Types of players needed on D, UM vs USC

Types of players needed on D, UM vs USC

Submitted by iawolve on September 28th, 2009 at 12:57 PM
We are all experiencing some concern regarding our defensive efforts and I wanted to take a closer look at a few things in light of our play and the impact of our new recruiting class to help solve this problem. First off, we need to detach RR's "system guys" from the defense since it is not his system (that is with Casteel at WV) and he simply is an offensive coach. Just the way it is. Last year's "system" is at Syracuse with our new "system" consisting of mismatched parts trying to play like USC. Right? Cupboard is bare, right? Maybe not if you look at the starting defensive comparison simply on physical attributes and star rating:

The Eyeball Test
Pos    USC Star UM Star
DE    Wes Horton 6-5, 245 4* Brandon Graham 6-2, 263    5*
DE*    Everson Griffen 6-3, 265    5* Craig Roh 6-4, 238 4*
NT    Christian Tupou 6-2, 280    4* Mike Martin 6-2, 291 4*
DT    Jurrell Casey 6-1, 295 4* Ryan Van Bergen 6-6, 261    4*
LB    Michael Morgan 6-4, 220    4* Jonas Mouton 6-2, 218    4*
LB    Malcolm Smith 6-1, 225    NR Stevie Brown 6-0, 211 4*
LB    Chris Galippo 6-2, 255    5* Obi Ezeh 6-2, 243 3*
CB    Josh Pinkard 6-2, 210 3* Donovan Warren 6-0, 187    5*
CB    Kevin Thomas 6-1, 185    4* Boubacar Cissoko 5-9, 177    4*
S    Will Harris 6-1, 200 4* Troy Woolfolk 6-0, 183    3*
S    Taylor Mays 6-3, 230 5* Michael Williams 5-11, 190    4*

With a quick scan, we are fairly close with the exception of the entire secondary which just is what it is at this point and Roh who is a LB playing at DE. Some items of note.

  1.  BG really should be playing like Griffen where he is able to stand up. Locking in with a Tackle in a 3/4-pt stance is less terrifying than having him bull rush every play. This is not rocket science, but we were talking about him breaking the sack record this year. However, he cannot move him because of dline depth which necessitates Roh as an early starter before putting on his 20 lbs of growth which gets his body type in the ballpark.
  2. MM is left pulling double teams due to RVBs lack of size which also puts him as a play making disadvantage. The dude is super athletic and his quickness would benefit from having a space eater next to him instead of having to be a space eater on most plays.
  3. The kick in the ass is really losing Graves and Jones last year since you needed the extra bodies and can't create a line of DE-Graham, Van Bergen, Banks, Patterson DT- Martin, Sagesse, Campbell. At this point, I wouldn't have minded seeing an attempt at this by moving Patterson down and playing Roh as a pass rusher to add depth. Not sure why this was not tried. We had Big Will for 9 months. I have a theory that is picked up at the end. 
  4. The middle LB is a 5* LB who was a LB instead of a converted LB. Maybe that is trick I am not sure. But Galippo made a pick during the OSU game and I doubt if Obi could cover a elderly, asthmatic lady walking a crossing route. Again, this is addressed later.

The Takeaway
Robinson is working with some unmatched parts and he had to take a system gamble with what he was able to determine based on his limited interactions with our players. I am concerned that the current recruiting class does not add the depth we need to make him successful. Maybe we can have the "talk" with a few guys (looking the direction of the slots) so we can add the numbers so our team starts looking physically like a USC lineup (maybe not as talented). The GERG still gets a pass, I see where he is going and understand why we are in this position.

On the other hand, our assistant coaches have had an extra year with the team and are the common pieces from the worst statistical unit and potentially the second worst statistical unit if this pace continues. My concerns are as follows:

Tall- You have an early enrolling DT that was considered by many people to follow football recruiting to be a monster (not just my opinion and yes that is as good a the coach's opinion). You needed to build these guys better to provide different dline options for GERG.

Hopson- You have 2 positions to worry about, both positions look lost. I can't add more than what has been said. I would be surprised if you are still in the same zip code next year.

Gibson- The NFL DB you inherited is playing pretty good. Too bad you are not doing more with the other pieces. Vlad was out a year with a leg, Kovacs was out a year with a leg, but the one who has 3 inches and 20 lbs on the other is on the sideline. I am sure Vlad could have taken a bad angle on the RB as well in the Indy game, maybe he would have made a play elsewhere. Speaking of which, I am sure Brandon Smith can run blitz like Kovacs. Maybe cover like Shazor, but has a better chance of sending a guy off in a stretcher. Gibson, get to work man because that guy is now a LB and you need to show some player development.

Depth/Recruiting- Really this about creating competition at this point. The walk-on program is a defensive feeder and I cannot believe that our guys are getting pushed the way they need to. I like Wilkins being able to come in with his body type, Talbott has a chance if he hangs out with Alex Mitchell all summer and the rest need to grow if you slot them into the prototypical sizes by position which means our recruiting class as it stands will provide little relief and we will be rolling the same D (minus graduation) next year unless we get some other fall surprises. 

Unfortunately, I feel we will be outscoring teams even into next year. The one benefit being extra experience in the system and hopefully some assistant coaching turnover. I think GERG can get us there, he will need some tools to do so.


Pete Carroll- Athletes by position in the 30 Under

Pete Carroll- Athletes by position in the 30 Under

Submitted by iawolve on September 11th, 2009 at 9:37 AM
This is Trojan Football Analysis and the text from a Carroll talk at what seems to be a coach's clinic. (http://www.trojanfootballanalysis.com/wp/wordpress/?p=1066)
It is very long and interesting to listen to him discuss base philosophy which is where you draw the parallel to GERG. What was most useful was the types of players needed by position and how they rotate by base set. Is it exact? No, but I found it a good proxy for our team. I don't have a similar detailed talk from GERG to refer to. This is so long I split it into two diaries depending on topic.

Mod Edit: Again with copy/paste. I thought both of these were great links, but you (collective) can't just rip their whole article here. Anything not in quotes from here down was moderator, not OP'er.
"Before we go any further, let’s talk about personnel.  You want to get your best players on the field.  The open side Defensive End has to be one of your best football players.  Size does not matter as much.  We want an athletic player who can move around.

That's just on example, but they go through the entire defense in the article, but they do a quick specialization at the end about secondary play.

If you have a million reads for your secondary you are crazy.  They don’t need that even at our level.  All they need to know is their primary responsibility and then secondary.  At the highest level in the NFL the pass game is as complex as you can imagine.  However if a defender can play the post and the seam route then they can learn to play at that level. The thing that kills and breaks down a defense is a ball being thrown over the defender’s head for a touchdown.

There's more where that came from, and I highly promote checking that article out (link at top).