Andre Dillard pass blocked nearly 700 times last year. He allowed one sack.
Pretty good ratio when you’re giving up a sack on 0.001 percent of your pass plays.
Out of those 700 snaps, guess which one he recalls the clearest.
Of course. The one sack.
“I remember that exact play,” Dillard said. “I sometimes like dream about it because I'm just really critical of myself and everything that I can do better on each play.”
Washington State led the BCS with 677 pass attempts last year, one of the highest totals in college football history.
Cougars quarterback Gardner Minshew, who was drafted in the sixth round Saturday by the Jaguars, threw for nearly 5,000 yards with 38 touchdowns this past fall, and that production came with Dillard protecting his blind side.
Washington State went 11-2 and averaged 38 points per game, and Minshew threw an average of 51 times per game.
Dillard spoke about that one sack when he met with the Philly media Friday.
After his interview, he was asked who got the sack and he just shook his head and muttered, “Guy from Utah. No. 6.”
It was seven months ago. Sept. 29, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington, and Dillard still seems disgusted talking about it.
No. 6 from Utah is Bradlee Anae, who is a pretty highly regarded player (his father happened to play with Andy Reid at BYU). Anae was a first-team all-Pac 12 defensive end last year and had 14 ½ sacks over the last two years.
So Dillard isn’t the only tackle he’s victimized.
Still, it drives Dillard nuts that he wasn’t perfect this past season.
“I do remember that my weight was kind of forward and my hands weren't all the way inside on that particular play,” he said. “And so he kind of just got a hold of my shoulder and kind of pulled me down forward and went inside. I'll always remember that play.”
The good news: Washington State did beat Utah that day, 28-24.
The bad news: The Eagles are getting a guy who isn’t perfect. But he was awfully close to it at Washington State.
Nobody chucks the football as much as Mike Leach and Washington State, so Dillard got more work pass blocking over the last few years than any offensive tackle in college football.
Considering he’s coming to a pass-first team in a pass-happy league, it’s hard to imagine a better way to prepare than playing for the Cougars.
“I do think having a leg up on pass protection is helpful for me because it is something that is very hard to master,” he said. “It takes a lot of precision, technique and just poise and everything. And so you really have to study and take lots of reps in order to master something like that. So I think it definitely helps me with that transition.”
So Dillard wasn’t perfect, but think of it this way:
After that Utah game, Washington State played eight more games, including the Alamo Bowl against Iowa State.
Minshew threw 389 passes during that eight-game stretch, and Dillard didn’t allow a sack.
Talk about learning from your mistakes.
Dillard made one of them. Then he never made it again.
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