LB Freddy Keiaho explains the role of the strongside linebacker in the Colts' scheme, and talks about his experience at middle linebacker against New England and his impressive contributions to Indianapolis' special teams efforts following a 3-tackle, 1 forced fumble performance against the Bills.
Ed Thompson: You've been training at strongside linebacker this season and then they switched you over to middle linebacker to fill
in during the second half of the New England game for Gary Brackett. What's the biggest difference between those two positions in this defense?
Freddy Keiaho: Strongside is pretty much just containing the play, forcing everything back to the middle linebacker and free safety. You're not going to make many plays at strongside against the run because you don't have any gaps to run through in our base coverage when the play runs toward you. The middle
and weakside linebacker positions see more action because that's what our defense is centered
around -- Cato (June) and Gary (Brackett).
ET: Explain what you mean by "containing the play" for the fans?
FK: If a play is run to the outside and we're playing our three-deep coverage, there's only one guy outside the strongside linebacker and that's the corner who covers in the deep third so he's about 9-10 yards off the ball. The strongside linebacker's job is to force everything back towards the other nine guys who are running towards the
ball to make the tackle.
ET: How about differences in pass coverage?
FK: As the strongside linebacker you're really focusing on one route and that's the out route. If you're playing middle
linebacker in our base coverage, you're in the middle of the field and you have more opportunities to make plays.
ET: What was going through your mind when you were sent in to play middle linebacker in the second half of the New England game?
FK: Just go in there and do what we did in practice. That was pretty much it -- just get in there, get in your alignment and call the defense.
ET: You only had two days to prepare...how tough was that?
FK: I sat down with Gary, we met over it at lunch, and we just went over the game plan and I just spent extra time and studied the position.
ET: Your energy level out there was very high as usual and one of our fans said that looking at your eyes it really reminded him of
the intensity Mike Singletary of the Bears used to show out there at the
position -- his level of focus and excitability. How do you react to a comparison like that?
FK: It's flattering to hear those kind of things...I don't know what to say about those kinds of things. It was fun to be out there and play middle linebacker and pretty much control the whole defense. It takes a lot of work, but that was a lot of fun.
ColtPower Insiders can read the rest of this interview, including the feedback he got from his coaches after his debut at middle linebacker, what he saw on the play where he stuffed running back Kevin Faulk, what he noticed that Buffalo did well defensively against Indy last Sunday and more! Click here...