Strengths: There’s no one questioning Jon Dietzen’s size. He’s a full 6-6 and 346 pounds, and he did a tremendous job of just bull dozing the Xavier defenders over in the trenches. Unfortunately what was developing into another solid night for the four-star tackle, Dietzen suffered an ankle injury midway through the second quarter and could not return.
Prior to his injury, Seymour consistently ran the football toward Dietzen’s side, which is expected considering he is rated as the number 11 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com. Dietzen was able to help consistently clear lanes in the running game. On the first drive Dietzen had four pancakes and was able to help pave the way for a two-yard touchdown, which ended up being Seymour’s only score of the game.
In the ensuing drives Dietzen was on the field, Seymour continued to run the ball to the right side, a pretty clear indicator on what Seymour’s game plan was. Dietzen unofficially had eight pancakes in the game and didn’t take a play off, consistently playing to the whistle and blocking any man in front of him.
One other area that I was curious to see how Dietzen performed in was pull blocks. There were only a handful by Dietzen but he looked comfortable out there. He moves well for a man his size, as he was able to get in front of the running back to try and open up some running lanes.
Weaknesses: It was hard to really gauge what Dietzen needs to work on with him playing a little over a quarter. He looks aggressive in the run game but the Thunder only threw it a handful of times when Dietzen was in. During pass protection he was able to do his job by limiting defensive end’s penetration into the backfield near the quarterback.
Even though Dietzen has the size advantage over anyone he faces in the trenches, according to head coach Matt Molle, he didn’t always know how to use his size to his advantage and simply dominate his opponent.
“I think last year he took a huge step in the direction of understanding the physical part, not that he wasn’t physical before, but being dominating,” Molle said.
There were times where Dietzen blocked a kid that was nowhere near the play; seemingly blocking the kid just so he could block him or being unaware of where the play was in relations to him. Dietzen needs to learn to be more disciplined in that area, but I have a hard time seeing that continuing when he arrives to Wisconsin.
Overall: Dietzen tried to walk off under his own power following his injury but was unable to make it to the sidelines, as he needed the trainer to help him get to the training table. He didn’t seem to be in any pain on the sidelines but expectedly was disappointed in the injury. The trainer wrapped up his ankle in ice to try and help the injury as Dietzen watched the rest of the first half from the table before being ruled out in the second half.
Even though he only played for a little bit you can tell that he has a nasty streak to him and that will translate well to the Big Ten. He knew that he was going to be able to win his matchup in the trenches and wasn’t afraid to get physical. At times all he needed to do was simply push the guy over before moving on to the second level.
One thing that I was impressed with Dietzen is he carries his weight well, as he doesn’t look or move like a player listed at 346 pounds. When he gets to Wisconsin, strength and conditioning coach Evan Simon should really only have to try and add more muscle to his frame opposed to having him try and lose some of his bad weight.
With Wisconsin losing three starting offensive lineman at the conclusion of this season, including senior right tackle Rob Havenstein, there is a chance that Dietzen could crack the two deep as a freshman if he continues to develop at a positive pace. Depending on what happens, a redshirt year might be for the best so he can continue to get bigger as he continues to work on his technique. If Dietzen develops properly, he could become a starter by his third year in the program.
Molle admits that he doesn’t know how high Dietzen ceiling is as a football player, but does believe that he has a chance to be a really good football player who chose to stay in state.
“Obviously he’s got the physical tools and the size,” said Molle. “You don’t know about injuries, you don’t know how things shake out and where he ends up on the line, it’s so hard to know for sure. I think he can be a really good football player. We’re so happy that he’s in Wisconsin. It’ll be interesting. It’ll be really fun to see it.”