Now will he survive? Hard to say. He could be a fit in a 3-4 defensive scheme at nose tackle. We all know he has the size and has at least flashed the potential. But he's not exactly blessed with pure athleticism in that body of his. His last 40-time was a 5.27, not exactly blazing speed. But if his job is to simply take up space and try to occupy a couple of blockers, well, who knows. He's probably just a training camp body at this point.
He was always intriguing with his size, but he never seemed to put it all together. Health was the biggest thing, with those bad wheels of his, with high ankle sprains in '04, breaking his leg in '05, and missing time in '06 and '07 with knee and foot injuries. Both he and Aaron Johnson showed so much promise early in '04 as a pair of monsters inside that looked like they could be a hell of a tandem, but it just wasn't to be.
Here's what SI had to say about him:
POSITIVES: Nice-sized defensive lineman with an average game. Keeps his feet moving up the field, plays with good pad level, and wraps up when tackling. Brings down opponents on initial contact.
NEGATIVES: Lacks quickness, explosion, and speed. Rarely gets penetration, displays minimal ability as a pass-rusher, and consistently handled by a single blocker.
ANALYSIS: Pitoitua possesses the size and growth potential to be a run-stuffing lineman in a conventional system, but he does not consistently play to his numbers and shows little fire in his game.Maybe part of Ropati's problem was that he simply played too high? It's hard to stay low when you are that tall, but as a d-tackle that stood straight up in the middle of the line, those knees were easy targets from opposing linemen. That said, when he was on the field he did produce. In his career he recorded 20 tackles-for-loss including 8.5 sacks. Not bad for a guy who only started about half the time. Good luck Ropati!
Kaddy pointed this out the other day in comments, but more weekly photos are popping up on Martin Stadium. While still very much a construction zone, it is looking better by the week, no question. That end-zone area off Stadium Way is going to look completely different this year. I can barely recognize it right now:
I also like the aesthetics of the brick and steel. It adds to the college building style throughout campus and blends in well. It's not like it has the look of some modern arena that looks out of place. The area that could be one of the best features is that courtyard area out by the track. Sterk has touted this area as one large meeting or gathering place, and it's an area that should be well utilized. There's a ton of space out there, so it could be a very underrated part of the gameday experience:
I know, it's hard to get a good "feel" from these construction pics. Some of you have seen these, but some of you haven't, so, here's some artist renderings that aren't exactly easy to find online:
With the adding of the new scoreboard and sound system on the other side of the stadium, and all of a sudden you're talking about a cool setting with much-needed upgrades right in the heart of campus! And that's just the first two phases. Phases three and four are currently in fund-raising mode, and they will be really dramatic in terms of adding seats, suites, etc. Here's the final concept from field-level:
Compare this rendering with the picture in our header for the blog, and you start to get the idea of what kind of a change we are talking about.
ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!