Good evening everyone!  It's time for another Film Session, this one will focus on Colorado State OLB Shaq Barrett vs. Alabama.  The first 'Film Session' was met with a lot of positive feed back, so I wanted to continue the series and also make it relevant to the week at hand, as Shrine Game practices kick off tomorrow afternoon. 

As always, the video provided is courtesy of

(0:05): Shaquil does a nice job keeping himself separated from the offensive tackle, which allows him to cross the face of the blocker and continue pursuit along the line of scrimmage with relative ease.  He doesn't seem to be hustling at full speed but the effort is fair.

(0:15): Out of a 3 point stance, not a lot of explosion out of his stance.  He's attacking Kouandjio head up, by the time he adjusts his track to attack edge he's allowed Kouandjio to square on him.

(0:27): Shaq does a very nice job staying disciplined to not crash down and get a lot of depth here while unblocked.  He stays square, plays along the LOS.  I'd like to see a little bit more pop behind his hands as Kouandjio tries to wall him off, but Barrett still maintains enough separation to cross face and clean up the tackle.

(0:39): Good recognition skills to attack up field with the motion coming across the set towards him.  He engages and drives Kouandjio on an attempted reach block and maintains outside separation.  Barrett does tuck his nose inside a little early to try to make a play on the ball carrier (who feigned an inside cut) which allows him to be cut off from his sideline pursuit...but Barrett still set the edge very well here.

(1:02): The easy thing to do would be to criticize for a lack of attack directly off the snap.  But the issue I'm primarily taking is a lack of collision with either the H-Back OR the TE on this play.  He's lined up between the two, takes a lateral instep but still allows the TE a clean release off the LOS.  He squares up for a bull rush (one that would work on a lot of tackles) and gets some depth pushing back into McCarron's face.

(1:12): First time we've seen Barrett on the right side of the offensive front and he sets up a twist stunt with his defensive tackle.  The Alabama front does a really nice job maintaining gap integrity so the play does not yield any significant pressure but you can still see Barrett capable of getting push vs. interior blockers.  After the throw, you do see some nice hustle to get out to the sideline (even though again he doesn't look like he's going full speed out in space).

(1:32): To this point, Barrett has yet to really flash off the LOS and it continues on this play.  You can actually pause the video and still capture all 4 rushers in line with one another 2 yards beyond the LOS.  Shaq does duck his head inside to take an opening he's given but the ball is out quickly so there's no pressure.  Playing with this power, you're not seeing a lot of pass rush moves in the form of rips/swims/hand swats either.

(1:42): This is an outstanding play.  He does a very nice job initially off the snap reading the feet of the offensive line, reacting with a quick lateral step.  This lateral step and the subsequent up field prevent OJ Howard to get any sort of angle on reach block working outside in.  Barrett collapses down the LOS and makes a good play on the ball carrier.  Barrett won this play right off the snap with his inital read/step.

(1:55): Working out of the 3 point again with some width off the edge, Barrett is finally showing some attack on passing downs.  He hits the 10 yard line a full yard ahead of everybody else on defense and because he's given himself an angle, he's given himself a number of options to beat his blocker.  He employs a lift maneuver, leveraging his grasp on his blockers outside arm and pressing upwards, he actually looks like he'll have Kouandjio beat.  But he doesn't FINISH his pass rush...he simply attempts to keep running his track instead of ripping underneath while Kouandjio's feet are set extremely wide...and he allows Cyrus to recover and reset his base. 

(2:05): Off the snap, Barrett actually does his job despite not touching the TE, because of how wide the TE takes his step off the LOS to clear from a collision.  This may not seem like much but that can at times be enough to disrupt the timing and Barrett displays good discipline not chasing into space.  You can see Barrett doesn't really have the short area burst to close the cushion Kouandjio has established in his kickslide with any sense of urgency so by the time he's engaging the T, he's already nearly beyond the QB.  This really limited what his options are and predictably Barrett is beaten on the play.  He does get bailed out with a holding call on Kouandjio when trying to swat/rip outside. 

(2:25): From the far side of the field and with the run being away from him, this is the best pursuit he's displayed all game.  He hustles, fights across what was a very poor positioning disadvantage on the 2nd level and gets down field to be in position to corral TJ Yeldon on any cutbacks.  However you can see he isn't exactly a very fast player either, unable to track Yeldon down.

(2:57): Out of the 3 point stance and Shaq actually gets a pretty nice jump on this snap.  He diagnoses run (playing on the plus side of the LOS) and does a nice job keeping his hands active to help him clear Kouandjio without receding too much ground and be in a position to make a play out of the pile.

(3:12): Barrett is again allowing a clean release off the line, this one allowing the TE to step down inside of him to release up into the second level.  Barrett does however show some nice fluidity in diagnosing pass.  His hips flip (although he gets very high in doing so) and makes a pretty nice transition going from forward to backward.  His drop doesn't make an impact with the boot rolling away so it's hard to get a feel for what kind of coverage instincts he has on this play in particular.

(3:23): This play is set up by the blitz coming from the outside defender, but Barrett uses some nice short area lateral agility/quickness to get an advantage into the gap as the TE pops straight up out of his stance.  Barrett is already shoulder leaning past him by the time the blocker is able to even touch him but the play is won already.  The play fake with McCarron's back to the LOS ensures there's no chance to throw hot and Barrett logs a nice win and a sack. 

(3:48): Rushing in a 3 point from the bottom of the screen, Shaq has another mixed review play.  His initial rush is poor.  No explosion and his lack of an angle almost ensures he isn't going to be a factor off the edge.  But then he shows nice instincts in not just recognizing that he's beat, but seeing the check down leak out over the center and flowing to cut off a throwing window.  From there he makes some nice pursuit and forces a throw away.

(4:00): Again, Barrett really isn't winning any individual one on one matchups.  He's rushing from the bottom (with a blitzer outside of him) and is locked one on one with the right tackle.  Yet Barrett really isn't showing any legitimate threat to attack from the edge and it's only when McCarron starts to roll that Shaq has any sort of angle to work towards the Quarterback, otherwise he'd be totally walled off.

(4:11): Barrett's primary responsibility here is setting the edge as Alabama tries to run the stretch play outside.  Two things that Barrett does really well on this play is 1. stacking his blocker.  He gets squared and extends while moving down the LOS.  and 2. shedding his blocker.  As the back cuts inside, you see nice COD skills to come back and make a play on the runner.  This is a really nice 3-4 OLB type of play on the next level. 

(4:23): Barrett is taking a better angle here than he has most of the game.  He's making an attempt to work behind the outside shoulder of his tackle...there just isn't the physical tool to get there with a burst.  Of course, the quick release of the ball isn't helping his cause but Barrett can't win an individual matchup here.

(4:46): Rushing in a 3 point from the bottom, Barrett makes the most of the cushion he's receiving out of the blocker's pass set this time with an inside fake before coming back to attack the edge.  The inside fake causes ONE false mirror step out of Kouandjio and it's enjoy for Barrett to at least get some depth beyond his outside shoulder.  A lack of flexibility to bend an a lack of short area quickness forces Barrett to be pushed out of the play however.

(5:11): This is a difficult play for Barrett regardless, as he's got an H-back with an angle out of the backfield sealing the pocket AND Yeldon is chipping as well...but I'd have liked to have seen some of that power he utilizes on a smaller blocker, it likely would have been a better attack than to adjust his track back around the edge with no angle.

(5:44): One thing Barrett is if nothing else is physically powerful and you see it here as he sifts through some very heavy traffic. A good job clubbing a pulling G to fight across his face and into the backfield to help make a play on the ball carrier for a TFL. 

(5:54): This is a good play initially, as Barrett plugs his blocker with a punch.  You can see him physically jolt the blocker before disengaging to collapse and make a tackle attempt, but Barrett just slides off.  Yeldon deserves some credit for spinning out but Barrett makes a grab and pull tackle attempt instead of wrapping the way he should have here.

(6:06): Barrett times this snap very well, McCarron is on his 3rd step and Barrett is a full yard deeper than any other attacking defender.  Barrett's jump off the snap is followed by trust in his abilities and a commitment to rush the edge with speed and Barrett has forced Kouandjio to open his set fully just 4 yards deep into his kick slide...that's trouble.  Sure enough, Shaq gets a great shoulder dip and some good bend here, turning tightly on his track at the 7/8 yard depth and closes to finish with a very nice sack on McCarron.

(6:33): Saving his best for the finish, this is another nice rush this time working from an interior B gap.  Barrett locks up with the Guard and employs what looks like a subtle push/pull move before some nice shoulder flexibility clears himself of the grasp as he "gets skinny".  No pressure on a check down, but a hurried throw. 

(6:46): Barrett looks to whiff on his punch and concedes the TE into his chest but there's good fight to counter and mirror, keeping the pile with the ball carrier in front of him.


No one is going to mistake Barrett for a blue chip edge player prospect on defense.  But he displays enough skills and produced this season to be a player I will be particularly interested in watching how he progresses during the course of the week here in St. Petersburg.  Barrett against Alabama showed that he may not consistently be the same disruptive player he was during the course of the season (he only realistically flashed on 3-5 plays all game) but he showed good instincts, physically toughness and some good power against such a heavy hitting opponent.  He won't win with speed but I could certainly see him projecting as a 3-4 SOLB at the next level.  He's likely won't contribute too much right away, but with his frame and instincts it's worth keeping a close eye on to see how he tests and how he performs during the off season circuit.

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