The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

95° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dotson has hit mentality

    UA defensive tackle Lionel Dotson (54) celebrates with cornerback Devin Ross after sacking WSU quarterback Alex Brink in Arizonas 48-20 win over the Cougars on Sept. 29 at Arizona Stadium. Dotson leads the Wildcats with 4.5 sacks.
    UA defensive tackle Lionel Dotson (54) celebrates with cornerback Devin Ross after sacking WSU quarterback Alex Brink in Arizona’s 48-20 win over the Cougars on Sept. 29 at Arizona Stadium. Dotson leads the Wildcats with 4.5 sacks.

    It’s like a car accident.

    That’s how defensive tackle Lionel Dotson describes each play in the life of a defensive lineman.

    “”You are going to get hit,”” Dotson said. “”Life isn’t easy on the defensive line. You just have to focus on being the hitter, not the hittee. If you become the hittee, bad things are going to happen.

    “”You have to be physical and at your best on every single play,”” he added. “”There are no plays that you can take off.””

    With defensive linemen often double-teamed, stunting to make holes for the linebackers and filling the holes the offensive line creates with their gaps, it usually leaves little opportunity for sacks.

    But Dotson – who started his career at Arizona in 2004 as a defensive end – progressed throughout his time in football thriving on the thrill of getting to the quarterback. And the confines of the defensive trenches haven’t been enough to hold him back.

    The 6-foot-4, 286-pound defensive tackle has continued to excel in pressuring the quarterback, leading the Wildcats with 4.5 sacks, including at least one in each of the last three games. Arizona has registered only 15 sacks this season as a team.

    “”If it isn’t (Dotson) next to me out there, I feel uncomfortable,”” said defensive tackle Yaniv Barnett. “”It is extremely hard to get to the quarterback from inside the line. Sometimes you have two people blocking you, but he is getting it done.””

    Dotson has continued to utilize his burst in the interior line by beating slower offensive linemen off the ball, carrying over the speed and quickness he possessed

    during his early years at end.

    Dotson said he takes time before every play to evaluate the snap count while looking at the ball, eventually allowing him to make use of his quickness by trying to jump the snap and wreak havoc in the backfield.

    UA head coach Mike Stoops said Dotson’s speed is a valuable commodity on the line.

    “”I think you always try to utilize your speed as an advantage,”” Stoops said. “”As a defensive end, you have to have a little more speed, and speed is a better asset inside. He has played some of his best football here of late and has done a good job.””

    Though defensive linemen are typically unappreciated, and sacks aren’t a major part of their job description, Dotson said he enjoys the contact of each play while looking forward to the opportunities of each snap.

    “”We are underappreciated, even though it all starts up front,”” Dotson said. “”But if the line doesn’t do their job and we aren’t good up front, it is definitely going to be a long day for the linebackers and
    the secondary.

    “”I know it is rare for defensive linemen to get sacks, and when I do it’s an honor,”” he added. “”Not everyone can get sacks on the defensive line, so it’s just a blessing that I am able to do it.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search