I am now sold on a 4-2-5 defense

Submitted by VinnieMac25 on October 6th, 2010 at 1:23 AM

I am now sold on a 4-2-5 defense thanks to the article on Maize N Brew, that Dave wrote.  Great read if any one is up and would like to read it. 

So why not try this.  I have been voicing my displeasure with Roh not on the line more often. A line consisting of RVB, MM, Banks, Roh.  Lb's Mouton and Kovacs (Herron). Cb's Rogers, Talbott/Avery/Christian.  Safety Gordon and Floyd, and T. Gordon/C. Johnson.  Whats some of your thoughts?  To me pressure is the key, this would bring some pressure.  The young secondary can still play their zone, and make plays! Maybe Gerg and RR are starting to notice this, thats why we saw some of this switch in the IU game.



October 6th, 2010 at 1:29 AM ^

on anything that involves less 3 man rushes, gets roh rushing the passer, and limits ezeh's exposure even though he seems to be the nicest guy in the world


October 6th, 2010 at 12:10 PM ^



October 6th, 2010 at 1:42 AM ^

could probably try any defense at this point and do as good or better. I don't see them installing a radical new scheme though mid season. I believe this is the type of defense TCU uses. 

I am not sure how great this D would be in the middle. Linebacker is already a problem and this would be even more pressure on them. A playaction drawing in the linebackers or WR dragging across the field could clear out the middle leaving huge space for a RB or TE. 

Ehh, I don't think anyone would complain at this point about a defensive change though.


October 6th, 2010 at 1:50 AM ^

agree with the pap, drag would hurt the linebackers.  IMO with pressure getting to cousins maybe that eliminates the drag.  As to the pap, its read, read then react.  Not saying Gerg should drastically change schemes.  If he voices it to the players and there smart enough to pull it off, then why not. 


October 6th, 2010 at 1:53 AM ^

+ infinity to Maize and Brew, great article. Now, can someone forward this to Robinson...who has his e-mail? It would save me the hassle of printing this out and driving from Chicago to AA in the morning to enlighten the Defensive coaching staff.


October 6th, 2010 at 1:57 AM ^

First of all I think you'll be surprised with what Brian concludes. I suspect that the defense actually did very well (okay, very well is obsivously incorrect, but they held their assignments and were in position). A lot of the Indiana drives were kept alive because a few blown coverages and some rotten luck. On top of that, Indiana's skill positions played brilliantly. So don't quit on this scheme yet.

Second, Indiana shredded our four man front sets, which were essentially 4-2-5 or occasionally 4-4.

I also want to add a small physics lesson:

Jordan Kovacs - 6'0", 200

John Clay - 6'2", 248

And that's only if Kovacs manages to slip the block from the 290 lb lineman. Then what happens if the LB has to drop back into middle zone coverage? Kovacs isn't just leetle, he's SHORT. That's why Robinson had Roh wandering around in the backfield against Indiana, he was trying to block passing lanes with his 6'5" height and long arms.

We do a 4-2-5 it has to be Mouton + Ezeh/Demens/Roh. Demens isn't ready to play and we'd rather have Roh on the line, right?

We don't have the personnel for a 4-2-5.

What did work against Indiana, and it was one of the few things I agree on with Burgeoning Wolverine Star, was a three man front with man coverage and a one drop zone. The shutdown in the second half of Indiana's offense happened because of this setup, and was when the sacks came.


October 6th, 2010 at 2:11 AM ^

about the personnel, but I'm not sold on our scheme with the way it's implemented.

64 drop backs... 2 sacks.

Yes, Chappel threw the ball away quite a few times as well, but from what I recall, he was rarely under pressure when that happened. It's like he suddenly realized he'd been holding onto the ball forever and decided he had to get rid of it.

On the bright side... with very few blitzes we are real solid against RB screens.

I'd be happier with the scheme if it included a 10% increase in blitz rate. I'm not asking for much... c'mon GERG... please?


October 6th, 2010 at 2:18 AM ^

so you keep kovacs at safety, floyd at db put in ezeh/demens/herron as MLB. But don't give me this we don't have the personnel for this defense.  Ok we wait for the UFR from Brian, since im not sure what d we were playing when the INT was made.  Having db's play 7-9 yards off the ball in a vanilla soft zone, giving up 494 passings yards.  Although seeing floyd try and jam at the line impressed me, haven't seen that in a long time.  Only 3 or 4 pbu, and a INT.  Thats all on a very well defense, that just missed a few blown assignments and rotten luck.  Come on now. 


October 6th, 2010 at 2:05 AM ^

With all the progress the MSU running game has made so far this season, can we really win this game with only three d-lineman for a majority of the game? I know the secondary has been the very visible problem...but I do not think a 3 man rush will do enough to stop MSU's running game. While the secondary will be a cause for concern for the rest of the season...I think the x-factor saturday will be Michigan's level of success vs. the MSU running game.

M_Born M_Believer

October 6th, 2010 at 2:23 AM ^

Is that you have a strong LB core that can read, make plays, and tackle.  Obviously we do not have enough LB to fill that criteria. 

Roh just seems like a fish out of water when he is asked to play in space.  To me, Roh just plays a whole lot better as a DE than a LB.  In the UCONN game when he had is hand down, he was living in their backfield.

Ezeh is just.....aww never mind

Kovacs, bless his soul for trying, but is simply overmatched physically

Mouton has played well, but he he still has brian farts (we'll see what the UFR states, but my take on that last IU TD is that Willis was Mouton's guy and he was soooooo slow reading the play, it left him wide open.)  Check the replay.  For some reason, right at the snap Mouton is looking towards the sideline?  By the time he realizes that the play has started, Willis is 3 steps into his pattern

Against MSU, containing their running game will be key.  They will be more than happy to have multiple long time consuming drives to keep our offense off the field.  Plus it would frustrate the crowd.


October 6th, 2010 at 12:08 PM ^

The way I understand it, that play was a zone, but Talbott (the CB) played it like man.  He moved inside with the wide receiver, leaving the flat (his zone) wide open for Willis to catch the ball.  It may appear that Mouton was in man and slow to react, but he was actually in the right spot, sitting in his zone where he would have met Talbott's wide receiver.

Michigan's defensive struggles are due to personnel, as Gsimmons says.  These guys are young, often near the right spot, but not usually in position to make a play on the ball.  Rewatching the Indiana game, I found that the pass rush was actually not terrible.  We just are not very good at covering receivers, no matter the amount of pressure on the quarterback.


October 6th, 2010 at 3:16 AM ^

essentially turn us into a 4-2-5?  It seems the personal recommendations are all based on Ezeh.  Need Herron to step up to give Ezeh breaks, and leave Roh on the attack.

Brother Mouzone

October 6th, 2010 at 6:03 AM ^

I think his first name is confusing people and they hope that he will play like #55 from last year.  

Seriously, as you know the limitations of depth, talent and experience have been well documented.  People are frustrated and want to try anything and hope that it works.

Win or lose it will continue the balance of this season with very few legit options to significantly change what we will see from this D. 

Other than praying for the team to stay healthy and that the youngsters learn quickly.  I'm not convinced that there is much that can be done that will produce more than marginal change.  

They will bend like a fuckin' contortionist - and some time they will break.

Enjoy the ride kids!


October 6th, 2010 at 4:02 AM ^

While rushing the passer is important, dropping 8 prevents our secondary from getting put on an island.  With how young these guys are, it's hard to be able to expect them to make plays all alone in open space.


I have faith that once GERG gets some experience in the secondary, he will be able to bring more pressure from the front.  We all want to see more pressure, but that may lead to more long plays a la last year.  Just have faith, GERG is known as a defensive mind and will hopefully have the D good to go once the younger guys find their feet.


October 6th, 2010 at 7:00 AM ^

CB's cover receivers.  We don't do that.  Safeties cover zones and tackle.  That's what we do

Every guy we've got, "he could be a good safety".  Not so much CB.  GERG knows this and it limits the D.  Floyd is getting closer to playing corner, but doesn't have the speed for many WR's.  3 man fronts keep us in games.  If we can get Roh in as 4th rusher through scheme, and we can play a little better - take more chances going for the ball, punish when tackling -, we will be better.  I think we're headed that way

Wolverine In Exile

October 6th, 2010 at 7:54 AM ^

Is to keep the scheme that the kids have been practicing on all year (remember the whole 3 D-coordinators in 4 years thingy?) and make minor changes to calling during the game. The 3-man DL was getting decent pressure on their own and when we brought a 4th blitzer (be it one of the S's, or Black moving around the line looknig for holes) we almost always got a good hit on Chappell-- he was just good enough to stand in there and deliver the ball while taking a hit. A LOT of the passes with the 8 men back were well defended except either our LB or DB who had coverage responsiblity got beat physically or technique-wise by Doss when you still have to have individual responsibility.

I think against MSU you're going to see Roh drop down into a 4th rusher more often than not, and even though we'll be in a 3-3-5 scheme, we're probably going to play more like a 46..... Kovacs will be up on the strong side line, RVB, MM, Banks will be on line, Roh will be online hybrid-ing between hand on the ground and standing up (but I'll bet rushing 75% of the time), Ezeh & Mouton will be in the box and Floyd / Rogers / Gordon will be playing a 3-deep zone.

Wolverine In Exile

October 6th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

just like how Pittsburgh's zone blitz concept works rushing 4 or 5 out of a 3 man line. It's not the initial configuration, but how the plays are called and the individual players execute their responsibilities. Just putting a 4th lineman isn't going to solve our problems. Bringing a little extra heat to give the QB a little less time to make decisions and the WR's a little less time to separate from their coverage, might.


October 6th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

3 man didn't get too much pressure, when Banks was in.  On one blown assignment Banks was there for a nice play.  He doesn't get off his blocker.  When Jibreel Black was in the game, thats the only time 3 man rushes saw pressure.  I am lobbying the MLB spot for Kenny Demens! In 10% of the snaps he has 11 tackles, 2 goal-line stops in back to back games.  Obi Ezeh has 30 tackles.  As regards to Tandon Doss, its all with flanker motion.  Whenever he came down on motion, it confused the lb's.  He was there trying to crack down to spring the rb.  Also in on plays that set up the bobble screen.  That motion caused fits. 

Webber's Pimp

October 6th, 2010 at 8:22 AM ^

It's amazing to me that the proposed fix (per the article) in part looks to a walkon (Kovacs) for the solution. The kid has allot of heart and we should all be grateful to have him. The mere fact that he's one of our two best LBs should give the reader an indication of just how badly we've recruited this position the last several years...I think the 4-2-5 will help but make no mistake - the real solution lies in our next couple of recruiting classes. 

Communist Football

October 6th, 2010 at 8:25 AM ^

I would just add/point out that the reason why Roh was on the line more against UConn, but not thereafter, is because Herron got injured.  If and when Herron is back (hopefully by Saturday), this will allow Roh to play DE more.

One point that I'm glad was raised in the linked article is that the 3-3-5 is RRod's baby, not GERG's.  So blaming GERG for the 3-3-5 is misinformed.  RRod is the guy who is insisting on the 3-3-5.


October 6th, 2010 at 8:41 AM ^

against MSU. But I also think that the vision of three beasts who could put on enough pressure to continually hound the other team's QB is a great one, and leaves you more coverage at the next two levels, where--by crikey--we need it even more.

Now all we need is one and a half more beasts.


October 6th, 2010 at 9:57 AM ^

...to change up the defensive look, NOW IS THE TIME! 

We have to try to stop the run and pressure Cousins. If Cousins can beat us through the air, then so be it. 


October 6th, 2010 at 10:39 AM ^

I like the sound of a changeup in defrndive strategy but I'm wondering if the cure isn't worse than the disease in the short term.
<br>Is s our relatively inexperienced d capable of shifting gears that fast, or is a sudden shift likely to result in execution error?
<br>Ps i am on an iphone so the typos are notmmyfault


October 6th, 2010 at 10:25 AM ^

I understand the frustration and wanting to try something new, but one of the benefits to the three man front is that it allows for more exotic blitz packages.  I am holding out hope that we are waiting until this game to unleash some of those packages. 

You have to remember one thing.  If you blitz like crazy early in the season with that inexperienced secondary, and you don't get to the QB...you'll get killed downfield.

These packages are hard to pick up on the fly for these young kids, so trying something new at this critical point could be problematic.  I trust that our coaches are smart and both GERG and Rich Rod know their butts are still on the line.  They won't sit back and let MSU carve up the D.


October 6th, 2010 at 10:41 AM ^

Another issue not yet mentioned is the second DT in the 4-2-5. Who's going to play there?

Banks is 6'4" and 275, not exactly stout enough to hold up to double teams on the interior. Think Pat Massey 2.0. Sagasse and Patterson haven't shown anything in their playing time. Campbell is not ready (if he were, the 4-2-5 would be a more attractive solution). While the 4-2-5 might generate more edge pressure, with our current personnel, it would likely make the middle of our D very vulnerable to power running, ie, MSU, Iowa, Penn State, Wisc., Ohio State, especially if Kovacs is the second MLB.


October 6th, 2010 at 12:34 PM ^

Sagesse and Patterson haven't shown anything in their playing time?  That's a ridiculous and uninformed statement to make.  They've shown quite a lot actually.  Whenever Mike Martin has to come off the field I have every confidence that Patterson will hold his own and as far as Sagesse is concerned, he already has a couple tackles for loss this year and has caused plenty of disruption in just his limited playing time.  We'll be fine with either there and furthermore, RVB would be a possibility there as well.  He played DT all last year.

Braylon 5 Hour…

October 6th, 2010 at 10:50 AM ^

So earlier in the season we were plagued by blown coverages that led to 50+ yard TDs in basically every game we played prior to Indiana.  Against Indiana, there was the one 46 yard play by Doss but generally speaking, we executed the 'bend and slowly break' defense versus anything that resembled the scoring we gave up against Notre Dame.

My question is, do we consider this improvement? Do we consider this the 'scheme' working, when we force Indiana to have to take that many plays to score a TD if they are going to just score anyway? Right now I dont' think we have the personnel to shut anyone down for any period of time, we need to just play as sound and fundamentally solid as possible and hope for some mistakes in addition to the few that we create.