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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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Page 57 of 110

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 56 Lined up against Michigan State's right guard, Benny McGowan, Jake Replogle expected one thing: McGowan to use all of his 325 pounds and come right at him. But when the second-down fourth-quarter snap came against the Spartans last season and McGowan moved to contact Replogle, he didn't come hard at all. And he didn't get enough shoulder on Replogle before he moved on. And that left Michigan State's tackle in a rough spot: Replo- gle's quickness beat him and now Replogle raced parallel to the line, eyes intently locked on running back Madre London. Replogle chased London down and wrapped him up by the ankles in a textbook tackle, limiting the play to a three-yard gain. It's one of Replogle's favorite plays: Being backside and running a play down. Maybe because it was his best attribute playing out. "I think my motor is probably the thing I'm most proud of and the thing that makes me the most plays," he said. Perhaps it shows up most obviously on a play like that against Michigan State — when Replogle is chasing things down. But it's just as impressive on a play like against Nebraska weeks later when Replogle got double-teamed by the guard and tackle off the snap. Double teams aren't rare against Replogle, and he expects to see them more this season. Depending on the play, he has different approaches. Some- times he just needs to hold his ground, maintain his gap, to allow linebackers to make plays. On others, he fights until one lineman breaks free to block elsewhere. On both occasions, he doesn't relent. "It's amazing to watch him play with the reckless abandon and motor that he has," linebacker Danny Ezechukwu said. "The best 3-technique I've ever seen live. I'll put that on paper any day of the week." On one first-down snap vs. Nebraska last season, Replogle started with 620 pounds try- ing to hold him back, between the guard and the tackle. After the tackle moved on, massive 6-foot-8, 320-pound guard Zach Sterup still was latched on to Replogle, but Replogle kept grinding and kept his legs pumping. Even- tually, Replogle surged into the backfield, reached out with one hand — Sterup prevented two because he was holding on to Replogle's arm — and pulled down back Terrell Newby. "What makes Jake a really good 3-technique is he plays with such effort," D-line coach Randy Melvin said. "In real- ity, your effort is what you are. What you say you are is your philosophy. What we see (on film) is what you really are. "That's what I saw on film, just a guy who played ex- tremely hard." But, just like the other pieces that make Replogle a prototype D-tackle, the motor is only part of the play. Replogle may work to get to the back, but that's not all that must be done. "Good D-linemen close the tackle," Melvin said. "If you look at the animals in the wild, when the lion clos- es the distance, there's that little burst at the end to get there and finish, and the good players when they tackle or when they sack, they have that ability. "At the end of the day, without complicating it, it's tack- ling the football. He's able to do that." 56 GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED MOTOR

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