- UCLA closed Pro Day to media and the public to prevent "distractions" during the workouts, though UCLAbruins.com was covering the event. The ban also extended to parents of players working out. Football program employees, working in pairs, were on roving patrols in the parking structures, which are well away from the field. "I think this is all unnecessary," said Mark Dye, whose son Tony Dye was a safety for the Bruins the last four seasons. "If they have a legitimate reason for keeping parents out, I haven't heard it yet." Dye said that he was told this was like "a job interview." But Dye said, "As a parent of a player who has been here four years, I want to see my son play his last bit of football at UCLA." As for the job interview explanation, Dye said, "I get that I wouldn't go on a job interview with my son. But watching him play football this far away?" - Chris Foster, The LA Times
Full Tony Dye News Wire
Some universities are known for producing NFL talent at certain positions. Penn State is known as Linebacker U. USC is known for their running backs. At UCLA, safeties are the position of esteem.
This reputation was well earned by the likes of Kenny Easley, Eric Turner, Carnell Lake and Shaun Williams, among others. It was reinforced this past year with Rahim Moore being selected in the second round by the Denver Broncos. Dye, who was a more consistent player last year than the more heavily hyped Moore, enters his senior campaign as one of the more established prospects of the deep patrol. Last season it was Dye, not Moore, who earned Co-MVP honors (shared with Akeem Ayers) on the defensive side of the ball after leading the Bruins with 96 tackles and nine pass breakups.
Having started 26 games at strong safety over his first three seasons with the Bruins, Dye is expected to replace Moore at free safety in 2011. A reliable open field tackler whose physicality belies his lack of prototype size, if Dye can prove to be a more consistent playmaker in his senior season (only one career INT), he could warrant Top 100 consideration.
Read & React: Good key and diagnosis skills. Quick to attack the line of scrimmage when he reads run, making him a little vulnerable to play-action. At his best when he can read the eyes of the quarterback and shows a nice break on the ball (USC). Good recognition for zone coverage, efficiently getting to the ball. Takes proper angles in pursuit.
Man Coverage: Only occasionally asked to drop down and cover receivers out of the slot. High and choppy in his back pedal (like most safeties) and can be a bit grabby. Allows too much cushion and has only average speed and agility, overall.
Zone Coverage: Better in zone coverage than man due to his recognition and aggression. Keeps his head on a swivel and understands route combinations so he's often near the ball. Can plant and drive so he can close quickly.
Ball Skills: Has to do a better job of turning pass breakup opportunities into interceptions. Only has one interception (USC, 2011) despite 11 career passes defended (including nine last year). Shows a burst to close on the ball, but has only average speed, and agility, overall. Competes for jump balls, showing a good vertical jump, timing and strength to rip the ball away as the receiver attempts to secure it.
Run Support: Arguably his best trait. Reacts quickly to the run and isn't afraid of attacking the line of scrimmage. Slips past offensive linemen and either makes the tackle himself or forces the ball-carrier to alter their plans, leaving easy tackle opportunities for teammates.
Tackling: A more reliable open-field tackler than former teammate Rahim Moore was last year. Breaks down well to make the secure stop against bigger or more athletic ball-carriers. Isn't an intimidator but shows some hitting ability. Will lower his shoulder occasionally into the ball-carrier. Generally a wrap-up tackler who doesn't give up much yardage after contact. Takes good angles in pursuit, masking a lack of top-end speed.
Intangibles: Has emerged as a team leader for the Bruins. Viewed as a potentially interchangeable safety capable of playing well at either free or strong safety. Missed some time during the 2011 spring with a left knee sprain. Lists Champ Bailey and NHL star Mike Modano as the athletes he admires most. Almost gave up football to play hockey while going to high school in Minnesota.