Im not a coach, i have never played football but i watch it all the time.
Would that statement make it easier for me to make my point. The past couple of weeks, while still trying to be a calming force around these parts, i have been critized for being a coach, who has lived football his entire life, who runs shafers schemes,and likes to help fellow michigan fans get a different perspective.I dont ever claim to be anything other than what i am. When someone asks me a football question i answer it, could there be another answer? sure, but as a football coach you know what you know, and you do what you do. There are 20 ways to skin a cat, and i just happend to be good a skinning it the way i do. Doesnt mean im smarter than anyone, doesnt mean i know more about michigan than anyone, but i would think at the very least, it would be at least feasable that i know a little about football.
There, have at it, give me the "anyone can see that" and "i dont have to be a coach to know_____" and "if you think _____ you must not be a very good coach" and all that crap.
The one thing i will admit, is that i will always give the benefit of doubt to a coach first, becasue thats what i do for a living, just like former baseball umpires dont yell at umps as bad, usually. Or former policeman are less crtical about the pigs. etc etc. So sure i may overly defend coaching sometimes, but that is what it is. If you dont like it dot read my stuff. I think im pretty open with everyone about who i am, what i do, and all that stuff. I could very easliy make stuff up to look more knowledgeable, or demand to know everyone elses exerience with college football, and post resumes to make my point. But i dont really care about that, i know i set myself up for people to be able to attack, but thats just kind of my personality, i dont really give a crap about anyone elses feelings about me.
Now about the coverage stuff. Shafer isnt a stack guy, but the stack was used this week, as a way of trying to stop what was assumed to be a fast qb, who problaby couldnt throw,and a farily good run game. It has been stated before, by numerous people, the 3-3 stack is a run stopping odd front. and for the most part it did its job. The 3-3 stack is a good defense against a spread formation, as it keeps 6 in the box, while still putting people on the perimeter for contain purposes. You are limited in coverage though when you run the stack,l which is why i dont like to run it very often. Obvioulsy this isnt the way shafer likes to attack spreads, he is a two safety guy. But MICHIGAN SAFETIES ARE NOT GOOD. and lb's are not good at coverage, and when michigan played press man a majority of the time the other week, they still lost. So shafer tries what RR and his staff wants him to try, why not try it now? why not try it against the one team that you might be able to win agaisnt and find a way to keep big plays from happening with a new scheme? them maybe you have found something that you can pull out agin against OSU, or at least give OSU something else to think about. I truely believe that shafer and RR both are feeling the pressure to show that they can try new things, and not be stagnit. Its almost impossible to get better fundametnally during the season, becasue of constantly having to put so much time into installation, and game prep for the upcomming team. When you hear a coach talk about "returning to basics" thats when they have basically given up trying to win, and instead are more interested in making the team better fundamentally, for the future. Im sure RR and his staff would like to do this, but as you can see, the michigan fan base, and the michgian family is not interested in seeing imporvement, they are interested in results. So i see Shafer and RR as being a product of the problem with an impatient fan base, and an impatient comunity that is demanding wins NOW. therefore they are trying to schematiclly overcome the obvious fundamental problems that michigan defesive football has had for the past several years.
Has he blitzed a ton? yes, has he playd a lot of press man? yes Has he played a lot fire zone coverage? yes.. has he taken away fades by playing an outsidee shade, only to see seams exploited time and time again for big plays, which created easier opportunites to score, than having to complete 20 short outs? yes.. has he tried to play inside shades, only for corners to be beaten time and time again on fade routes? yes...
the one guy on the field that throws int's is the qb. therefore eyes on qb if you are a corner playing zone coverage, sure trent is lined up on an inside shade a bit, to discourage a easy vertcal realease. Also the Qb at the snap of the ball sdoesnt knwo weather you are playing off man, or bail technique, of course knowing how BAD michigan corners are right now in playing man, i would assume he knows its cover three, but if its not, then that corner will be able to make a play on yoru out call, and it might be a pic six. but once the reciever goes vertcal he should be working to get "on top" and trying to squeeze him to the sideline... his main problem on that screen was opening the door, and not getting on top of the reciever, as far as "no way he can turn all the way around and make a play on that out" way of talking about the zone turn to the QB, corners every day work on zone turns, and t-step drives, its exactly what you are suppose to do, 1 guess as to who teaches the t-step drive step as good as anyone? The back foot is planted at a 90 degree angle directly back, then the outside foot serves as the "drive step" at the direction of the cut, We use terms like "get your foot in the biucket" and "drive off the T" to talk exactly about how we want it to be executed, its very easy for a corner with good fluid hips, but trent (like i have said a million times) does not have fluid hips. trent isnt very good, and isnt going to make a play on that. AND HE IS NOT USUING HTE TECHNIQUE THAT HE IS BEING TAUGHT, to try to make that play. BUt id rather it be like that, then to give up an an easy hit to a vertical seam. An out route, is a lot harder ball to throw for an unproven QB, than an easy slant or skinny post.... first throw a combine coach asks a young qb to throw, is an out accross the field.
The other issue is that trent has no safety help, therefore he cant be over agressive on the out, but that is the price you pay for running a 3 deep look... but its not designed to stop that throw its designed to stop the big play, which michigan has given up far too much this year. I know it doesnt explain everything, but i felt like i needed to defend a bit that i see a lot of bad techiniqe, and knowing how shafer teaches, i know its not what they are being taught to do. Is it mistrust? is it players not trying, or players not beleive in shafer? or is it just a bunch of guys who are feeling a lot of presure to succed, not being able to call on muslce memory to play the techniqes becAuse they have only been taught it for less then a year? i think its problaby more the latter.
You are also inthe picture pages, seeing the difference between a well exectued out route pass and catch, and a poorly run, poorly thrown hitch route... Trent would have been in much better position to play the hitch route, expicallly if he had threet throwing it at him.
of the defensive break down is up, those of you that believe the crap about shafer not knowing what he's doing, or about bad schemes, or about us not playing man to man, and only rushing three, might be a bit upset about the first half... im sure the second half will be different, but only becasue michigan in the first half, stuffed what msu was trying to do. feel free to comment on the break down... Those of you that have listend to what i have been saying about what our main problems have been on defense, and what Shafer has to do to make up for them, will see what im talking about. Note without film, or brians UFR clips they might not be that good for ya, but oh well. I'm only doing it for you guys, so bite me if you dont like it.
since i have to have 200 words ill say this. The problem's are easy to see, but not easy to eliminate. I cant tell you how many times over the course of a season i have watched bad plays by bad players. You show it to them, you rep. it in practice, you think you get it, then BAM there it is again. If you have someone else that can play, then its an easy fix, if not, it takes months and months to teach technique that becomes second nature, and muscle memory.
lifted from my website at gsimmons85.blogspot.com you can check it out to see where im going with this...
about 6 years ago, I was coaching basketball, and with another coach we decided we need to find a defense to help us compete with athletes that were bigger faster, and stronger than we were. Well we decided to start running a type of 1-3-1 that we had heard a guy talking about froma Highschool coach in Wisconsin. So we go ahead and start ordering a couple of tapes from him, and really liked the defense. After we got really into it, we decided to give the guy a call, and we ended up having some great conversations with him. The following is a story from one of those converstions that i think will give you a little insight into the role of schemes.
Im talking to Wisconsin coach about matchup problems etc. these are his words to me...
"coach i was talking to this guy one time and he keeps telling me about the team that he is about to play. Well they got a great inside scorer, he said. Well ok then i would do this, and this and this. Then he says to me, well ok coach i could do that, but they also have a couple of guys that can really stroke it from the outside, so i repond with some other ideas, well ok then i would do this, and this, and this. He responds by saying, well coach the problem is they have a great penetrating guard as well so what do you think coach? I said well bud, I hate to say it but I think you are going to lose."
Matchups and and players, matchups and players...
The next generation spread...A-11
A team last year tried to run something similar, the problem is with the eligible number rule. On normal plays, you have to have at least 5 ineligible numbers on the field. Now you can line them up in different places, but there has to be five. Last year it was illegal, at least in our game (we shut that team out, so they were trying to catch us by suprise)
How this offense is claiming to be legal is because of the free kick rule. By putting one more than 7 yards back they say they are in a free kick formation. All can be eligible numbers in that formation. http://www.humphinternet.com/A11/pdf/A11ApprovalProcess.pdf
this is the website for the new offense. http://a11offense.com/
We shall see how it plays out.
On my blog, i go through some of the impressions i have this summer from running two of shafers most popular coverages exclusively. wwww.gsimmons85.blogspot.com I think the thing that most are wondering about in the secondary is how are we going to replace Brandent and Jamar? The thing about Shafers defense is that i dont think we are going to have too. The problem i saw from safties over the past several years at Michigan has been hesitation and second guessing. 90% of time if a safety is unsure, he is beat. Shafer (whom many consider to be one of the top secondary coaches in the country) takes the uncertanity out of playing safety. The biggest advantage for having a blitz happy DC, is that the secondary can read and react to qb keys, and not worrie about being looked off, missdirected, etc. The problem is that many times a blitz happy DC puts the secondary on islands. Shafer however with his blitz fakes, zone blitzes, and delayed blitzes, gives the secondary the confidence to know that a QB will never be comfortable enough sit back and read what they are doing. Shafer will spend a ton oftime in two-a-days working with his defense on reading QB's Arm angles, foot work, shoulder moves, etc. So having said that, I look for our safties to have big years, not becasue they are better than my second sons name sake (Brandent) or the guy from Butler highschool, just down the road from me (jamar) but rather because they are better coached, and have a better scheme for them to have success under.
Like i illustarted on my blog a couple of months ago. I have been employing shaffers coverages for few years. i listened to him speak years ago when he was a secondary coach at illinois. and when he was at western michigan iirc. i have about 4 tapes from him as well. i was always impressed with his secondary technique kowledge. Almost every thing i have drawn up over on three and out, came from shafer. He likes press coverage, its a little different press coverage then what you are use to though. You wont see a lot of straight jam technique, rather the press is an inside shade, outside foot back, inviting the fade (michigan corners will know how to play the fade better than any other corners int he country) then on the snap of the ball, they execute what is called a shadow technique. Shafer describes it as imagining that the sun is setting behind the offensive player, and the defender gives ground, with short shuffle steps, and tries to stay in the shadow as long as possible. Forcing the offensive player to make the first move, makes it harder to get a corner off balance with a missed jam. After the offensive plaeyr has declared whether they are trying to release out or in, the defender will then cross over step, and jam with the opposite arm and foot. then ride the offensive player.
This shadow technique is what you will see michigan running when playing man, but also when playing a lot of their zones (i broke down some of his main zones as well)
the other press you will see will be an outside shade, bump see squeeze technique, where defender is on an outside shade, forcing an nside release. they have about 2 seconds to press the reciever, then they open their hips to the qb and aqueeze their deep zone... you will see this a lot when michigan runs their zone blitzes and any time that corners are pressig yet have deep zones.
the other thing with shafer, is that since he has a rep for blitzing, his okie package is so good agaisnt the pass, because he has 10 of the 11 players sugaring up to the los showing blitz. once again, check out some of the stuff i have here www.gsimmons85.blogspot.com
I have a couple of other tapes of shafer, that im getting out of mothballs, about safety play that ill pass along too you.
The most impressive thing about shafer is his focus on details, from the correct position your elbow should be in when striking a blow (low elbow is a strong elbow, high elbow is a wet noodle) to the aiming point of your claw hand on a reciever when running in stage.
Its actually very ironic that he got the michigan dc job. I really had no idea of his conection to RR, and thus never felt he was interested in michigan, or that he had the "pedigree" to be considerd. The passion he coaches with is as simular to mine of any of the big name guys i know. The first thing i thought about when i saw him running into the end zone to congradulate a defender for the pic 6 in the spring game, was last year during our first 7 on 7 of the spring in helments, when my olb got a pic 6 and i ran him down in the endzone, head butted him, and knocked him down.... didnt realize i was bleeding so bad till i started getting light headed.... cant wait till august, the only thing better then finally getting to watch a well coached michigan defense, is the excitment i feel when the lights go on friday night.
Im not a writer like brian or my friends over on the WLA, but i love to teach the game of football, and im thankfull for brian giving me a little bit of a forum to help teach the game to fellow wolverine fans. Thats something i never thought i would have the opportunity to do.