Friday, June 1, 2012

Players Who Don't Get Enough Credit Isaac Sopoaga

Isaac Sopoaga does not play a glamorous position as a 3-4 nose tackle in the 49ers scheme. He is a player that is often absorbing blocks or attempting to get pressure in three or four man rushes. His job is difficult, but he does it well. Because of the nature of the position, we don't get to hear Sopoaga's name much.

Sopoaga transitioned from the end position to nose in 2011; it was a part of incorporating Ray McDonald and letting Aubrayo Franklin walk. It's easy to forget that Sopoaga changed positions, so 2012 will be his second year as the 49ers' starting nose tackle. And like most of the team, I believe Sopoaga will progress in technique, knowledge and experience.

He is also a lot more athletic of a player than folks give him credit for. Sopoaga has selflessly come in on offense to run block and even catch passes from Alex Smith. He has the versatility of a linebacker, but he's playing the nose tackle position. If you watch the film on Sopoaga, it's visible that his footwork greatly assists in his technique.

When a 3-4 defense works as well as this one does, the nose tackle position and outside linebacker positions are usually positions to consider as reasons for the success. Sopoaga is at the nucleus creating disruption and allowing those around him to operate at a high level.

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