And Te'o showed why offenses fear him and his defense features him. In just three quarters of work, Te'o had 12 tackles by our count, two passes defensed, one that maybe could have been caught, and another in his chest that should have been caught for a pick six. He was flying around everywhere on the field, running across field to make the tackles as it was obvious Kitsap was trying to avoid him at the beginning.
Te'o would hit piles and just drive them back or lay them out all together. Most of his coverage seemed to be in zone, which he seemed to pick up guys in his zone pretty well On one play, he peeled off his zone to make a nice tackle on his receiver and on another, he had a nice read on a running back screen and disrupted the play. For the most part, Te'o was able to shake his block when blockers engaged him and he was able to keep them at bay and throw them off when the ball carrier was coming. On kickoff coverage, he would hang back and get a feel for where the returner was going and then sprint full speed at him, and the pile that was about to be created, and just try to light things up, one time just hammering the returner.
The only negative was when he missed one tackle where he lowered his shoulder on a guy and didn't wrap up and the guy bounced off him, and on the touchdown run that cut the lead to 35-13, he got locked up by one blocker as the runner ran by him. But you're picking nits because Te'o was just an absolute force and did nothing but prove he's the best SLB in the country. He's definitely an emotional leader on the team and set the tone for the defense.
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Manti Te'o Highlights:
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