Tackling Technique: 2011 vs. 2010
Greg Mattison vs. GERG. Cage Match.
It has been the opinion of many that the defensive woes were a perfect storm of inexperience, tweener athletes and GERG.. with the resulting picture of our defense against a B10 offense resembling something like this.
The underlying problem last year was that we couldn’t tackle for shit.
While scheme was a huge factor, even when we did end up in the right spots we had severe issues bringing down the ball carrier. Enter Greg Mattison.
This off-season there was interview after interview that stressed fundamentals and technique, and nothing is more fundamental or technical on defense than tackling. It is the quintessential ability that a defense is trying to incorporate, ending up in the right spot and smashing the ball carrier to pieces.
Good Tackles look like this:
<iframe width="560" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KsG5qZsORLM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
And Bad Tackles with poor form look like this:
<iframe width="560" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jallAF8hjO0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The basic analysis follows these formul
Tackling Efficiency = (Made tackles – Missed Tackles) / (Bad Form Tackles + 1)
Bad form tackles account for terrible form (bad angles, too high, getting shook etc)
Tackling % = Made tackles / Made + Missed
Tackling Efficiency - 2010:Blue WMU: Maize ND: Green
Tackling Percentage - 2010:Blue WMU: Maize ND: Green
Tackling Percentage is up for almost every player from last year through the first 2 games this year. That indicates to me that they are being taught better technique. There is the factor that some of these guys had a year in the weight room, but that alone is not the only indicator of success (See Barwis Wolves)
While this is a limited data set, this seems to suggest that we are getting better at tackling AS A TEAM. Decreases in Tackling Efficiency by some of the bigger names are accountable by there being a relative spreading around of tackling.
- This is not to suggest that our defense is not essentially anchored by Kovacs in the secondary, Demens in the backers and RVB/MM up front. We are.
- Kovacs is a manchild werebeast. He is easily the most accountable player on the field, always in the right spot to make a play. If he had the athleticism of Marvin Robinson he might be one of the best safeties I have ever seen wear the uniform at this point in his career.
- Demens is a sure tackler, but it seems he is lacking in making tackles for loss. Don’t take this as criticism, as his role is to stop the ball carrier after 1-2 yds consistently between the OTs, not make occasional TFL’s.
- Craig Roh. I think people are being too harsh here. He showed some flashes on plays, and I am going to assume that the decreased production is due to illness. It also seems that Roh is best suited to be at the SDE slot, as trying to keep contain all by himself on the WDE side is testing both his play-reading ability and athleticism. When he is allowed to pin his ears back is when he is best.
- Jake Ryan is your Freshman breakout contributor. No real shocker here, but this kid is everywhere. Cannot wait to see his development in the future.
- Certain diaries have suggested switching Roh to TE, that is ridiculous. Brink and Heininger make very little contribution to the position.
- Morgan makes decent reads but is not physically ready to play at this level yet.
- I am not as excited about Hawthorne as some, however he does seem to blitz with absolutely no regard for blockers or his well-being. Think non-heat seeking missle. If he learns to blitz this way and then get under control once past blockers he will be a special player. Also, he is solid in coverage.
- Jibreel Black is a playmaker, and it seems that more and more he resembles the 55 of yesteryear.
- While I cannot praise the pass coverage ability of Marvin Robinson, I am pleasantly surprised by his change in technique. He has abandoned his “DESTROY” technique, and instead looks for big hits when he can but more often than not wraps up.
- It seems that BWC seemed to improve as the game went on against ND. I hope that this trend transitions into the proverbial light turning on, as he made some good stands against double teams on short yardage runs. However, he is still a liability on pass rush.
- I would like to see Blake Countess get some PT opposite Avery in the coming 2 weeks, because JT Floyd is not a reliable answer for us on fast and physical WRs. He cannot press on the line, and this hurts him immensely.
- Mattison: All in all, I am more impressed this year with our defense. While there are definitely things to correct, we are not missing 2 or 3 tackles on the same play like last year. I think this is the greatest effect on coaching change that is easily apparent. Secondly, players are FLYING to the ball. Gone are the one on ones that result in a shook player and then a 5 yard gain. Finally, while sacks have been hard to come by, there is no question the opposing QB is feeling more pressure.