Patron gains experience at Bluefield

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

By Barbara Boxleitner

Contributing writer

As Logan Patron gains experience, he assumes more responsibility on the football field.

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The junior out of Smithfield High School returns as a defensive end for Bluefield College, for which he ranked seventh in tackles and shared the team lead with two fumble recoveries during the 2020 season.

When he is on the line of scrimmage, the left end primarily battles offensive tackles, who typically have a significant weight advantage. The 6-foot, 215-pound Patron handles the linemen, including double teams, by using his natural ability.

“I go inside. I use my speed. I turn my body,” he said. “I got speed and power.”

This fall, he said, sometimes he will drop back from the line of scrimmage to linebacker territory. By stepping back, he will help cover receivers and backs on routes across the middle of the field. “Every year, I get put on more reps,” he said.

As a faster defensive lineman, he will be able to use his speed in coverage and pursuit. “We are creating some space for the faster guys,” said Rod Howard, Bluefield defensive line coach. “He definitely has the most explosive get-off. It stands out on the videotape.”

“He’s got some long arms and legs. He’s pretty athletic,” the coach said. “He’s definitely the leader of my defensive-line guys.”

Patron had 27 tackles and a 6-yard sack in nine games as a freshman.

He had 37 tackles in nine games (2-7) last year, when Bluefield ranked last among 22 Mid-South Conference teams in total defensive yards allowed per game.

His season-high 11 tackles, one fumble recovery and half a sack came during a lopsided loss to Kentucky Christian. “I was going right to the ball,” he said.

In a span of four plays during a fourth-quarter series, he made a solo stop on a quarterback keeper, had an assisted tackle and recovered a fumble by the quarterback. His other solo tackle in the game was on the first play of the final quarter.

Patron watches for cues from the offensive linemen as to what the plays will be. For instance, he said, “If they step back, it’ll be a pass.”

Though the cues have helped, he improved his technique, notably the use of his hands, to increase production. The change was necessary because he was no longer able to dominate offensive linemen, especially the veterans, the way he did in high school.

“I got better with my hands,” he said. “I used to have bad placement. I used to waste all my energy.”

Howard cited his strong run defense and said, “His pass technique is getting better. He’s working on eliminating the bad step.”

Last season, Patron was close to sacking the quarterback more times, and the team has plays designed for him to blitz. “Eliminating that one bad step,” the coach said. “He’s the guy who’s been inches away from tripling his production.”

Patron also plays special teams. On Bluefield punt plays, he blocks for the punter and tries to tackle the returner once the ball is kicked. On punt returns, he tries to block the punt.