Sports are pretty simple. You win or you lose. College football ruled out ties years ago. However, there are times when falling just short of a goal can be effective.
Byron Young is a great example. The Tennessee defensive end/linebacker has only one sack this season. However, he has ten quarterback hurries. Those hurries have resulted in quarterbacks making errant throws. The most important one occurred when Florida heaved a Hail Mary pass towards the end zone on the final play against the Vols that fell short. Why? Young was hanging all over Gator quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Certainly, Young would like for those sack and hurries numbers to be reversed. So what has the senior worked on during the bye week to boost those sack numbers?
“When I watch a lot of my pass rushes, I’d be like a second away from getting the sack or just the way I tackle, you know, grabbing the throwing arm,” Young said. “I feel like that’s one of the main things. You know, my problem, I’m not getting that much sacks, so I just work on getting off the ball, getting vertical and just containing and tackling, tackling better, basically.”
Young’s quickness could come into play this week against LSU. The Tigers’ offensive line has four players that are capable of playing at over 320 pounds and two that tip the scales over 350 pounds.
“They got a really big offensive line,” Young said. “The tackles, they are quick on their feet. So the things you know, some things I’ve seen that they’re an up-tempo offense and they’re pretty good with their movement. So we just got to do our assignments and I feel like we’ll be okay.”
LSU made history last month against Mississippi State when the Tigers started two true offensive linemen at each tackle position. The whippersnappers may not have experience, but they have ability.
“Both of them,” Young said, referring to Will Campbell and Emery Jones,” Young said. “They’re really powerful…But for the most part, you know, they are really mature and look like they really, individually, are really good tackles.”
LSU’s young athletic tackles won’t be the only test for Young. He’ll also have to keep his composure when the Vols play at Tiger Stadium. No problem.
“Honestly, I like road games,” Young said. “For us as a defense, it’s like not that much noise, just communicating at home, you know, it’ can be really loud, which what we want, we want them to be loud, but, you know, sometimes it can be hard to communicate.”
Speaking of freshmen, Young has an underclassman teammate that is making waves. Defensive end/linebacker Joshua Josephs has shown flashes of being a great player.
“He got a lot of potential,” Young said. “Very fast. Mature guy. Has really long arms. The is future really bright for him. And I talk to him every day. He wants to get better.”
He’ll have a chance to do so on Saturday against some peers in his own age group.