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Is Charles Harris an Island Unto Himself?

Can Missouri’s star DE function as a man apart? Or does he need a little help from his friends?

Missouri v Georgia
Yeah, you’re not getting out of that.

Lewis and Clark. Orville and Wilbur Wright. Captain and Tennille.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah.

Michael Sam and Kony Ealy. Shane Ray and Markus Golden. Charles Harris and Walter Brady.

Over the past three seasons, Missouri has been able to cultivate such a potent pass rush in large part because it had hellbeasts coming from both ends of its defensive line. So, if you were an offensive line coach unfortunate enough to run up against them, you couldn’t key on just one.

Focus on Sam, and Ealy was going to have a big game. Shift resources to Ray, and Golden was going to dreadlock you to death. Hone in on Harris, and Brady did a good job of punishing last year.

Brady’s gone now. Who will be the new counterbalance? Does Harris, with all his skill and tenacity, even really need one?

What is the sound of one Charles Harris rushing?

We thought it’d be interesting to take a sampling of Harris’ most and least productive games from last season -- three of each, six total. That’s half the year, a respectable sample size — and look at all his defensive snaps to see how opposing teams blocked him in those games. And how well the guys on the other end (Brady and Marcell Frazier) were able to punish teams if they paid too much attention to Harris.

We were hamstrung a little by what full game tape is out there. Vanderbilt, for instance, is a 3-TFL Harris game we would’ve loved to study.

Couldn’t find it.

BYU was a one-tackle, no-TFL game we would have liked to see on the low production end.

Couldn’t find a full version of it.

So what we ended up with was Arkansas State, Florida and Tennessee on the productive end and Kentucky, South Carolina and Arkansas on the unproductive.

Before we get started, also, we went a little kooky counting tackles, TFL and sacks. We separated them from each other and gave only halves for assisted ones.

So, for example, a game in which Harris had 2 solo and 1 assisted tackle, 1.5 TFL and a sack would read thusly in a game book: 3 tackles, 1.5 TFL, sack.

We’d represent it this way: tackle, 0.5 TFL, sack. Three separate actions, none counted twice. You picking up what we’re putting down?

Category 1: Charles of House Harris, First of His Name, Destroyer of Celestial Bodies

vs. Arkansas State

One-on-One: 45 (tackle, 2 sacks, TFL, hurry) -- 72.6%

Unblocked: 7 (1.5 TFL) -- 11.3%

Double team: 6 (hurry) -- 9.68%

Coverage: 4 -- 6.45%

Total: 62 (tackle, 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 hurries)

Brady/Frazier line: 2 tackles, 2.5 TFL

Maybe the book wasn’t quite out on Harris yet, because the Red Wolves only doubled him on six of 62 snaps. He still managed a hurry on one of them.

Singled or left free to roam, he was positively unblockable. And the other end of the line had a pretty productive game as well.


vs. Florida

One-on-One: 44 (2 tackles, sack) -- 67.7%

Double team: 10 -- 15.4%

Unblocked: 7 (1.5 tackles, TFL) -- 10.8%

Coverage: 4 -- 6.15%

Total: 65 (3.5 tackles, TFL, sack)

Brady/Frazier line: 3 tackles, sack

More frequent double teams and to better effect from the Gators. Did all of his damage against single blocking — including spinning left tackle David Sharpe into oblivion — or unblocked.

Brady/Frazier recorded a sack, but weren’t quite as present as Arkansas State.


vs. Tennessee

One-on-One: 43 (1.5 tackles, 1.5 TFL) -- 68.3%

Double team: 10 -- 15.9%

Unblocked: 6 (2 tackles, PBU) -- 9.52%

Coverage: 4 (tackle) -- 6.35%

Total: 63 (4.5 tackles, 1.5 TFL, PBU)

Brady/Frazier line: 4 tackles, PBU, 2 QBH

About the same double-team frequency and efficacy of the Florida game. Brady and Frazier didn’t get anyone behind the line, but were still fairly active.


Productive-Game Sample

One-on-One: 132 (4.5 tackles, 3 sacks, 2.5 TFL, hurry) -- 69.5%

Double team: 26 (hurry) -- 13.7%

Unblocked: 20 (3.5 tackles, 2.5 TFL, PBU) -- 10.5%

Coverage: 12 (tackle) -- 6.32%

Total: 190 (9 tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks, PBU, 2 hurries)

Brady/Frazier line: 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL, sack, PBU, 2 QBH

Category 2: Chuck. Just Chuck.

Vs. Kentucky

One-on-One: 42 (0.5 tackle, TFL) -- 72.4%

Double team: 10 (1.5 tackles) -- 17.2%

Unblocked: 5 (0.5 tackle, 0.5 TFL) -- 8.62%

Coverage: 1 -- 1.72%

Total: 58 (2.5 tackles, 1.5 TFL)

Brady/Frazier line: 2 tackles, 0.5 TFL, sack

Kentucky doubled Harris 17.2 percent of the time and he still managed to get in on a solo and assisted tackle while the Wildcats were doing so.

Brady and Frazier logged a sack and an assisted TFL.


vs. South Carolina

One-on-One: 29 (0.5 tackle, hurry) -- 59.2%

Unblocked: 9 (2 tackles) -- 18.4%

Double team: 8 -- 16.3%

Coverage: 3 -- 6.12%

Total: 49 (2.5 tackles, hurry)

Brady/Frazier line: 1.5 tackles, 3 sacks, INT

South Carolina doubled Harris on 16.3 percent of the snaps and left him untouched (either running away from him or leaving him as the read end on a read option) on 18.4 percent.

Brady (especially) and Frazier made it hurt on the other end, combining for three sacks and a Brady pick.


vs. Arkansas

One-on-One: 39 (0.5 tackle) -- 75.0%

Double team: 9 (0.5 tackle) -- 17.3%

Unblocked: 2 -- 3.85%

Coverage: 2 -- 3.85%

Total: 52 (1 tackle)

Brady/Frazier line: 2.5 tackles, 1.5 TFL

Arkansas took time to double Harris on 17.3 percent of his snaps while it was chewing up Missouri’s defense on the ground. One of his half-tackles, though, did come while he was being doubled.

Brady and Frazier were about as active as they were against Kentucky.


Unproductive-Game Sample

One-on-One: 110 (1.5 tackles, TFL, hurry) -- 69.2%

Double team: 27 (2 tackles) -- 17.0%

Unblocked: 16 (2.5 tackles, 0.5 TFL) -- 10.0%

Coverage: 6 -- 3.77%

Total: 159 (6 tackles, 1.5 TFL, hurry)

Brady/Frazier line: 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 3 sacks, INT

What is the lesson from this?

Harris was double-teamed 24.1 percent more frequently in the unproductive game sample than the productive game sample. I know, right? Fighting through more dudes makes it harder to put up big numbers. News at 11.

But the key is how effective the other end of the line can be at punishing teams that run more resources at Harris.

In his three productive games we studied, Brady and Frazier combined for 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL, a sack (3.5 TFL combining them), a PBU and 2 hurries. In the three less productive games, they combined for 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 3 sacks (4.5 TFL combining) and an interception.

They still were able to make impact plays when Harris was having an off game/being hounded by multiple mere mortals on the offensive side of the ball.

Harris’ single-game TFL lines for the season split quite nicely into three categories: four games in which he had 0-1, four games in which he had 1.5 and four games in which he had 2 or more. Let’s see how Brady and Frazier’s numbers compared in those three categories:

0-1 Harris TFL (South Carolina, Georgia, BYU, Arkansas)

Brady/Frazier: 10.5 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 sacks, INT, FF, 2 QBH

1.5 Harris TFL (SEMO, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee)

Brady/Frazier: 9 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, FF, PBU, 7 QBH

2+ Harris TFL (Arkansas State, Connecticut, Florida, Vanderbilt)

Brady/Frazier: 6.5 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 3 sacks, FR, PBU, 2 QBH


Kind of interesting, right? Those two were most productive in the four games in which Harris did the least work behind the line of scrimmage.

So it would seem that, if opposing teams are going to pay more attention to Harris in their gameplanning this year (oh, and they will...), Missouri needs someone on the other end of the line to make those teams pay.

Will it be Jordan Harold? Spencer Williams? Frazier? Tre Williams? Donavin Newsom as a fourth, blitzing linebacker?

The Tigers would do well to find out.