Manti Te’o: Post-Alabama

Earlier, I broke down a few plays that showed the weaknesses in Manti Te’o’s game before the Alabama game.  Today, we look at how similar plays played out against Alabama in the National Championship Game.

Here’s the Alabama tape:

Here’s some of the plays that, in my mind, confirmed that Te’o has big issues that are going to really prevent him from being a productive player in the NFL.

0:46- This is a great example of how Te’o guesses on a play rather than reading it.  This time, playing against a ton of NFL caliber talent, the run goes for a touchdown.

This is the play right after the snap. Both LBs shifted to their right at the snap. Louis Nix (#9) is beating the OL inside. Stephon Tuitt (#7) has outside/contain responsibility. With all the help outside, Teo’s job right here is to help stuff anything up the middle. The other LB is in position to stop anything off left guard/tackle. Notice the WR coming across the screen being used as a decoy.

Te’o guesses that the WR is going to get the ball and begins to shift back to his left. You can see in this picture that he’s shifted his weight back to that side of the field to try to make a play on the WR.

At this point, he’s made the move over there and he’s in no man’s land. He realizes at this point that the RB has the ball and he’s going to try to recover.

But because he guessed wrong, he can’t recover. He lunges after Lacy and Lacy scores a touchdown on a 20 yard run.

This is completely on Te’o. Notre Dame has everything defended well in this play if Te’o simply sticks to his responsibility. He has free reign to fill the space in the middle and make a tackle, but he guessed and can’t recover in time.


1:56- This is another 20 yard (near touchdown) run that is directly on Te’o. He makes 2 of the mistakes he often makes: he guesses and he takes an OL on directly.

This is right about when the ball is being handed off. Zeke Motta is shooting the gap on the left side of the OL. You can kinda see his helmet between 2 of Alabama’s OL (89 and 71). The ND DT engaged with #71 is in good shape, beating the lineman to the inside. And then there’s Te’o. He guessed the wrong way when his responsiblity is to fill the space left of #75. He has Chance Warmack coming at him for a block. He should be taking on half of Warmack leaving the left side of his body to make a tackle if the RB hits that hole.

But he guessed wrong so he can’t get outside. He compounds the mistake by engaging Warmack full on instead of leaving half of his body free to get off the block. Warmack is going to win that battle every time.

Warmack still has him fully engaged because he didn’t leave any of his body free.

And that leaves the right side of the middle wide open for the RB to cut outside for a big run.


2:15- Te’o guesses wrong again here, and it leads to the TE being wide open for a touchdown.

4:25- He hits the gap well but lunges after Yeldon. This is how he tackles. He has an easy tackle for loss here which would force a punt if he just tackles how he should.


6:10- I have no clue what he’s doing here. This is just a terrible, terrible play. There’s a huge hole right where his responsibility is and he just decided to jump into the pile instead.

In picture form:


7:35- This is another great example of Te’o guessing wrong and vacating the open space that the RB ends up running through. Again, it results in a 3rd down conversion on 3rd and short.

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