One to Watch: Loni Fangupo
This is our first installment from our newest State of the Texans blogger, Charles Christy
“I’m excited to compete with a top-notch offense and defense.”
It is well known that defensive mastermind Wade Phillips has a knack for putting his players in a position to be successful. One player to watch as the Texans progress through OTA’s and into the pre-season is big nose tackle Hebron “Loni” Fangupo.
Fangupo is an older player that took two years off to dedicate to a church mission – played at USC, then later transferred and finished up at BYU. At 6’1” 323lbs, Fangupo’s strength is his strength – he recorded 36 reps of 225lbs at the 2012 NFL combine, which was third best. But what makes this UDFA pick up by the Texans interesting is how Wade Phillips plans to use him.
Going into last year, the big debate was that the Texans did not have the big road grader 3-4 nose tackle. However, in years past, Wade Phillips has proven he doesn’t “need” such a player (see all pro Jay Ratliff) – but now he has one in Fangupo. If things work out and Fangupo can make the team, watch for him to be a unique weapon for Phillips. Strength is his whole game and will define Fangupo’s value for the Texans. Simply put, Fangupo is a lane clogger, a space eater – the strength to command two blockers – and this double-team translates into one-on-one match ups for the rest of Bulls On Parade.
When asked about his opportunity with the Texans, Fangupo said,
“I can’t speak to what chances I have to play, because honestly, that will be up to the coaches. I can say that I will take care of the things I am in control of. I will give all my effort towards the workouts, plays and studying film. I want to make the most of the opportunity that God has given me.”
The rotation of Cody and Mitchell at the nose worked last year, but with the potential addition of Fangupo, it opens up so many more 3-4 formations for Phillips to install – and so much more planning for opposing offenses.
Texans’ fans, keep your eye on this development…