One of the questions from Brian's mailbag really got me thinking about the strategic evolution of opposing defenses against Tate from WMU and ND to today. Unfortunately, this is a topic way out of my area of expertise. I was hoping some of you guys may be able to weigh in on this.
First, here is the quote:
As the season has gone on, I’ve noticed that Tate hasn’t been scrambling around a lot like he used to. this is probably because the of the coaches, but is it possible that that’s just the kind of quarterback he is? It might mean having to deal with some of those stupid grounding penalties and terrible Favre throws, but that’s what he was doing early in the year, and his stats have been regressing. Just something to keep in mind?
Brian's response was basically, teams have evolved to keep Tate in the pocket and Molk's absence has really hurt. For the purpose of this I want to ignore the Molk aspect of this, which is a leap, but ATM I am more interested in the strategic aspect of this.
So I'm assuming the other teams have been trying extra hard to keep Tate in the pocket. It would seem logical that this would lead to other teams diverting more players to keep Tate in check. If this is true, has this created more soft spots in the defense for us to take advantage of? I really don't know football well enough to evaluate this hypothesis at all. So, to the football strategists among us I have a few questions:
1. Are there new weaknesses in the defense associated with trying to keep Tate in the pocket?
2. If so, are we using any novel approaches to attack these weaknesses?
3. If there are weaknesses that we aren't attacking, how would we go about doing it if we had optimal personnel?
4. Finally, if we aren't exploiting these weak spots what do you think the rationale is? (Lack of experience, coaching, lack of a big-play receiver, saving our tricks for OSU, etc?)
Thanks in advance for any insight. Also, I know its a huge leap to just ignore Molk's effect on the OL, but for the sake of discussion I want to ignore it and look at our current situation which is unfortunately Molk-less. If I'm way off on any of this (which is completely possible) let me know.