I have seen several comments on the board, on the main page posts, and on The Fort where people are getting a little upset about the switch to the 3-3-5.
First of all, Brian posted a year or two ago some defensive statistics from WVU. And while I have had a long day and don't feel like going back to find that post, you may be happy to know that the 3-3-5 actually worked well for WVU. They had some good seasons defensively. The 3-3-5 is not necessarily a death knell.
But that was the Big East, so maybe you think it just won't work in the Big Ten...
The thing that most people seem concerned about is the fact that we will only have three linemen on the field, and that somehow such a personnel package will turn our defensive line into pancakes. To that I say...have you heard of the Pittsburgh Steelers? How about the San Diego Chargers? New England Patriots? Alabama Crimson Tide?
Now, all those teams run a base 3-4, but those are all good run-stopping teams (since many seem worried about Wisconsin's power run game) or have been in the recent past. And some people view a 3-3-5 as practically a 3-5-3, since those two spurs/box safeties/overhang players/whatever you choose to call them are sort of outside linebackers.
There's no reason that Ryan Van Bergen can't be Aaron Smith, that William Campbell can't be Casey Hampton, and that Mike Martin can't be Kimo Von Oelhoffen. Meanwhile, you have between 3 and 5 linebacker types shooting in and out of gaps to fill the running lanes or blitz the quarterback.
I understand the concern about having a fourth defense in four years. But the choices are as follows:
1) Play a 4-3 with an underprepared SAM such as Hawthorne or Furman.
2) Play a 4-2-5 (which would be a new defense) where you have two box safeties and still have Mouton uncomfortably playing inside.
3) Play a 3-3-5 (which would be a new defense) with the same personnel as a 4-2-5, but with different alignments.
I am not thrilled with the idea of a 3-3-5 because the assignments will once again be new, but I'm not thrilled about the other two options, either. We are severely limited by our personnel, because we lack depth at DT and at the SAM linebacker position.
We are not removing a defensive tackle. We are re-allocating said defensive tackle (likely Martin eventually; Banks in the meantime) to a 4- or 5-technique end and moving our defensive end (Roh) to OLB. The personnel stays the same. It's just a matter of how those personnel are deployed.
Any defense can be successful if it's run right, just the same as any offense can be successful. Offenses can run the triple option, the read option, I pro, run-n-shoot, etc. successfully if the execution is good enough. We can run a 3-3-5 or a 4-3 or a 4-2-5 or a 3-4 successfully, as long as we execute.
I apologize that this is probably a little disorganized. It has been a long day, and I have not been sleeping well. But hopefully it helped somebody a little bit.