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Film Review- Chigozie Nnoruka

Film Review- Chigozie Nnoruka

Lance Roffers
“You are a horrible person. That’s what it says: a horrible person. We weren’t even testing for that.”

-GLaDOS in Portal 2

At this point, this is probably the sentiment from all other FBS coaches as Manny Diaz continues to terrorize the rest of the football world with his usage of “The Portal.”

This time, the staff has dipped back into the matrix to bring a much-needed DT in the form of Chigozie Nnoruka. The former UCLA DT is 6-2, 294 and fits in well with what the ‘Canes need up front. Here at Upon Further Review I wanted to take a closer look at what Nnoruka offers on tape. Because of a defensive change from a 4-3 to a 3-4, I am looking specifically at film from the 2017 season to mirror the way he will be used at Miami.

Nnoruka was born in Lagos, Nigeria and therefore was a bit raw in football coming out of HS, so he went the Junior College route. After one season at American River College, Nnoruka was a surprise addition to the UCLA recruiting class in 2016. He redshirted that year and then improved steadily throughout 2017, starting 10 games and playing his best towards the end of the season. With the switch to a 3-4 in 2018, UCLA used him as a NT and his stats predictably reduced.

I’m starting with one of his best games against Arizona State in 2017.

OZ and the OL gets the block and turns Nnoruka from the play. He’s not the force player on this play so it’s not his fault the RB got the edge, but you’d like for him to have the quickness to get there prior to #71 turning him.
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They slant their DL to the field side and it’s a perfect play call away from the slant with a counter-action. There’s not a lot he could do on the play with the run going away from him, but you’d like for him to a bit tougher to block for #76 than this. Not a great start when you can’t see him on two straight running plays because the OL is turning him.
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Simpson can hopefully work on his technique some as he comes out of his stance with his head down and leaning too much. He’s the guy in the middle stuck on the LOS.
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Nnoruka is again turned away from the play by a single OL. He’s #93 here, you can see he’s getting his numbers turned away from the RB who currently has the ball.
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Another stalemate at the LOS here. He shows some good strength on this play but continues to be blocked by one OL too easily.
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Beats the RG with quickness/strength here. The play goes to the other gap and it’s a big run, but he did his job here. He’s the guy with his jersey riding up with the OL bent over.
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The big reason why it looks like Nnoruka is getting moved away so often is because of the type of style ASU runs on offense. Everything is zone blocking and they’re allowing Nnoruka to get upfield and then just turning their shoulders in a sort of trap block to allow a lead through the gap behind him. The quickness is evident, a nice amount of strength as well, but there is a lack of awareness that shows up in 2017. It’ll be interesting to see if there is growth in this part of his game moving forward.
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#76 completely turning him here. Again, you can’t even see the DT, which is bad.
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A good play here as he beats the RG inside with quickness and forces the runner to bounce. LB scrapes down and it’s a TFL.
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It’s a screen, but you get a sense of some of his quickness on this play as he got past the LG easily and forces the QB to throw it a bit before he wants to.
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Yeah, at this point, I can see why they’re last in rush defense.
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He got pushed off the LOS initially, but got off the block and makes the tackle here.
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Raw as an onion with his hands at this point, but the quickness and the heavy hands are a nice place to start with a DT. He’s the one two yards past the LOS here lunging two-handed at the OL.
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Another example of how more coaching will help him. He’s the one that the FG bar is masking a bit. The OL is down blocking him away from the roll with his left arm. The left arm of Nnoruka needs to be up like he’s doing a curl and hooking that arm of the OL up. Then he needs to be turning that right hip towards the QB and he will generate power to rip through this block and pursue from the backside.
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Moving on to the bowl game against Kansas State I’d like to see how he does against a different system than Arizona State. UCLA was the second worst rush defense in the country, ahead of only San Jose State, and Kansas State is a rushing team.

Another situation where the blocker is able to turn him out of the hole. He’s on the 31-yard line here and the OL is shielding him from the ballcarrier completely.
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A solid play here as he feels that he’s being let go by the OL and checks the screen at the top of the picture first, then flows back down to #9 where the screen is going. He doesn’t make the play, but he slows him down enough that it doesn’t gain much.
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Getting bullied off the LOS here. He’s the DL at the end of the line here.
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Here he’s getting into the chest of #61 and driving him backwards. One thing I’d really like to see more is for Nnoruka to penetrate more. Right now he seems like he’s almost looking for contact and occupying blockers rather than trying to shoot gaps and get upfield. It really seems as though UCLA has designed this scheme for their DT to take on blocks and keep OL from getting to their LB’s but it’s not well-designed.
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Here he is again just using power to rock #61 backwards. There is definitely some power potential, but I think there is potential with the quickness to actively try avoiding these blocks rather than going straight at them.
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He has first-step quickness as shown here as he slants inside of #77 and beats him with an initial burst. It’s a rollout to that side so the OL was fine with him taking himself that way, but it’s the quickness that I wanted to highlight.
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When they let him use his power and burst he can be an effective player. Here he is pushing a double-team well into the backfield against #79 and friend.
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Again, he uses his quickness to get upfield and into the QB’s face. Here he forces an interception with pressure.
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Getting pushed off-the-ball again here. He’s #93 at the 25-yard line. Pushed and turned. Too much of this.
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This is a nice display of power as he gets his hands inside of #62 here and dog-walks him down-the-line. He’s pushing to squeeze this hole but also able to come off if the RB hits the cutback. Nice play.
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Overall
  • He has some quickness for a DT. It isn’t an elite first-step. It isn’t an especially refined first-step, but he has some quickness to shoot a gap if coached to do so.
  • Stamina. This is a player who played a ton of snaps in these games for UCLA at a demanding position, against rushing teams. He seemed to give consistent effort on each play.
  • Experience. This is a 5th year Senior who will bring some experience to the DT position. With the time he’s had to grow and train he should be physically able to provide depth.

Opportunities
  • His limited experience showed up a lot in 2017. There were a lot of times he lost sight of the ball and took himself out of plays.
  • Hand usage is pretty much non-existent. There were plays when he was so stuck on blocks I saw him resorting to simply throwing punches to the OL’s arm trying to get off of him.
  • Lack of a consistent pass rush move. I never really saw him do much as a pass rusher other than a bull-rush. He needs to find a move that is his bread-and-butter. Something like a swim move for Willis. It’s pretty much all straight ahead for Nnoruka at the moment and that is something offenses will take advantage of.
  • Blocked 1-on-1 far too often. He was pushed and moved in every game that I watched and the RB would find great success in his gap.
In my view, UCLA used him in a way that made him look a lot worse than he is. Anchoring and trying to two-gap is not his strong suit, but he was continuously asked to take on blocks and stay at the LOS rather than attacking gaps. Here, he will be able to use his quickness to cause havoc. I would expect a player similar to what we got out of Tito, but hopefully a bit quicker than it took Tito to emerge. This is a nice pickup to add to the room.
 

Comments (48)

Tito was good for us. If this guy provides similar production, that’s a big win.
Yea he was solid, i just had the impression this guy was alittle more disruptive. We really need Nesta to step up. Bethel and Ford just dnt seem to be a force inside. I hope they both make huge improvements in their games this year.
 
Tito was good for us. If this guy provides similar production, that’s a big win.

Tito made himself into an NFL Football player here. Would be working for Enterprise Car Rental if he stayed at Illinois.

He's got limited roster spot availability in the pros, but someone will take him on as that on again, off again Practice Squad iDL that could be more with some opportunity. I said in another thread...Abry Jones type.

As for Nnoruka. Been watching some youtube on him for the past few days...to me, he may be a 5th year senior, but he seems very raw. As you said, if he can give us Tito's snaps, we're good.
 
Sounds like he's more athletic than Tito, but needs a lot of work on his technique.

I gather he doesn't arrive until the summer, so Simpson isn't going to have a lot of time to get him ready.
 
Lance and D$, I know we can't replace Willis. But can we get the same level of effectiveness out of Bethel + Ford & NNoruka + Silvera in 2019 as we did out of McIntosh + Norton & Bethel + Ford in 2017?
 
I’d say the two most consistent sorts of negative feedback I receive is the my articles are 1. Too long. 2. Boring.

I do try and keep that in mind, hence me adding a Portal 2 quote etc. but once I get into the content I guess I revert to my comfortable ways. 🤷‍♂️

Breaking down game tape is tough to make entertaining. You did good boss! Thanks!
 
Lance and D$, I know we can't replace Willis. But can we get the same level of effectiveness out of Bethel + Ford & NNoruka + Silvera in 2019 as we did out of McIntosh + Norton & Bethel + Ford in 2017?

Willis was a legitimately dominant player. I don’t see us replacing him, even by committee.

But I still expect us to play good defense. Silvera is the key. He needs to develop a go-to move and a counter off that. He has the quickness, the natural strength and the mindset, just needs the technique.
 
I’d say the two most consistent sorts of negative feedback I receive is the my articles are 1. Too long. 2. Boring.

I do try and keep that in mind, hence me adding a Portal 2 quote etc. but once I get into the content I guess I revert to my comfortable ways. 🤷‍♂️

I would agree your messages are lengthy. However, some on here enjoy all the thorough detail. I was mainly just lightheartedly yanking your chain. Carry on and thank you for your contributions.
 
D
Tito was good for us. If this guy provides similar production, that’s a big win.

This, when is getting a good player looked upon as a negative?
 
This guy adds much needed depth. Nice pick up. Will he be a first rounder? No. He will contribute and that is what we need right now. He adds a lot to our D.
 
I’d say the two most consistent sorts of negative feedback I receive is the my articles are 1. Too long. 2. Boring.

I do try and keep that in mind, hence me adding a Portal 2 quote etc. but once I get into the content I guess I revert to my comfortable ways. 🤷‍♂️
Then tell those dudes to put you on ignore or don't open the thread. But please don't change a mother-fckn thing!
 
I tried to focus on him during stunts and looping around. He can move and bend. This is more likely how we'll see him used here and, for those reasons, I think he's got more potential in our defense than Tito showed (even though he was relatively solid).
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
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175
Fort Myers, FL
CB
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180
Alabaster, AL
S
6'1"
170
Orlando, FL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

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