Published August 13, 2012 - 4:30pm
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He comes to Tennessee by way of Georgia Military College, a JUCO in Milledgeville, Georgia.
McCullers will remind you of one Terrence Cody who took up real estate on Alabama’s defensive line, but McCullers is taller and wider than Cody. You hear Nick Saban and Will Muschamp talk about girth all the time.
Well, McCullers defines girth; he is girth.
His presence in the lineup allows Tennessee to be multiple on defense. Sal Sunseri’s new 3-4 scheme wouldn’t be installable unless McCullers manned the middle. Tennessee will also show a basic 4-3 look, but he allows the Vols to show different looks and multiple defensive fronts.
Who cares if he can’t run off the field in time for the 40-second play clock?
Nose tackles in 3-4 schemes don’t have to be exactly athletic or quick. They just have to clog holes, eat up real estate and take on two offensive linemen when running backs run between the tackles. There’s really no stat line to measure them by and little praise is sent in their direction.
The nose tackle is the key to 3-4. It’s why Muschamp hasn’t been able to really run it yet, and how Saban makes his money year in and year out.
“The nose tackle and the inside linebackers, those are three guys that are very important. But when you go through it, the nose tackle is probably the single-most important guy [3-4 Defense].
- Joe Collier, Denver Broncos Assistant (1969-1988)
Behind McCullers are four very good linebackers in Curt Maggit, Herman Lathers, Jacques Smith and AJ Johnson. Each excels at what they do and will be equally important to this year’s team in helping the defense with the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
But none of them are more important than Mount McCullers.
He’s already been penciled in as a starter, and look for him to be a big factor in why Tennessee’s defense shows improvement in 2012. Dooley now says the Vols have the ‘big bodies’ to compete in the SEC.