Philip Blidi needs to prove he’s a consistent contributor
No one will be expecting defensive lineman Philip Blidi to have another two-sack day this weekend as he did against Murray State in week one. After all, prior to that performance, he had managed just 0.5 sacks for his career, which spanned two seasons.
Still, we can ask Blidi to be a consistently disruptive force in the middle of the Red Raider line. However, that’s something he’s yet to show he’s capable of.
In week one, he had four total tackles, three for loss. Only one other time has he had that many tackles in a game (six vs. Oklahoma State last season) and never has he made so many plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Now, the opportunities seem to be there for the New Mexico native. With so much extra attention being paid to edge rusher Tyree Wilson, the rest of the d-line is going to see plenty of one-on-one opportunities.
The question is whether guys like Blidi, Tony Bradford, and Jayon Hutchings can win those individual matchups in the trenches. We still don’t know after one week given how poor last week’s opponent was.
This week, Tech absolutely must get after Houston QB Clayton Tune. If he’s allowed to be comfortable in the pocket, he’s a nightmare to defend (as is the case with most quarterbacks). On the other hand, his history suggests that he will turn the ball over if he’s flustered as was the case last season when he threw four interceptions against the Red Raiders.
So keep an eye on Blidi and the rest of the defensive linemen not named Tyree Wilson. They will have to be active and disruptive for Tech to be able to win this game.