West Virginia DL Mesidor serves as blueprint for defense
While it wasn’t a banner effort from the West Virginia defense in the season opener, but that wasn’t the case for everybody on the unit.
And it certainly didn’t take long for Akheem Mesidor to make his presence known.
On the first snap against Maryland, the Terrapins threw a bubble screen to the field away from the sophomore nose guard and he chased the ball down and made the tackle down the field.
Had that effort not been used on that opening snap, defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley believes that the results could have been a touchdown for the Terrapins.
“You don’t have to look any further than that play. Show me another nose guard that’s going to make that play,” Lesley said.
And that was just the first of many effort plays that the Canadian import made throughout. Mesidor, adjusting to a new position inside, was active throughout finishing with 9 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Yes, that’s nine tackles from the interior of the defensive line as Mesidor was a constant disruptive presence throughout the course of the game. That wasn’t lost on the coaching staff, either.
“If you want to watch how I wish all 22 played watch how he played,” head coach Neal Brown said.
Mesidor has made major strides in his understanding of the game after a freshman season where he accounted for 32 tackles, 5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Because he was still learning the game after coming over from Canada a few years before, he is in a much better place overall.
“Learning how to play certain blocks while still playing as reckless and as hard as he does,” Lesley said. “A lot of times you’ll see guys out of control.”
Much was made of the move to slot Mesidor inside this off-season but he continues to move across the formation and even switch spots with Dante Stills depending on the look. That is because there isn’t much difference in the spots and it creates issues for opposing offenses.
But the trick now is to try and get the rest of the defense to provide the same effort on a per snap basis which is where Mesidor could even help in some facets.
“A guy like that can also affect other guys. Guys that don’t understand that’s the way the game should be played can feed off of him,” Lesley said.
The blueprint has been set when it comes to effort and now others have to meet the same benchmark that Mesidor has set and that’s going full speed from the first snap forward.
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