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2013 Mizzou Walkthrough: Can Hoch raise his game in his second year at DT?

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Bill Carter

Matt Hoch

#89 | 6'5, 295, Jr. | Harlan, IA

2011: 11 games, 1.5 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 1 QB hurry
2012: 12 games, 27.5 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2.0 sacks, 3 PBUs

Bill C.: First, he was a tight end who couldn't keep on weight. Then he moved to mid-sized defensive end. And then the weight stuck, and Matt Hoch quickly became a good-sized defensive tackle.

As a complement to Sheldon Richardson in 2012, Hoch was strong and active, making his share of plays behind the line and batting down some passes. But that was as a complement. In 2013, there is no boss hog to distract the offensive line. We can talk up the defensive ends -- and it's not really very hard to talk up Kony Ealy, of course -- but accounting for Richardson's absence will require improvement across the board. Hoch was new to the position and held his own last year; now he has to thrive. There's really no choice.

If there's one problem I have with Hoch (other than "He's not Sheldon"), it's that he's a bit of a 'tweener. This is oversimplified, but generally speaking, there are two types of really good defensive tackles: the space-eaters who occupy multiple blockers, and the play-makers. Hoch isn't yet big or strong enough to be the former, and in Sheldon's absence last year against Syracuse, he didn't prove himself the latter. He is an athletic, interesting presence -- he did get pretty high into the air in that mostly unnecessary leaping interception in the spring game -- and if he can continue to further learn the position (it was his first year at DT last season), he could certainly be a strong asset over the coming two years, even if he isn't an outright star.

MizzouRugby: We still have a Hoch on the roster for one more season?! The conversion to DT is a full year behind him now, hopefully that’s enough experience, and Ealy and Sam are disruptive enough, to hold his own in the middle.

The Beef: Here is another person who is really going to need to become a star at some level for us to be successful, as this is the other really thin group in my estimation. Hoch had some nice spots last year, but will become quite the focus without teams having to double to try contain big Shel. Can he take the next step in his final season as a Tiger? He’ll need to for the defense to be good.

countrycal: This is the guy I anticipate to really step up and make some noise this year. After starting all year last year as a sophomore in his first year as tackle and against SEC competition, Matt should be comfortable at his position and ready to put both brain and brawn together to solidify a defensive line that needs dependable leadership and a consistent anchor of strength on the inside. Along with Evan Boehm on the offensive line, I see Matt as the Man around which a solid (if not spectacular) D-line can be built.