Prior to this season, Torrey Dale had only played two years at defensive tackle during eighth and ninth grade.
But during training camp this past fall, defensive line coach David Turner experimented with using Dale inside during some walk through drills. By the next practice, the junior had made the move for good.
“At first I thought I’d be playing inside and outside but once they said it was permanent I embraced it and took it as my role,” Dale said.
Changing positions proved to pay dividends for the former defensive end. Dale played in all 13 games in 2015, matching his career total from the two previous seasons. He set a personal high with nine tackles, a half-tackle for loss and a pass deflection.
“The biggest difference is the double teams,” Dale said. “You’ve got a weight leaning on you and you’ve got to hold your spot and get through two guys. At first that’s challenging but if you learn the techniques to go with it and play hard everything will handle itself.”
This season was a long time coming for the Kenner, Louisiana native. After redshirting in 2012, Dale battled illness and injury over the next two years with tonsillitis as a redshirt freshman and a torn right MCL as a sophomore.
“It’s a major blessing to be out there with my brothers and be able to contribute every weekend,” Dale said. “This is what I came here to do and I’m finally getting that opportunity.”
Dale weighed in at 252-pounds when training camp began in August but was tipping the scales at 275 by the end of the season.
Now that Dale knows he will be inside as a senior, he plans to add more weight in the offseason.
“I’m going to try and keep gaining some,” Dale said. “It wouldn’t hurt if I got heavier to play inside.”
Dale arrived at MSU as a three-star out of perennial powerhouse John Curtis Christian. As he prepares to play his final year, he is glad he chose to play for the Bulldogs.
“I love it here and like they say, it’s a family,” Dale said. “Everybody is always watching out for each other and we’ve always got each other’s backs. You couldn’t ask for a much better atmosphere.”