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Five Breakout Players: DE Antwan Owens

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Owens will thrive in Woody’s new scheme

Jacksonville State v Georgia Tech

DAYS REMAINING: 79

With the transition to Nate Woody as Georgia Tech’s new Defensive Coordinator, the DL and LBs will have a huge shift in responsibilities. Moving to a new odd, more aggressive front will benefit some players more than others. Players who were DT/DE tweeners in Roof’s old system now become perfect fits in Woody’s scheme, while others become DE/OLB or NT/DE tweeners. Owens could perhaps benefit from this shift more than any other player on the team.

Tech’s struggle do recruit talented DL players has long inhibited the team’s ability to field a competent defense, but the team has found success recruiting DT/DE tweeners and playing them at the 3-technique position(DT lined up on OG’s outside shoulder) in an even front. Players like Patrick Gamble, Adam Gotsis, and Desmond Branch have filled this role well. All possess great quickness and length, which would have suited them even better in an attacking 3-4(Not the Groh style Gamble and Gotsis were recruited for).

Owens is the latest in this line of Tech recruits. From the time he arrived on campus, he showed promise. There isn’t much film of him from his freshman season, but he flashed the physical tools needed to excel in an aggressive style. Against Jacksonville State, he was able to record the first sack of his career by utilizing his impressive closing speed.

What’s Next

Owens has impressive physical tools, but needs to refine his game in order to break out this year. He’ll need to learn to use his length more effectively by improving his hand fighting techniques. he will also need to rush the passer with a plan. Owens needs go-to counter moves in order to continue the rush when his first move is defeated. He did this occasionally in high school, so he just needs to adapt it to the college game. He’ll also need to fix his issues with tackling too high.

When he puts it all together, Owens possesses the best combination of frame and explosiveness of any DL on the roster. With a better scheme fit and some refinement, he’ll see his role expand for 2018 and beyond.