Film review of Cole Mabry...
Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans are going to love Cole Mabry. Four years from now, when he is starting at right tackle, we will all remember the relatIvey unknown prospect and bask in the glory of how far he has come.
The 6’6” 270 pound Mabry is a RT from Brentwood, Tennessee and has plenty of strengths despite his barely awarded 3 star rating. A kid who has been on Coach Chip Long’s radar for a while, he is a known commodity within the Irish coaching staff. The thing that jumped out at me immediately in the film review is Mabry is a mauler. A natural born run blocker. He has the natural lean you want in an offensive lineman. This is when you have a lineman that at the snap, has even weight distribution on his feet and proper splits to allow him the ability to take good angles on his blocks. Marby sets himself well once he is engaged with the defender by getting low and driving into the other guys chest. This is another indication of his natural inclination to want to run block. He follows the three step technique you look for in an accomplished road grader. First step is his power step, second step is his quick reaction to defense, and third is to attack. Marbry’s third step in this process is his calling card. Once he has engaged and attacked the defender, he sustains that block to the echo of the whistle.
This is the stuff a coach like Harry Heinstand loves to see.
Mabry shows good footwork to get to the second level on run plays after helping the offensive guard. He does this by chipping down, and moving to the linebacker. This is what sold him to Chip Long. In coach Long’s version of the spread he will incorporate more North-South run calls. This requires the offensive line to move in shorter ground to cover and engage in their blocks. It will also require the tackles to do more of the “"chip and release” to the LB/Safety level. This is good news for Mabry- and the last few recruiting classes of offensive lineman for the Irish (as it fits their skill set perfectly). That's why I believe you saw such a struggle in the wide-outside stretch plays last year. You remember those don't you? The ones going east and west, taking 30 seconds to develop. Long’s exposure to the spread did not contain many of those, and the hope here is it will influence Kelly’s offensive philosophy. Mabry fits this thought process and will flourish in the blocking techniques it requires.
A final observation here is Mabry has the DNA for the perfect build of a right tackle. He has a huge frame, and wingspand that can easily carry another 30 pounds. Mabry will need a year or two of physical development in the weight room to get to where he needs to be. As far as his pass blocking goes, I saw some good things on film. As mentioned above, his reach is long and once Mabry gets set, no one moves him. That leads us to a few things he’ll need to work on technique wise once he gets to Notre Dame- almost all of them have to do with pass blocking. Good news here is, it's all correctable.
Mabry has some work to do in the basics of pass blocking. The thing here is it really has more to do with him being such an accomplished run blocker, rather than being a bad at pass protecation. Mabry loves to physically engage his opponent and push him into or down the field. When it comes to pass blocking, and I've seen this over and over again in the past 20 years, is that a run blocking kid (like Mabry) hates to wait on the guy to come to him.
You can see it in his film. He runs up field too often, not by being overpowered, but by the end taking a wide step and Mabry trying to mesh with him as he rushes wide. This causes the tackle to essentially backpedal to “chase” the defensive end and give up to much ground into the pocket. The defensive end can then get under the tackle and reach the QB from that angle.
Mabry, like other lineman like him, is just trying to get into the body of the defender like a run block. Obviously, the problem is you’re going backwards trying to knock the snot out of someone at the same time.
That’s hard to do.
You can see this in his feet right after the snap on a pass play. Mabry has a tendency to ground them, just as he would to get a power step in a run call. This is correctable. Mabry obviously has the athletic prowess to move, so the focus will be to develop a drop step and punch to engage the DE quickly. This will also be helped by the new strength and conditioning program Notre Dame is implementing,in which it will aid- not just in strength training. The program will also develop better coordination and agility to assist the technique required to be a dominate D1 offensive lineman.
This is a very good pick up for the Fighting Irish. Two tackles were being targeted for this year and Mabry is a good start. He is a classic RT. He probably is not polished enough in pass blocking for a left tackle, but he is still athletic enough to develop into a starter on the right side. I wrote in the beginning of the article that in four years we would be talking about how far Mabry had come to be a starter. I truly think, after 2 years (including a RS) in Notre Dame’s offensive system, that he will have developed into a solid offensive lineman. We have the depth to be patient, and it will be worth the wait. Mabry has a mean streak that showed itself quite prominently on film. Mabry plays with an attitude. Something that will be a welcomed trait in South Bend.