year by Dave Campbell's Texas Football
2007 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
2007 Ted Hendricks Award Watch List

Complimenting Tommy Blake at defensive end is another speed rusher in Chase Ortiz. Ortiz is a 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound senior that was named First-Team All-Mountain West Conference for the second year in a row last year. While Blake's 16.5 tackles for a loss last year led the conference, Ortiz was right behind him with 11 tackles for a loss, good for the second-most in the conference.

The player taking up the challenge of neutralizing Ortiz is big 6-foot-8-inch, 325-pound junior David Oswald.

"They don't switch sides that much, so I'll be seeing a lot of [Ortiz]," said Oswald. "I had the chance to go up against him last year, so I've already seen a lot of him. He's one of the best defensive ends in our league, if not the best. I mean, he's well-coached and he has a lot of experience. Not only is he a good athlete, but he's also got good technique. It's going to be a tough challenge."

Chase Ortiz Nominations

2007 Preseason All-American
2007 Lombardi Award Watch List
2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
2007 Ted Hendricks Award Watch List
2007 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
First-Team All-Texas College Defense by Dave Campbell's Texas Football

"I think what makes [Ortiz] so good is he has the athleticism to be a speed rusher, but when he decides to bull rush you, he can do that well too," said Oswald. "It really keeps you guessing, so you have to be focused on every play [because of] not knowing what to expect."

Lining up across from Feinga will be 6-foot-1-inch, 280-pound freshman defensive tackle Kelly Griffin. With Feinga being a 6-foot-5-inch, 322-pound seasoned junior that was a part of an offensive line that helped produce 465.5 yards of total offense per game last season, Griffin will have his hands full.

"[Griffin is] a good player," said Feinga. "He's physical, and even though he isn't very tall, he's a good player. He likes to stay low and is more of a bull rusher. I think he's a better run stopper than he is a pass rusher."

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