How good is Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton?
Check out these quotes from ASU’s game notes, which are distributed to media through the university’s sports information office:
“Number 90, yeah, he needs to go. He needs to go ahead and start getting paid. He’s the best D-lineman I’ve seen by far in our conference. Love the kid’s motor and the passion and he plays the game like you want him to play. Great hands, leverage. He’s a very good player and we’re going to have to find answers for him. I’ve only watched a few plays, but he’s the guy that consistently jumps out every game as a playmaker.” — former Colorado coach Jon Embree.
“The star defensive lineman for the Sun Devils led the Pac-12 in sacks (13.0) and tackles for a loss (23.5). He was virtually unblockable last season and he was rewarded with Pac-12 defensive player of the year honors. He returns for his senior season and leads what was one of the best defenses west of the Mississippi. If ASU can win the South it will be because of Sutton’s play and that could get him some Heisman love.” — Braden Gall, Athlon Sports
Last year, Sutton dominated the line of scrimmage and was so disruptive that he damaged game plans.
He was all-conference, all-American and was named outstanding defensive player for his performance in ASU’s 62-28 win over Navy in the 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Sutton had 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in the game.
The numbers aren’t quite as eye-popping this season.
Sutton’s weight gain from 267 or so up to a listed 305 sparked some criticism at the start of the season and maybe it’s slowed him some.
Don’t be fooled. He can still get into the backfield. He has 33 total tackles, including 7.5 for loss and two sacks.
Stopping Sutton — or at least slowing him down — is the problem facing Oregon State when the teams meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said Sutton’s combination of speed and strength makes him an elite lineman.
“He’s got good pass rush moves, he’s quick, he’s got a good motor, I think he’s got a lot of different moves and good hands,” Langsdorf said. “I think (that) gives him the ability to rush the passer. And then he’s big enough to be able to hang in there when you’re running the ball, too. He’s got enough weight and strength to be physical up front.
“So he’s a combination of a lot of things and he’s one of the best defensive tackles in our conference.”
Protecting the pocket to give quarterback Sean Mannion time to throw is a key to OSU’s offensive success.
The Beavers have to be aware of Sutton at all times to keep him off Mannion.
“We’ve got to block him,” offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We have to have multiple ways that we’re going to do it and so that’s the things we’re preparing on.”
Sutton is a 3-technique tackle, so he lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard. The Sun Devils also move him around.
Guards Josh Andrews and Grant Enger will get most of the work against Sutton.
The Beavers will try to get another blocker to help out when possible.
“We’ll have to do a good job of making sure we know where he is and how he’s aligned at all times and be able to help (the offensive linemen),” Langsdorf said. “He is great, especially one-on-one, but if you can get him slowed down a little bit, then you’re in good shape.
“I think we did a pretty good job handling him last year, but at times when he was singled up, he gave us problems. So we’re going to have to do a good job of helping out and making sure we double him when we can.”