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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 15, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Lee Pegues

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

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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 he works.

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.

E-mail Ron Cherubini

Ron Cherubini Archives

08/19/2012 01:25 PM


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