Seattle's first round draft pick from this year, Bruce Irvin, bristles at the idea that he's a 'one-trick pony,' that all he's good for is in rushing the passer. In the Seahawks 4-3 defense, that's his main role anyway, but Pete Carroll's LEO position is also asked to defend the run in some situations and this has caused some to wonder if Irvin will be effective early in his career. Irvin was on KJR Sports Radio shortly after being drafted, and addressed some of those concerns. In describing his potential as a pass rusher, he pointed out that West Virginia's scheme on the defensive line was primarily aimed at stopping the run.
"No disrespect to my coaches [at West Virginia]. They emphasize on stopping the run, and they were good at it. They developed me more as a player in my final year, but as a far as pass rushing - that wasn't their thing. And I'm not the only player who would say that. It's no disrespect to them but my coach wasn't a pass-rushing coach . . . And like I said, just imagine if I get a coach who actually teaches me moves and teaches me counter moves and how to set up people. Man, I could be a double-digit sack guy in this league for a long time."
"It ain't that I can't play the run, it's how they wanted me to play the run. We ran a 3-3-5 stack defense, I was 235 pounds and you got me in a three technique? I can't help you. You got me going against two 300-pounders and I'm only 235? I don't know anybody who could play the run against two 300-pound guys at 235 pounds. But you put me in a five technique and you ask me to hold center edge and don't let anything get outside of me, I can do that. I think people just kinda misunderstood and didn't really know the basis of our defense. We were the only team that ran a 3-3-5 stack in the country. I was a different type of player and that's not a typical defense for me, but I feel like I was still pretty productive - 23 sacks in two years, so you know, I made the best out of the situation."
This is applicable to the Seahawks because of the importance Pete Carroll and his staff put on stopping the run. The LEO's primary concern is pressuring the quarterback, but that doesn't mean they can just ignore a running back carrying the ball past their gaps. Chris Clemons has been a very consistent and successful starter for the Seahawks in his two seasons here because of his rare ability to get to the quarterback but also play the run. We'll see how Irvin fares, but it's worth noting that the scheme at West Virginia wasn't exactly ideal for a player his size.