The things that make David Irving so good aren't characteristics shared by most defensive tackles.
"His speed, his quickness," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said Tuesday.
The 6-foot-7, converted defensive end has had an up-and-down season, with flashes of excellence — a mauling of Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock, two blocked PATs — and spells of anonymity, like the entire Baylor game.
"I think that's fair — I think it's been in inconsistent," Rhoads said of Irving's season. "We've never been overly productive at the tackle position, it's something we'd sure like to change with [Brandon] Jensen, [Rodney] Coe and Irving getting the bulk of those snaps."
It's generally tough to evaluate a defensive tackle. While Irving, in a 4-3 scheme, is able to make more plays than he would in the 3-4, he's still charged with plugging gaps and allowing linebackers to roam free behind him. There is no stat for "linemen occupied."
If Tuesday night's practice was any indication, though, Irving is charged for a strong second half.
"He just made a couple plays over there to finish up practice that excite ya," Rhoads said. " A really good football plays. He's really becoming a confident player, he's a lot more aggressive right now."
The junior has 14 total tackles, two sacks, two swats and three quarterback hurries.
Limited in the offseason because of a shoulder injury while adjusting to a challenging position change, Irving, Rhoads says, is starting to find a groove.
"I think he's realizing he's stronger than he knew he was," Rhoads said. "Coming off the shoulder surgery and being limited in the offseason and the summer, now he's rag-dolling some guys tonight. And he's surprised himself I think at times. I look for a big close to his season."