as always, comments and changes accepted. few notes - backup QB named Ju-Ju and TE named George George. that is all.
if anyone has any suggestions for next season, please feel free to let me know as the beginning of the season requires more referencing of the roster.
And, at last, we are at the end. Since Week One, August 30th, I’ve been covering college football games. 18 weeks later, we arrive at the final set of college football games for the 2011-2012 season. What better way to end the season than to cover the remaining BCS bowl games, including the BCS National Championship?
For those of you keeping track, Big 12 teams are 6-1 (Missouri, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State won; Iowa State lost). Conference USA teams are 3-1 (Marshall, Southern Miss, and Houston won; Tulsa lost). MAC teams are 3-1 in bowl games (Temple, Ohio University, and Toledo won; Western Michigan lost). SEC teams are 4-2 (Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, and Florida won; Vanderbilt and Georgia lost). Big East teams are 2-1 (Rutgers and Cincinnati won; Louisville lost). Independent teams are 1-1 (BYU won; Notre Dame lost). Sun Belt teams are 1-1 (Louisiana-Lafayette won, Florida International lost). Mountain West teams are 2-3 (TCU and Boise State won; Wyoming, San Diego State, and Air Force lost). Big Ten teams are 3-6 (Purdue, Illinois, and Michigan State won; Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin lost). ACC teams are 2-4 (North Carolina State and Florida State won; North Carolina, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Virginia lost). PAC-12 teams are 2-5 (Utah and Oregon won; Arizona State, California, Washington, UCLA, and Stanford lost). WAC teams are 0-3 (Utah State, Louisiana Tech, and Nevada).
During the regular season, the Upset Watch reviewed picks from the previous week, noted the bad picks, and pointed out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it was only in Vegas. It also looked at one or two sure-fire favorites (two when Michigan wasn’t playing).
Because this is the bowl season (and our last hurrah for the 2011-2012 regular season), we’ll cover each of the bowl games, splitting them up by week.
Be sure to check out my website, Before Visiting the Sportsbook, throughout the week, for more content.
Utah (8-5) +3.5 Georgia Tech (8-5). Result: Utah 30 Georgia Tech 27 [Props to Trebor and One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Utah would cover].
Illinois (7-6) -1.5 UCLA (6-8). Result: Illinois 20 UCLA 14 [Props to Trebor and One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Illinois would cover].
South Carolina (11-2) +1.0 Nebraska (9-4). Result: South Carolina 30 Nebraska 13 [Props to Lord Maker, Trebor, and One Inch Woody for correctly predicting South Carolina would cover].
Oregon (12-2) -5.5 Wisconsin (11-3). Result: Oregon 45 Wisconsin 38 [Props to Lord Maker for correctly predicting Oregon would cover].
Stanford (11-2) +4.0 Oklahoma State (12-1).Result: Oklahoma State 41 Stanford 38 [Props to Trebor for correctly predicting Stanford would cover].
Northwestern (6-7) +11.0 Texas A&M (7-6). Result: Texas A&M 33 Northwestern 22.
Vanderbilt (6-7) -1.5 Cincinnati (10-3). Result: Cincinnati 31 Vanderbilt 24 [Props to Trebor and One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Cincinnati would cover].
Virginia (8-5) +3.0 Auburn (8-5). Result: Auburn 43 Virginia 24 [Props to One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Auburn would cover].
Penn State (9-4) +9.0 Houston (13-1). Result: Houston 30 Penn State 14 [Props to Lord Maker, Trebor, and BrewCityBlue for correctly predicting Houston would cover].
Georgia (10-4) -2.0 Michigan State (11-3). Result: Michigan State 33 Georgia 30 [Props to Trebor and One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Michigan State would cover].
Ohio (6-7) +2.0 Florida (7-6). Result: Florida 24 Ohio 17 [Props to BrewCityBlue for correctly predicting Florida would cover].
The final week of the college football season kicks off Tuesday night when (#13) Michigan meets (#11) Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl (8:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3); this marks only the second meeting between the Big Ten and ACC in the BCS (2005-2006 season featured Penn State and Florida State in the Orange Bowl, with Penn State winning 26-23 in 3OT). On Wednesday night, (#15) Clemson faces off against (#23) West Virginia in the Orange Bowl (8:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). No games on Thursday night, so we’ll skip to Friday night, for the Cotton Bowl Classic, where (#8) Kansas State and (#6) Arkansas meet at Jerryworld (8:00 PM EST/FOX). Finally, next Monday the 2011-2012 NCAA Champion will be crowned, where conference rivals (#2) Alabama and (#1) LSU meet in New Orleans (8:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN 3D/ESPN3).
Clemson (10-3) -3.0 West Virginia (9-3) (@ Miami Gardens, FL). The Mountaineers are 17th in total offense (100th rushing, 7th passing); Clemson is 29th (61st rushing, 21st passing). West Virginia is 27th in total defense (51st rushing, 32nd passing); the Tigers are 59th (80th rushing, 34th passing). Clemson leads the series 1-0, with a 27-7 victory over West Virginia in 1989 (Gator Bowl). Clemson is 16-17 all time in bowl games (1-4 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 1-4 ATS as a favorite in last 5). West Virginia is 13-17 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 1-0 ATS as an underdog in last 5). West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen is 9-3 (6-6 ATS, 2-1 ATS underdog); Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney is 29-18 (21-18 ATS, 14-12 ATS favorite). Clemson is 6-4 ATS as a favorite this year (8-5 overall ATS); West Virginia is 2-1 ATS as an underdog this year (6-6 overall ATS). West Virginia’s last bowl game was the 2010 Champ Sports Bowl, a 23-7 loss to North Carolina State; Clemson’s last bowl game was the 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl, a 31-26 loss to USF. Take Clemson to cover the points.
Arkansas (10-2) -7.5 Kansas State (10-2) (@ Arlington, TX). The Wildcats are 96th in total offense (29th rushing, 109th passing); Arkansas is 27th (81st rushing, 13th passing). Kansas State is 74th in total defense (39th rushing, 104th passing); the Razorbacks are 51st (79th rushing, 27th passing). Kansas State leads the series 3-1, with a 16-7 victory over Arkansas in 1926, 3-0 in 1911, and 5-0 in 1910. Arkansas defeated Kansas State 28-7 in 1967. Arkansas is 12-23-3 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 1-2 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Kansas State is 6-8 all time in bowl games (1-4 SU in last 5; 0-5 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder is 59-40 (52-40 ATS, 22-10 ATS underdog) since 2001; Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino is 74-26 (59-38-1 ATS, 41-22-1 ATS favorite) since 2001. Arkansas is 6-3 ATS as a favorite this year (7-5 overall ATS); Kansas State is 7-1 ATS as an underdog this year (9-3 overall ATS). Kansas State’s last bowl game was the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl, a 36-34 loss to Syracuse; Arkansas’s last bowl game was the 2010 Sugar Bowl, a 31-26 loss to Ohio. Take Arkansas to cover the points.
Southern Methodist (7-5) +7.0 Pittsburgh (6-6) (@ Birmingham, AL). The Mustangs are 53rd in total offense (98th rushing, 22nd passing); Pittsburgh is 84th (68th rushing, 76th passing). Southern Methodist is 37th in total defense (31st rushing, 60th passing); the Panthers are 41st (24th rushing, 70th passing). The series is tied at 2-2-1, with SMU defeating Pittsburgh 7-3 in 1983 (Cotton Bowl) and 33-14 in 1948. Pittsburgh defeated SMU 20-7 in 1942 and 34-7 in 1938. The teams tied 7-7 in 1940. SMU is 5-7-1 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 3-0 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Pittsburgh is 12-15 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 2-3 ATS in last 5; 2-0 ATS as an favorite in last 5). Pittsburgh Coach Keith Patterson is 0-0 (0-0-0 ATS, 0-0-0 ATS favorite); SMU Coach June Jones is 87-56 (65-68-2 ATS, 29-26-1 ATS underdog) since 2001. SMU is 1-4 ATS as an underdog this year (5-7 overall ATS); Pittsburgh is 2-4 ATS as a favorite this year (7-5 overall ATS). Pittsburgh’s last bowl game was the 2010 Compass Bowl, in Birmingham, a 27-10 win over Kentucky; SMU’s last bowl game was the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl, a 16-14 loss to Army. Take SMU to cover the points, and win.
Arkansas State (10-2) -1.0 Northern Illinois (10-3) (@ Mobile, AL). The Red Wolves are 25th in total offense (55th rushing, 17th passing); Northern Illinois is 10th (9th rushing, 59th passing). Arkansas State is 20th in total defense (15th rushing, 54th passing); the Huskies are 87th (83rd rushing, 75th passing). Northern Illinois leads the series 6-1, with a 31-30 victory over Arkansas State in 1996, 38-16 in 1994, 23-7 in 1993, 31-0 in 1992, 22-21 in 1991, and 35-0 in 1990. Arkansas State defeated Northern Illinois 28-21 in 1995. Arkansas State is 0-1 all time in bowl games (1-0 ATS; 0-0 ATS as a favorite). Northern Illinois is 3-3 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 2-3 ATS in last 5; 1-3 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Northern Illinois Coach Dave Doeren is 10-3 (5-8 ATS, 1-1 ATS underdog); Arkansas State Coach David Gunn is 0-0 (0-0 ATS, 0-0 ATS favorite). Arkansas State is 8-2 ATS as a favorite this year (10-2 overall ATS); Northern Illinois is 1-1 ATS as an underdog this year (5-8 overall ATS). Arkansas State’s last bowl game was the 2005 New Orleans Bowl, a 31-19 loss to Southern Miss; Northern Illinois’s last bowl game was the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl, a 40-17 win over Fresno State. Take Arkansas State to cover the points.
Alabama (11-1) +1.0 LSU (13-0) (@ New Orleans, LA). The Crimson Tide are 30th in total offense (15th rushing, 72nd passing); LSU is 75th (17th rushing, 105th passing). Alabama is 1st in total defense (1st rushing, 1st passing); the Tigers are 2nd (3rd rushing, 8th passing). Alabama leads the series 45-25-5. In the five recent meetings, LSU leads 3-2, with a 9-6 victory over Alabama earlier this year, 24-21 in 2010, and 41-34 in 2007. Alabama defeated LSU 24-15 in 2009 and 27-21 in 2008. LSU is 22-19-1 all time in bowl games (4-1 SU in last 5; 4-1 ATS in last 5; 3-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Alabama is 33-22-3 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Alabama Coach Nick Saban is 94-24 (66-46-2 ATS, 7-5-2 ATS underdog) since 2001; LSU Coach Les Miles is 103-38 (65-66-5 ATS, 39-39-2 ATS favorite). LSU is 8-3 ATS as a favorite this year (10-3 overall ATS); Alabama is 0-0 ATS as an underdog this year (8-4 overall ATS). Alabama’s last bowl game was the 2010 Capital One Bowl, a 49-7 win over Michigan State; LSU’s last bowl game was the 2010 Cotton Bowl, a 41-24 win over Texas A&M. Take Alabama to cover the points, and win.
The Wolverines are 34th in total offense (12th rushing, 90th passing); Virginia Tech is 38th (31st rushing, 66th passing). Michigan is 18th in total defense (35th rushing, 16th passing); the Hokies are 12th (17th rushing, 41st passing). These teams have never met before. Michigan is 19-21 all time in bowl games (1-4 SU in last 5; 2-3 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Virginia Tech is 9-15 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 2-3 ATS in last 5; 1-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer is 110-36 (78-61-2 ATS, 11-4-0 ATS underdog) since 2001; Michigan Coach Brady Hoke is 57-52 (58-43-3 ATS, 24-13 ATS favorite). Michigan is 6-3 ATS as a favorite this year (8-4 overall ATS); Virginia Tech is 0-0 ATS as an underdog this year (4-9 overall ATS). Michigan’s last bowl game was the 2010 Gator Bowl, a 52-14 loss to Mississippi State; Virginia Tech’s last bowl game was the 2010 Orange Bowl, a 40-12 loss to Stanford.
Michigan is 2-1 against teams fielding top 25 defenses, defeating Illinois and Ohio, but losing to Michigan State; the Wolverines are 3-0 against top 40 offenses (Northwestern, Notre Dame, and San Diego State). Virginia Tech’s two losses came at the hands of Clemson, allowing an average of 390 yards (222 passing yards – 56.9% of offense), while being outscored 61-13. The Hokies are 10-1 when they outgain their opponents on the ground (1-1 when outgained on the ground). Virginia Tech is led by QB Logan Thomas (2799 passing yards, 59.2% completion, and 29 total TDs), RB David Wilson (1627 rushing yards, 6.1/carry, and 9 rushing TDs), and WRs Danny Coale (787 receiving yards, 15.1/catch, and 3 receiving TDs) and Jarrett Boykin (731 receiving yards, 12.8/catch, and 5 receiving TDs). Virginia Tech is 2-1 when Wilson is held under 100 yards rushing, being outscored 65-60 (average of 22-20); the Hokies are 9-1 when Wilson meets or exceeds the 100-yard plateau, outscoring opponents 311-158 (average of 31-16). Take Michigan to cover the points.
Michigan 24 Virginia Tech 16
Who ya got?
Hoke doesn't know what day it is, but he knows it's GAME DAY.
2013 athlete Jourdan Lewis excelled at cornerback, receiver, and kick returner for state champ Cass Tech in 2011, and his junior highlight tape (above) is just starting to make the rounds online. I had the chance to see him play a few times this past fall, and despite being teammates with 2012 Michigan commits Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone, he was often the best player on the field for the Technicians.
Lewis, who is ranked as a four-star and the #232 overall player in the class of 2013 by 247Sports, currently holds one D-I scholarship offer—Toledo—but he's drawing interest from big-name schools such as Michigan, Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. I got the chance to talk to him over the break, and here's a full transcript of the interview:
ACE: First of all, congratulations on winning the state title. Can you take me through how the season played out for you, how you thought you did personally, how the team did overall, and how it felt to win a state title?
JOURDAN: Well, I think I did great for my junior year. I got some great momentum going into my senior year. It just feels really good to win the state championship.
ACE: I know you were playing a lot of defensive back and receiver, as well as returning kicks. How do you think that helped your development?
JOURDAN: I think it's a great help to play different positions because of the versatility factor and just to fit in to a program.
ACE: Do you have a preference of where you want to play in college, or is that to be determined?
JOURDAN: I don't know yet. I really don't know.
ACE: You had to step it up a bit towards the end of the year when your teammate, Terry Richardson, went down and was injured as you guys were playing at the end of the season and into the playoffs. Did that have a big effect on you, going from the number two corner to the number one corner?
JOURDAN: You know, I didn't really think of it like that, I just had to contribute to my team a little bit more.
ACE: At Cass, you obviously have a lot of talent winning the state title, and you got to play with Terry and Royce and Ruben Lile and a whole bunch of Division I prospects. What do those guys tell you about the recruiting process, and are Royce and Terry trying to point you in a particular direction at all considering where they're going to school?
JOURDAN: No, not at this point right now. They're all telling me to take it slow and just enjoy the moment. They know I'm just a junior right now, and I've got plenty of time to figure out where I'm going to school.
ACE: With your recruitment, I know you've got the Toledo offer in hand and you're in contact with a lot of schools. Which schools have you been in contact with the most right now?
JOURDAN: Well I haven't really been in contact with coaches, but I've been getting a whole bunch of letters from Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi State.
ACE: Out of those schools, is there a particular school that stands out? Do you have a list of favorites, or is it still too early for that?
JOURDAN: It's early, but Michigan is going to be at the top, definitely.
ACE: How would a Michigan offer affect your recruitment in terms of a potential timeline? How would that change the outlook of your recruitment?
JOURDAN: I really wouldn't know right now. I'm just trying to hear from coaches.
ACE: Do you have any plans for any junior days or summer camps for the offseason?
JOURDAN: No, not yet right now, but I know I'm going to Michigan's junior day.
ACE: For people who are maybe unfamiliar with your game, what would you say are your main strengths, and what are you trying to improve upon for your senior year and the next level?
JOURDAN: My ability to make plays and my elusiveness, and my vision I guess. Also my enthusiasm to play the game, my heart. I think I'm going to need to get stronger and I'm trying to get quicker, too.
The late great William F. Buckley Jr. once said that he'd rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book rather than the 2000 members of the Harvard faculty.
For my part, I'd prefer to be governed by anybody, rather than the the editors and columnists of the New York Times. Today's example: Business columnist Joe Nocera. Who has written this lengthy Times Sunday Magazine commentary on "Let's Start Paying College Athletes."
Nocera is a relative newcomer to the Times; within just weeks of his arrival this year, he had written a wildly intemperate column in which he compared "Tea Party Republicans" with terrorists, and wrote that they "have waged jihad on the American people," with a further suggestion that they "can put aside their suicide vests." Nocera's rhetoric didn't raise an eyebrow among his Times editors, apparently, who published it. But the public blowback was such that Nocera soon apologized, writing:
- The words I chose were intemperate and offensive to many, and I've been roundly criticized. I was a hypocrite, the critics said, for using such language when on other occasions I've called for a more civil politics. In the cool light of day, I agree with them. I apologize.
Joe Nocera was born and raised in that hotbed of college football, Providence, Rhode Island. And his college degree was earned at that traditional football powerhouse, Boston University. That extensive background in college football explains why Nocera apparently never interviewed any college football coaches or administrators. In any event, he didn't quote any.
Joe Nocera essentially starts with that kernel of truth that underlies most Times editorials, before they go completely haywire. It is the notion -- one that I agree with -- that increasingly, college football players, as well as players in men's college basketball, are distanced from the rest of the student body in terms of being real "student-athletes." That's no doubt true, and in fact Nocera later gets to a very good quote from former University of Michigan President James Duderstadt which underscores that point; "Most sports can be justified as part of what a university does. But big-time football and men’s basketball are clearly commercial entertainment and have been pulled away from the fundamental purpose of a university."
So what solution has Joe Nocera given us? A five-point plan, that is so insane on its face that if one were not careful, one could easily get caught up in the details of the plan's workings, and lose sight of the fact that the plan isn't even remotely intended to, or capable of, remedying the basic problem outlined in the previous paragraph. In a word, what Joe Nocera proposes is a college football operation that appears to be NFL-Lite, and would, beyond any doubt, set college football on a path to erasing any serious connection between colleges and football apart from marketing snazzy apparel. Joe Nocera is the boldest idiot since, well, Tom Friedman.
The Nocera plan (I commend it in all its glorious detail in the linked article) is basically this:
- Allow colleges to pay players. Pay would be in the neighborhood of 40k-60k, for reasons outlined below. Minimum salary of 25k per player.
- Nationwide team caps. About $3 million for football, and about $650,000 for basketball. Nocera wants this to sound tantalizingly cheap, and it is.
- Extended scholarships ~ possible six years. Every player who stays in school as an eligible athlete for four years, would be given whatever scholarship assistance he needed for two additional years, to complete a degree.
- Lifetime health insurance.
- A college football players' union, to assure legaliziation of the pay-and-cap scheme, and to admminister benefits, etc.
When you read the article, you'd be tempted to think, "Who the hell came up with this idea?" And you eventually find out; it is the people whom Joe Nocera has been talking to. Lawyers, and their litigation experts, who are now beginning some hig-profile lawsuits against the NCAA and the larger world of college sports. Nocera's wife, he reveals, works for one of the law firms who have worked on the leading case. Nocera never once quotes anybody like a Lloyd Carr, or David Brandon, or any other big-time college coach or administrator. He does quote such uninterested personages as Leigh Steinberg, and some of the paid experts in the current litigation. And naturally, he mentions Penn State, Ohio State and Miami. As if there is some cognizable thread running through all three situations.
The illustration that leads off the article is a doozy. There is a composite photo of leading college coaches with the stat-healdine that the combined 2011 salaries of the 15 highest-paid football coaches was $53.4 million. That composite is counterposed with one of college football players (including one Dilithium-powered QB) with the headline-stat that the combined salaries of the 13,877 Div.-I football players was (you'll never guess) $0 dollars. This is such laughable propaganda; God forbid the Times showing any interest in the 2011 salaries of the 15 highest-paid University Presidents (you know, the guys like Lee Bollinger who write Op-Eds for the Times on the side) or the total amount paid by universities for all of the of the collegiate grants-in-aid and other benefits for all of those football players. [Edit - There is a sidebar-graphic in the Times Magazine, featuring a bunch of eye-popping multi-million-dollar numbers that are supposed to impress us. I gather, what really pisses off the Times is something like 'income inequality' in college athletics. A millionaires' tax, perhaps? Anyway, attention is owed one item of substance given my comments just above. The Times cites the total amount paid in tuition scholarships for the Texas team ($3+million) as being less than Mack Brown's annual ($5+million) salary. Mack Brown is of course the single highest-paid coach in the country, by quite a lot. And University of Texas tuition is one of the cheapest in the country. A better example of a cherry-picked statistic is hard to imagine.]
I could go on and on. You can't go more than a couple of paragraphs at a time without encountering some complete howler, from a guy who's never spent a day as a college coach or an athletic director, and who seems to be largely disinterested in interviewing any of them. The lawyers and the economist-experts are more interesting to Nocera. Anyway, I leave it to you. I shudder to think that in the months and years to come, this garbage might become the go-to article for everybody (Occupy the Rose Bowl, apparently) who thinks that what we really need to do to fix things as they are is to pay college football players, certify a union for them and, naturally, give them all tax lawyers. I can't wait until the College Football Players Association hires a lobbyist and they begin making campaign donations to their new political action committee.
Brian has talked about Va. Tech's base D briefly, but I'd like to talk about it more in-depth. The "G" defense, as it is known, was the base D for the high school team for which I was a varsity assistant for 9 years, including the last year as defensive coordinator. I say this not to try and impress you, but to let you know that I have a good knowledge of the defense.
The defense was built to stop 2-back, 1-TE formation offense (also known as "21 personnel"), especially in the run game. Refer again to the diagram of "G" against the Pro formation:
The corners are the only "pass first" players on the defense, so if the offense runs a regular run play (i.e., where the entire OL run blocks and the play is a run), the defense has 9 defenders in the box to defend the run.
The defensive alignment pre-snap looks like Cover 3 or Cover 1 (aka man-free). The base coverage of the "G" defense is "robber" coverage, in which the underneath and inside defenders play a "robber" technique. The corners start a 7 yards deep and the free starts 11 yards deep over the strong B gap. Late in the QB's cadence, the corners will slowly backpedal inside and 9 yards deep, while the free safety will creep toward the line of scrimmage from 11 to 9 yards.
The free safety will read the EMLOS (End Man on the Line Of Scrimmage) to passing strength (the side of the formation with more receivers) for run/pass. If it is a run, he is to front the ball (get in a direct vertical line with it), then play the ball inside-out, while staying inside the ILB (Backer or Mike) to which the ball is being run.
If it is a pass, he is to read the release of #2 strong. If #2 is vertical (any route where #2 hasn't broken off by 7 yards, inluding deep outs, digs, hooks, etc.) the free plays him man. If #2 goes to the flat, the free "robs" #1 to that side, mostly expecting a 12-15 yard curl route or deep in route. If #2 runs a shallow cross, the free "robs" #1 to that other side, mostly expecting a dig. In either robber situation, if #1 runs a post, the free has deep help from the corner.
The advantage of playing against a pro set is that the EMLOS and the #2 receiver are the same player: the TE.
The Rover and Whip key the EMLOS. Against the run they are primary force players. Against the pass they are to "buzz flat, run wheel," which means they sprint to take away a quick hitch, out, or slant. If the receiver in the flat turns it up on a wheel, the Rover/Whip will carry him man-to-man, allowing the corner to be an inside leverage, deep half player.
The Backer robs #3 strong and has the same rules as the free: #3 vertical = man, #3 flat = rob #1 strong, #3 shallow = rob #1 weak. If #3 stays in to pass black, the Backer will play any shallow cross or checkdown.
The Mike robs #2 weak, and his rules are similar: #2w vertical = man, #2w flat = rob #1 weak, #2w shallow = rob #1 strong. If #2 weak stays in to pass block, the Mike will drop to the weak curl zone.
I hope to write another diary discussing the weaknesses of the G defense with robber coverage.