CHERUBINI CHIMES IN
One-on-One with the
August 15, 2010
By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.
Mobile Alpha version of this page.
When East Carolina defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell gets to talking
about his defensive ends, you get the sense that he loves to bring up Lee
Pegues. He considers Pegues not only a dominant-type of DE for his 3-4
scheme, but also a guy who is a self-made man in that respect.
Mitchell said that it was a testament to Pegues’ effort that the defense was
allowed to move one of its best players, Derrell Johnson, back from
defensive end to linebacker. The off-season work by Pegues to pack his 6-2,
290-pound body with enough punch, power, and agility to play the DE position
the way it was designed allowed the Pirates to have a win-win scenario at
the position. In Pegues, the Pirates have probably the one true defensive
end for the system, as opposed to the other DEs, who are a mix of pass-rush
specialists and quickness over power. With Pegues, the Pirates have a
bonafide bull rusher who can take on a tackle mano-a-mano, which should
allow the OLBs some real, straight-line approaches at opposing QBs.
Pegues is expected to lock down one of the DE spots this fall and should be
a dominant type for the Pirates up front.
Lee was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his
insights on the upcoming season.
Lee Pegues in action
(ECU SID photo)
One-on-One with Lee Pegues
Q: When Coach Brian Mitchell and
I last talked, one of the topics was simply how much
you have done to become the dominating DE needed in
the 3-4 alignment. Can you talk about that
transition and what you’ve done to have your DC so
confident in your abilities?
A: For me it started with the
off-season. Coach (Brian) Mitchell told us that
Derrell (Johnson) was going to move back to
linebacker, so we all have to step it up. So I have
working really hard in the off-season on the
techniques I need to be able to hold my ground.
Quick feet, reading the tackle, containing the edge,
those things. Put in a lot of workouts and then
working after the workouts to get it right. I feel
like I have gotten much better technique-wise.
Q: You mentioned that Coach
Mitchell had let the DEs know that Derrell (would be
changing positions) and Maurice Falls would be
moving to OL. Were you surprised by that move? Do
you ever get any DE advice from Derrell now that he
has shifted back to LB?
A: (It) didn’t really surprise me
because even though Derrell is big and strong, he
can move around in space so it made sense. We (Pegues
and Johnson) talked about the move and how it was a
good move for the defense overall. Derrell is so
good in space and I am more suited for taking on the
tackle. We talk about how we both can gain an
advantage this way.
Q: There are high, high
expectations for the front seven and more so
probably for the defensive line where many believe
we are not only two-deep across the positions, but
that we could have one of the better defensive lines
in C-USA. As a unit, do you feel like you guys have
jelled in regards to working well together? Describe
what your job is in this defense.
A: I think that we have jelled a
lot. It is our second year in this defense and we
are more comfortable. We can run more stuff now that
we know the defense so well, line stunts, shifts,
that type of stuff. My job in the 4-technique is to
control the D gap. I have to read the tackle and
control the gap along with the the rest of the
defensive line and their movement. I control the
offensive tackle to ensure that I close my gap or
control the edge depending on the read.
Q: What player on this team do
you most respect and why?
A: Justin Hardy. He came here as
a preferred walk-on and he is already one of the top
receivers in the league. I really respect how hard
Q: Working against the OL, do you
personally see improvement in that group?
A: The improvement on the
offensive line is real noticeable. They are a lot
stronger and quicker, too. It is really good to be
able to work against them at this level because it
allows me to push my techniques and game.
Q: Any particular game you are
most looking forward to? Why?
A: Definitely the first game
against Appalachian State because we got to get out
of the blocks the right way. And I have to say,
personally, also the second game (South Carolina)
because I am from South Carolina and I will be going
home for that game, so it is a game I am looking
forward to — you know, to play against your hometown
team. That will be exciting, too.
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