Q & A With Spencer Larsen, East - West Shrine Game Defensive MVP

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Hostile, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Larsen awaits NFL draft after Shrine appearance

    By Ryan Finley
    arizona daily star
    Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.22.2008

    Spencer Larsen had no idea.

    As the clock ran down in Saturday's East-West Shrine Game in Houston, Larsen was pulled aside and given specific instructions.

    "Some guy came and told me to follow another guy off the field because, 'You're the defensive MVP,'" Larsen said Monday from Phoenix. "Really, I wasn't expecting anything like that at all."

    He should have. Larsen registered eight tackles, including two for losses, in the West's 31-13 victory. Saturday's game capped a busy week for Larsen, a 6-foot-1-inch, 240-pound linebacker. He boosted his draft stock, received face time on ESPN2 and brought home a trophy.

    The Star talked to Larsen on Monday about his Shrine Game success and pro prospects:

    Q: The week of the Shrine Game can be pretty hectic. How was your time in Houston?

    A: Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty intense — we went full pads with a lot of hitting; Thursday we had a walk-through, Friday was (team) pictures and played the game Saturday. The whole thing was pretty intense. You'd interview with (NFL) teams and try to talk to as many scouts as you could. At practice there were just nothing but scouts on both sidelines.

    Q: How's life as a pro?

    A: These are stressful months.

    You're trying to get as fast as you can and you're trying to impress as many people as you can. With every mistake, you want to doubt yourself, but it's been fine. It's been fun. We're living in the Phoenix area — Gilbert, actually. I have an agent, Bruce Tollner.

    Q: Physically, what are you working on?

    A: I have a trainer, and we're going at it pretty hard. I'm doing all I can to run as fast as I can. People and teams say that speed is the biggest knock on me. Nobody's real sure about my 40 time. I want to finish under 4.7 (seconds).

    Q: Where do you think you fit in for the draft?

    A: We don't think we'll probably know until after the draft.
    Skill-wise, I'm really confident in the way I play the game; beyond that, I bring the intangible stuff — leadership and consistency, on and off the field.

    Q: What's next?

    A: I did get invited to (next month's) NFL Combine, and I'm real excited. They were supposed to mail me an invitation, but they had the wrong address, and I never got it. I had to call them and see what was going on. They told me I had been invited, and a few days later, the invitation showed up at my house. I guess they had the completely wrong address.
  2. Hailmary

    Hailmary Well-Known Member

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    I know it won't happen because the combine is becoming a real media event, but I wish the NFL would adopt a policy that players can only attend if they agree to participate in certain drills (esp. the 40). It just frustrates me knowing that some kids (who could really benefit from the combine) will get snubbed for better known player who's basically there to be weighed in or something like that.
  3. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    Here's some more info on the guy, for those who don't know much about him.

    Led team and Pac 10 with 131 tackles, ranked 13th nationally.
    Led team and Pac 10 with 87 solo tackles, ranked 3rd nationally.
    4 sacks
    15.5 tackles for a loss
    5 pressures on the quarterback
    3 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries
    1 INT, 5 pass deflections

    His 87 solo tackles all came against the run, and the ball carriers YPC on those tackles was 1.38.

    Registered 22 tackles on third down, and 9 on 4th down.

    Stuffed ball carrier at the line of scrimmage 13 times, for a total of 32.5 plays resulting in no gain or a loss.

    His 87 solo tackles are the most by an Arizona player since Lance Briggs had 67 solo tackles. His 15.5 TFL were the most by any Arizona player since Teddy Bruschi had 19.5.

    Oh and right now he's projected as going in about the 5th round. Anyone want to jump on the bandwagon?
  4. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Thanks for the info.

    I love this kid. Smart, great attitude, and always around the football.
  5. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Seems like a Bradie James clone to me. Which isn't a bad thing, but we've got Bradie.
  6. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    Indeed, but who do we have behind Bradie? Bobby Carpenter is listed on the depth chart, but realistically it's probably Carpenter and Burnett. Don't we need a little more depth than that?
  7. masomenos

    masomenos Less is more

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    Here's the rundown from nfldraftscout.com. If we're not allowed to post these then let me know and I'll just do a summary of it instead.

    Has a well-proportioned frame with developing upper-body muscles and good thickness in his thighs and calves, with room to add at least another 10 pounds of bulk without losing quickness...High-motor type who plays with good intensity and aggression...Very alert and active to key and diagnose plays, showing the awareness, vision and instincts to call defensive assignments...Demonstrated much better ability and strength taking on blocks as a senior than he did in the past, as he refined his hand placement and improved his hand technique to prevent the blocker from gaining leverage...

    More quick than fast, but keeps his pad level down and shows the loose hips to redirect and chase down plays from the backside (see 2007 Southern California, Stanford and Washington games)...Has the power to take on fullbacks and clog the interior rush lanes. Does a nice job of staying on his feet and making plays moving down the line...Has the hip swerve to redirect and close from the outside (looked a bit stiff in his hips earlier in his career, but has shown a quicker flow to the ball as a senior. See 2007 Brigham Young and Stanford games)...Shows the lateral agility to flow with the play, staying low in his stance to extend his arms, wrap and secure the ballcarrier near the line of scrimmage...

    Unquestioned team leader who will not hesitate to take underperforming teammates to task...Shows no hesitation closing on the ball and is quick to track down ballcarriers, doing a nice job of redirecting the corner runners back inside...Has good tackling form, taking the ballcarrier's outside leg to impede the opponent's forward progress...Rare to see him fooled by misdirection or eye the backfield too long when playing in the zone...Uses his hands with force to jolt the blockers back and also in redirecting and jamming the tight ends at the line...Gets physical when taking on the tight ends, delivering strong hand placement to reroute his man away from the play, as he uses his strength effectively to easily jam the opponent...When he keeps his pads down, he shows the ability to slip through blocks...Combative working through trash, using his hands well to defeat the blockers attacking his feet...Has greatly improved his body control as a senior, as he no longer overextends when attempting to make tackles...

    Shows aggression filling the rush lane, lowering his head and driving with his legs to engage the fullback...Versatile athlete who can play the "Will" or "Mike" position...Reliable tackler who can break down and face up...Does not have the speed to play in the deep zone, but has the functional quickness to stay with slot receivers and tight ends in the short area...More of a downhill tackler, but is capable of making plays in front of him...Shows good anticipation skills and has developed good rip and swim moves to generate a quick outside blitz...Very intelligent, both on the field and in the classroom...Generally in position to make plays and engages the bigger blockers well, playing at the proper pad level with good knee bend...On the blitz, he has a solid hand jolt to maintain separation knifing through traffic and the closing burst to disrupt the quarterback in the pocket.

    Negatives: Active and physical at the line of scrimmage, but must continue to improve his hand punch and keep his hands inside his frame to prevent the bigger blockers from getting underneath his jersey and washing him out of the play...Has good closing speed, but will struggle at times to recover and redirect when he outruns the play...Might be a better fit at the "Mike" position to compensate for a lack of explosive quickness to chase down the perimeter runners going long distances...Plays with great intensity, but will sometimes get too aggressive and get taken out of the play...Shows the functional foot agility to drop back in pass coverage, but does not have the pure speed to stay with the receivers on deep patterns.

    Compares To: JAMES FARRIOR-Pittsburgh...Whether playing on the weak side or in the middle, Larsen is a high-intensity type who does a fine job of making plays in front of him. He has great field vision and ball-awareness skills and with his intelligence, he might be a better fit calling defensive signals from the middle. He has made very good strides improving his hand placement and punch as a senior and is relentless in his pursuit of the ball working through traffic.

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