First of all, this is not a thread that is designed to bash the 3-3-5, merely a concern that I have that on how it will affect recruiting and some larger scale issues in college football. Also, this post will be moot if we indeed are not running the 3-3-5.
I have long held the belief that college football is a farm systme for the NFL (kind of a "duh" comment here) and it is virutally every kid's dream to make it to the next level, whatever it takes. While kids are going to go where they want to go, for whatever reason, be it early playing time, systems that will fit their playing style or something under the table, they want to end up in the NFL. With that said, Michigan used to be an NFL factory, sending backs, quarterbacks, receivers, offensive and defensive lineman and linebackers to the NFL. Safeties not so much and except for three people (Law, Woodson and M. Jackson), not so much for cornerbacks either (yes, I know Leon Hall was drafted in the first round, but he's not doing so well). We used to run "pro-style" offenses because they were pretty similar to what was run in the pros, but with the implementation of the 3-3-5, that's going to change.
NO ONE runs the 3-3-5 in the pros and with the exception of the Ravens who come up with the most ridiculous defensive alignments I have ever seen (see Haloti Ngata drop into coverage or rushing just one down defensive lineman and dropping 10 into zone coverage), it's just not seen in the NFL. Will us running this system affect recruiting to a certain degree?
Personally, I'm torn. It depends on what the various responsibilities are for the positions. I'm convinced that the 3-3-5 is pretty much the 3-4 defense except for an outside linebacker has been converted into a safety (a robber/rover type). It does seem that a lot of the defenders we have are 3-3-5 type players (see all the safety/linebacker hybrids that we're recruiting). Could RichRod and whomever recruits the defensive player convince recruits that the 3-3-5 is just a variation of the 3-4 to alleviate concerns that they're being recruited into running a "gimmick" defense?
The other stance I have is that if you're a great athlete, then it's going to show, no matter what system you run. You will perform regardless of the situation, so running the 3-3-5, 4-3 or whatever won't be an issue.
That being said, I admittedly used to watch WVU football long before RichRod came over to see their offense and never really paid attention to their defense. I feel as if the 3-3-5 was notoriously easy to run against, but I'm not positive. It just seemed like physical teams would be able to drive the lineman off the line of scrimmage and get their hands on the second level defenders to create running lanes. I really wish I could rely on the whole talent-level argument for this, but after seeing the team this year, I am reluctant to use that argument. Also, we need to tackle, as in wrap up and not this crap where people are just throwing shoulders into people.
I'd love to hear other comments and thoughts.