Quick defensive end Josh McNary has been consistent through the first quarter of the season and has had a stud like season thus far.
Presently, McNary is ranked 6th in the nation with 5.5 sacks and appears to be 100% healthy. So, is this the season that he envisioned for himself and is there more to come?
"I definitely expect this to be my breakout season," the junior hybrid defensive end shared with GoBlackKnights.com. "This is the season I looked forward to coming into my role as a defensive end and reach my potential. Last year I made the transition from linebacker to defensive end. I have a full year at either position and you need a full year to really perfect your position. Since last season and throughout the offseason I've been looking forward to the 2009 to be my breakout year."
One of the true test for McNary, who currently measures in at 6-foot-1, 225 and has an impressive 4.68 forty to go along with his athletic ability, is matching up against bigger, but not necessarily stronger offensive lineman. It is McNary's combination of quickness, athleticism and strength that has made him a royal headache for offensive tackle, quarterbacks and running backs.
The big test for the up and coming defensive mainstay was this past Saturday against the mammoth offensive line of Iowa State.
In that game, McNary was his typical causing havoc self, where he registered a team high 10 tackles, 2 of those were for loses (8.5 on the season) and one quarterback hurry.
"They (offensive linemen) were definitely physical, but I did not change anything in my style of play," McNary declared. "I try to attack them and I felt like it was necessary for me to be on the attacking end. In that spread option look, a lot of times they tried to step out and try to block me and widen that B gap up. Mostly I tried to basically hit them before they were able to get to me, with the attempts to confine that B gap
. And prevent that from widening up.
In terms of pass rushing I did not change my style and I'm use to playing against big offensive linemen."
I think we are real tight, real cohesive
the theme of our defense is swarm and we eternalize that and try to let that reflect our performance on the field.
- Defensive end, Josh McNary
If he could, Coach Ellerson would clone the talented defensive and have him play multiple positions in this "Swarm" defense. One thing for sure, McNary's attributes as a player are an ideal fit for what Ellerson looks for in the defensive side of the ball.
"This defense fits me really well," confirms McNary. "It fits my personality on the field and my abilities in the sense that it gives me the opportunity to be like a stand up d-lineman, where I'm physical and still able to take on offensive linemen, which I feel that I'm good at.
Also, it gives me an opportunity to drop back into coverage, and perform some of the linebacker tasks, that I feel that I'm pretty good at."
The sting of the lost to Iowa State has faded somewhat and this week it's about preparing for visiting Tulane. With the offense still finding their identity, this defensive unit must dust themselves off and put back on that swagger garment, that is the fuse that ignites the team overall and the Army faithful.
"I think we are real tight, real cohesive
the theme of our defense is swarm and we internalize that and try to let that reflect our performance on the field," states McNary. "We are all on the same page and I think that is one of reasons for our success so far this season.
We feel that we can win most of the games on our schedule and something we been preparing ourselves for this season."
McNary is really starting to reconcile his potential to net results, as he continues to grasp and embrace the role at the quick defensive end spot. Once he masters the position, he has the talent base to make a run at not only being a dominant pass rusher, but a dominant defender, period.
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