Back on Track

After injury, Pearland's Gilbert Ibeneme is ready to tear it up

Ibeneme has offers from Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston Vype

The Pearland Oilers got off to a rough start last season.

Coming off Hurricane Harvey, the Oilers opened with Manvel. The Mavs crushed Pearland 45-7, but the Oilers also lost one of their stars on defense in Gilbert Ibeneme with and ACL, MCL and meniscus injury.

“The rehab has been tough, but this whole process has pushed me to be a better me,” he said. “It’s driven me to come back faster and stronger.”

Ibeneme will be cleared in June and his injury hasn’t kept college recruiters from offering the 6-foot- 3, 255-pound defensive end.

“Recruiting is going well, but I’m not eyeing just one particular school at the moment,” he said. “I plan on going out of state this summer and checking out schools who have offered me.”

He has offers from the likes of Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Houston, just to name a few.

“My most memorable moment would have to be either receiving my first offer or the day I tore my ACL,” he said. “Both sides of the spectrum.”

While Ibeneme prepares for a breakout senior season, he will be playing for his third coach in three years. Legendary coach Tony Heath retired and gave way to interim James Farmer last season. The Oilers named Ricky Tullos as the new coach a few months ago.

“The new staff is cool,” he said. “Coach Tullos and I are already off to a good start along with the other new staff members. Culture wise, not too much has changed. We still seek the same things as any other school. That’s to win a state championship.”

Having been on the shelf last season, Ibeneme had time to watch his favorite players J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack and Von Miller, who he patterns his game after.

“In five years, I’d like to see myself in the NFL like those guys,” he said.

For now, the big-man is ready to test that knee under the Friday Night Lights.

This article appears in the April Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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