Upon Further Review: Defense vs Minnesota

Submitted by Brian on November 12th, 2008 at 4:42 PM

This was actually enjoyable.

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O22 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Run Zone read dive Mouton 4
Michigan fortunate to hold this down as Mouton(-1) was blocked and sealed to the inside by the center. Taylor slanted to the playside enough for the G to kick him out and Johnson's sliding down the line but not quite quick enough to close up the hole; the Minnesota RB trips over the legs of the man blocking Taylor. I guess +0.5 to Johnson for making this hole small enough for the trip to occur.
O26 2 6 Shotgun empty Nickel Pass Bubble Screen Warren 0
Timing or throw is messed up on this because the angle the WR has to block Warren means this should be shooting inside; instead Warren(+1) can slide upfield and make contact well behind the LOS; his tackle is run through and Minnesota gets back to the line. (Cover +1)
O26 3 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Out Trent Inc
Michigan sends five; no immediate pressure but Jamison(+0.5) is coming around the tackle and I guess this causes Weber to decide throwing is a good idea. He's just chucking this one away as Trent (+1, cover +1) has the short out blanketed.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Hitch -- Inc
Minnesota runs off the coverage and has this three-yard hitch open; if caught there is probably 5-8 yards of YAC here (cover -1). Weber chucks it behind his guy.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read keeper 4
Mouton(-0.5) jumps inside on the handoff fake, opening up the outside here, but recovers well enough to slow Weber up some and allow the secondary to hold the gain down.
O29 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Penalty False Start -- -5
Excelsior!
O24 3 11 Shotgun trips Okie Pass Screen Graham 7
Michigan backs out of the okie blitz threat and only rushes three, so this has a low chance of success from the get go. Trent(+0.5) reads it and contains the outside, allowing a pursuing Graham(+0.5) to tackle from behind after a meh gain.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 9 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run ISQD Taylor 3
An ISQD; both Taylor(+0.5) and Johnson(+0.5) hold up well, taking doubles and giving no ground. No creases in the line and it's a wad 'o bodies.
O20 2 7 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass Post Warren Inc
Warren in that man press, turning outside to face the receiver and then swiveling his hips around when Decker cuts inside of him; Warren ends up in Decker's back pocket. When the ball arrives he reaches over the top and breaks it up(+2, cover +1)
O20 3 7 Shotgun trips Okie Pass Rollout – out Graham 2
Graham(+1) reads the rollout, beats his man to the outside, and forces an early throw from Weber (pressure +1); good coverage(+1) forces a dumpoff; Brown(+0.5) is there to tackle and doesn't have to as the throw takes the receiver off his feet.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive Ezeh 5
Johnson(-1) is looking for the stretch and runs himself out of the play, opening up a sizeable lane behind him that the RB takes; Ezeh(+1) does a good job to fight off a blocker and get to the hole, where he tackles; Harrison(+1) also read it well and helped.
O40 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive Johnson 0
Exact same play and a very similar look with a major gap between RVB and Johnson; this time the RB runs right into the back of Johnson and gets swarmed. Uh... +1 Johnson? I feel dirty giving a player a -1 on one play and a +1 on another play for doing virtually the exact same thing. I guess on this one he gets push into the backfield, which makes the cutback harder. That's the ticket.
O40 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass ??? Harrison Inc
Michigan brings six and though they don't get there Ezeh(+0.5) managed to avoid a cut block well enough to convince Weber he needs to dump the ball. He does so by throwing it to no one in particular as his receiver and he were not on the same page; looked like good coverage(+1) from Harrison's zone drop.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
50 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass Bubble Screen Trent -3
Whooooo! Trent(+2) may have no idea what to do on an out route but goddamn he blows up a screen good. (Cover +1)
O47 2 13 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Scramble Johnson 6
Weber surveys; no one open (cover +1); Johnson(+1) is coming around the corner on a stunt and flushes him up into the pocket (pressure +1); Mouton(-0.5) comes up and contains but does not tackle, allowing Weber to scramble for decent yards
M47 3 7 Shotgun trips Okie Pass Sack Ezeh -7
Michigan runs a stunt that takes Jamison inside and loops Ezeh(+1) around; this confuses the Minnesota blockers, getting Ezeh in unblocked. He sacks. (Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, 11 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass PA Hitch Mouton 11
Mouton(-0.5) bites on the playfake enough to open up this short four-yard hitch; it's not really the catch that's an issue but the availability of YAC, which garners Minnesota a first down, its first of the game. (Cover -1)
O26 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Penalty False Start -- -5
And the perfect followup.
O21 1 15 Shotgun trips Nickel Run Speed option Taylor 5
Slot receiver comes in motion and acts as the pitchman as the RB is used as a lead blocker. Graham turns the play inside. Michigan is stunting the DTs, so Martin, the playside DT, takes himself out of the play and Taylor can't compensate quick enough to close down the hole. Taylor(+1) does, however, keep flowing down the line, disengaging to tackle after a moderate gain. Without that, this goes for ten or more.
O26 2 10 Shotgun empty Nickel Pass Bubble Screen Harrison 7
Okay, Harrison(+1) does an excellent job of getting in to the blocker and pushing him upfield, forcing the play inside of him, but he can't stay on his feet(-1) and falls, opening up the outside again. Whatever the coverage was had Trent and Brown way off and Ezeh can't come over to make the tackle until the receiver is nearing the sticks.
O33 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Slant Mouton Inc
Mouton(+2) reads the route excellently, jumping the slant at the sticks and shooting the ball skyward in the midst of six Michigan defenders. Miraculously, frustratingly, the ball manages to find the turf. Big play from Mouton there (cover +2).
Drive Notes: Punt, 9-0, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Shotgun empty Nickel Pass Out Warren 9
Michigan in zone and Warren running with the fade as the underneath receiver comes on an out route. Good timing from the Gophers gets it complete; immediate tackle from Warren. Nine yards but well executed by Minnesota and well defended by M.
O29 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Zone read keeper -- -5
Sort of, I guess. I think the intention is for it to be a keeper, anyway, and one that would have worked but for Weber fumbling the ball.
O24 3 6 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Deep out Brown Inc
No great pressure from M as they're stunting, but they do get enough push for the pocket to collapse; it's not like Weber has all day. He throws an out to a covered(+1) receiver; Brown(+1) comes over the top to break it up. Live I thought this was pass interference; now I think it's borderline. I'd like to live in a world where Brown can leap, tracking the ball, and knock it away and have that be a good defensive play.
Drive Notes: Punt, 16-0, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O34 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch Taylor 6
Taylor(-1) doesn't flow down the line at all, instead pushing his guy back a bit, but uselessly, and there's sizeable gap between he and Jamison. Mouton(-1) runs himself upfield and out of the play; Ezeh(+1) has a tough job to avoid a cut block and tackle; this he does.
O40 2 4 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass Bubble Screen Trent Inc
Trent(+1) is reading these so fast he's actually arriving before the ball (cover +1); on this he tackles the guy as the screen is in the air. The linesman drops a PI flag; it gets picked up because there's no such thing as PI behind the LOS.
O40 3 4 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Fade Warren 20
Same fade-out combination Minnesota ran earlier in the game against the same guys. I think Warren(-1) needs to “carry the fade” further downfield here; instead he lets up, perhaps in anticipation of the out, which to be fair looked to be coming open past the sticks. Weber goes to the fade, hitting the receiver just as Charles Stewart(+1) arrives. This is a really tough catch against good coverage from Stewart(cover +1), and it's hard to blame the D here.
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass Sack Graham -3
They're trying to exploit Morgan Trent's ninja screen-destroying tendencies, running the fake bubble pump and then trying to go deep. However, the way M schemes it is that Trent's the sole guy with responsibility for the bubble and there's a deep safety to that side with Harrison flying out to try and get the flag route. Weber hesitates, at which point Brandon Graham(+3) has blown the LT back and disengages to sack (pressure +1, cover +1)
M43 2 13 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 Nickel Run QB draw Jamison 7
Michigan blitzes six guys and runs upfield past the draw but Jamison has spun inside; there's no obvious lane for Weber's exit. One does appear just as he reaches the line and Weber manages to squirt through it stumbling; Jamison tackles him from behind and unfortunately their combined momentum adds three or four yards to the play.
M36 3 6 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 Nickel Run TGDCD -- 26
That God Damned Counter Draw rears its ugly head again. You may remember this play from such things as “Deandra Cobb eighty-yard touchdown” and “Deandra Cobb eighty-yard touchdown” in the Braylonfest game; it was also a major issue during the YOIP. I think I am contractually obligated to point out that this is a three man line with wide splits on a feasible run down and it gets shredded. NT Mike Martin(-1) fights to the wrong side of his blocker as he attempts to get out on the rollout; Jamison rushes upfield and there's a cavernous gap. Ezeh(-1) is flying out to cover the zone, leaving Williams all alone against a blocker in acres of space; there's no way he can do anything about it. A missed tackle from Stewart(-1) tacks on ten yards
M10 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read dive Johnson 4
Hard to tell what's going on on this one because we come to the play a little late; it looks like Johnson is trying to stunt right out of the hole, so there's a gap up the middle that Salomon gets four on. Good job by Graham(+0.5) to close it down.
M6 2 G Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run QB draw Jamison 1
Effective stunt here may be designed to combat this very play: Jamison shoots inside directly into the path of the draw, and Johnson shoots outside as Graham comes around. Weber's delayed by Jamsion's(+0.5) presence and Graham(+0.5) isn't going to be blocked by this tiny running back; he thumps Weber in the hole.
M5 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass Sack Warren -5
Warren(+1) is all over the receiver's attempted slant (cover +1)--may be close to a holding flag here FWIW—causing Weber to hesitate, at which point Harrison(+1), given a free run at the QB, sacks. (Pressure +2)
Drive Notes: FG(27), 19-3, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Rollout – fade Trent Inc
Okay, credit to Trent for dropping back on this and having great coverage(+1, cover +2) on the pass; there are actually three Michigan defenders and two Minnesota receivers in the area. Trent leaps... and the ball passes right through his hands. He does deflect it, causing the receiver to drop it, but you're not going to get an easier interception than that.
O38 2 10 Shotgun empty Nickel Run QB draw Jamison 9
Same stunt we ran on the goal line earlier; this one gets Graham(+0.5) right in the running lane, forcing Weber to bounce it out. Johnson's downfield there and so is Mouton; Mouton cuts off the outside; Weber cuts back past Johnson but I think the issue here is Jamison(-1), who didn't read the draw and wasted significant time spinning away from the play; without that he tracks this down at or near the LOS.
O47 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Dive Johnson 0
Johnson(+3) meets his guy at the LOS, shoves him back, disengages, and tackles in the hole for no gain; Harrison and Ezeh help make sure the RB doesn't fall forward.
O47 4 1 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Speed option pitch Harrison 6
Tough for Michigan to stop this; Jamison is given a free run at Weber so this is a pitch all the way; with the tackle releasing immediately and a TE to that side Minnesota's got two guys to block Harrison. Harrison(-1) doesn't help matters by reading this slowly. Brown(+0.5) does fill ably, FWIW, holding the gain down.
M47 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass Jailbreak screen Martin 2
Michigan stunting; Martin(+1) is running towards the screen as he reads it and just continues running that direction, getting out on the guy just as Ezeh(+1) arrives; together they tackle.
M45 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Throwaway Graham Inc
Graham(+1) beats the tackle and gets in on Weber immedately; with Harrison permitted a free run from the backside there's nowhere to go and Weber has to chuck it (pressure +2)
M45 3 8 Shotgun trips Nickel Run TGDCD Mouton 18
Blocking situation isn't as dire on this one with a four man line; Mouton(-2) is unblocked and looking at it all the way, but fails to read it quickly enough, takes an overly aggressive angle, especially on third and eight, and misses a tackle, opening up the outside and a significant gain.
M27 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel Pass Out Ezeh 6
A little out route as Minnesota players drive off the outside zone defenders; Ezeh and Harrison are in the general vicinity—decent coverage. There's no YAC as Weber threw it low and away from his man, possibly because Ezeh might bat at it if it was nearer to him.
M21 2 4 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run QB sweep Johnson 1
Their version of that QB run we use plenty. Johnson(+1) is doubled but manages to push his guys, flowing down the line and preventing any crease from opening up. Weber tries to cut behind him, at which point Ezeh(+0.5) slashes into the backfield and slows him up, though he doesn't make the tackle; Butler and Williams converge to finish the play
M20 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Speed option pitch Harrison 13
Same play from earlier; Harrison(-1) reads it faster and gets upfield past a blocker but is out of control. He takes an angle too far inside, allowing the RB to bounce it outside of him, and then it's into the secondary.
M7 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch Jamison 2
Michigan lined up in an awkward position to defend this with the line shifted away from the playside; Taylor(+1) does a good job to not get sealed and force the RB to the outside; he gains about two and fumbles; Ezeh recovers; referees miss it (understandably) and award the ball to Minnesota after the pileup; there is no review because the review officials in this conference are awful.
M5 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie Run Yakety sax -- -9
Weber fumbles the snap. Ball don't lie.
M14 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass Post Brown Inc
Very aggressive playcall here sees a safety blitz head up the middle; Brown(+1, cover +1) is all alone on a post route against one of the Minnesota receivers. The pressure(+1) up the middle forces an early throw; it's behind the receiver. Brown knocks it away.
Drive Notes: FG(33), 22-6, 11 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Play Player Yards
O18 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Penalty Offsides Taylor 5
Taylor -1.
O23 1 5 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Run Zone read stretch Jamison 0
Jamison(+1) pushes his guy into the backfield, giving the RB a tough choice between bouncing outside and cutting up, likely without success. He picks cut up and falls doing it.
O23 2 5 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Fade Warren 17
Zone coverage here with Warren(-1) not carrying the fade far enough, leaving a window between himself and the safety that Weber hits. (Cover -1)
O40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel Pass Sack Jamison -6
Jamison(+3) explodes past the left tackle, sacking Weber before he has a chance to hit any of his deep routes. (Pressure +2)
O34 2 16 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Seam Harrison 30
A big pass play as the receiver clears Harrison, but I don't think he does, really, I just think Harrison's attempt to bat it down misses; the coverage here is fine. On replay: definitely, Harrison(-2) just whiffs on what should be a PBU.
M36 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Okie Pass Throwaway Graham Inc (Pen-10)
Graham(+1) beats the tackles to the outside, forcing Weber to flush and throw it away. He also picks up a holding flag. (Pressure +1)
M46 1 20 Shotgun trips Okie Pass Jailbreak screen Harrison -4
Harrison(+2) jumps this—poor timing from Minnesota—and crushes it in the backfield.
50 2 24 Shotgun 4-wide Okie Pass Out Trent Int
Trent(+3) reads the out, comes off the receiver running the fade, and makes a great diving catch on a poorly thrown ball. (Cover +2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 22-6, 7 min 4th Q. Michigan kills the rest of the game with a touchdown drive.

Does this make any damn sense?

No. It makes no damn sense at all. Last week Michigan gave up 48 points and 500-some yards to a third-string quarterback at Purdue. This week Michigan gave up 6 points and 188 yards to a pretty decent offense.

I mean, the numbers…

Chart?

Chart.

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Jamison 5 1 4 Most of this on one impressive sack.
Johnson 7 1 6 Grumble about how he didn't play last week goes here.
Taylor 3.5 2 1.5 Kind of an eh day from him, but not many errors at least.
Graham 8 - 8 Le beast
Patterson - - -  
Butler - - -  
Van Bergen - - -  
Martin 1 1 0
TOTAL 24.5 5 19.5 That's pretty good, yeah.
Linebacker
Player + - T Notes
Ezeh 5 1 4 No major errors.
Thompson - - - DNP
Panter - - -  
Evans - - -
Mouton 2 5.5 -3.5 Off day from him; was culpable on one of the GDCDs.
TOTAL 7 6.5 0.5 Eh.
Secondary
Player + - T Notes
Trent 8.5 - 8.5 Murderized a couple screens and picked a pass off.
Harrison 5 5 0 Alternated errors and good play, was a hand or two away from having a +3, +4 day though. One deep seam route late was a big swing.
Warren 4 2 2 Made a play or three..
Cissoko - - - DNP on D.
Dutch - - -  
Stewart 1 1 0
Brown 3 - 3 Yay safeties?
Williams - -  
TOTAL 21.5 8 13.5 This isn't the half of it.
Metrics
"Pressure" 13 0 13 Dang. This is probably why Minnesota didn't try to go after the safeties.
"Coverage" 18 3 15 WTF? Last week they were –17!

Basically what you would expect on a day where Minnesota picks up 188 yards of total offense and kicks a grand total of two field goals, but holy God: no "pressure" minuses. A one-week 32 point turnaround in the "coverage" metric. A net +13.5 from the secondary.

Head asplode picture goes here.

my head asplode

So what in the hell happened?

In the postgame players and coaches said that Shafer dumped anything resembling complexity and went with a completely basic nickel cover two scheme. The Okie made an appearance on passing downs, but other than that there were a grand total of two snaps in anything other than a 4-2-5 nickel. (One of these was a 30 yard run, natch.) There was almost no substitution. Martin rotated in regularly; Van Bergen, Butler, and Williams all saw a half-dozen snaps at most. No one else saw time. Ezeh and Mouton were the only linebackers to play. Trent, Warren, and Harrison played every snap, as did Brandon Graham.

Does this sound suspiciously close to what you were complaining for earlier in the season?

Um, not to get all high and mighty, but… yes? I've always hated the lack of flexibility engendered by playing a 4-3 against the spread, especially when the third linebacker is a ponderous run-stuffer like Johnny Thompson. And I never understood the idea behind yanking one of Michigan's best defenders (pick a starting DT) off the field except on passing downs.

So Michigan goes to a nickel. Harrison's lack of size is not a factor in the run game, he plays well against the pass, and everyone can go back to the way they played much of last year. Confusion removed, Michigan dominates.

This sort of begs for the question "why the hell did it take them so long?"

Uh, yeah.

So… why the hell did it take them so long?

I don't know, man.

Heroes?

Virtually everyone. Special commendation to Trent and, as per usual, Graham.

Goats?

Jonas Mouton had a rough day after a couple of strong performances; he was culpable on the second GDCD and had a few other issues.

What does it mean for 2009?

Not much, unfortunately. With the backups relegated to the bench there were a lot of seniors out there, and few guys who will return. Ezeh and Mouton were a wash taken together; Ezeh had a better day than he's had recently but Mouton dropped off.

One thing I think is encouraging: so Michigan flailed around for much of a season before finding something that worked pretty well. They did this on offense too, taking half a season to settle on MINOR RAGE because Minor couldn't show what he could do due to a series of fumbles and minor (ha!) injuries. They also shuffled the offensive line around, picked a new starting tight end midway through the season, and started Nick Sheridan over Threet at the beginning of the season.

Since we're dismissing the idea that the coaches are morons the conclusion is obvious: these guys are in their first year at a program and have very little idea who can play and who can't. Or, at least, they didn't. They now seem to be figuring these things out, and going into next year you should see the confusion about who should play and what Michigan should try to do significantly reduced. (Though not entirely. Remember the team will have something like five seniors in the starting lineup.)

Comments

Michigan Arrogance

November 12th, 2008 at 5:58 PM ^

so why does it take 11 months to figure out who can play and who can't? why can't they just ask LC? i mean, we all knew who could play and who couldn't. They had tape of last year and the year before. Seniors are seniors are seniors. let them play. /Bad News Bears.

Jorel

November 12th, 2008 at 6:41 PM ^

gsimmons can correct me here, but in high school, I was always taught that, as the unblocked player defending the option, I should shuffle down the line of scrimmage waiting for the QB to come to me. This allows my teammates the time to read the play and come up to defend the pitch.

On Minny's speed option, our unblocked defended consistently rushed the QB forcing a quick pitch. I'm sure there are some defensive alignments where that makes sense, but there must also be some where it doesn't, and it seemed we were late getting guys back to the LOS on a few of those.

Down and distance may be factor as well. Maybe you rush the QB on 3rd and 1 cause the keeper probably gets you 1 yard for sure and you hope for a bad pitch or a great play from a teammate, but with 3 yards to go or more, I dunno.

gsimmons?

Rush N Attack

November 12th, 2008 at 8:30 PM ^

just how different defense coordinators can be.....

I was always taught that EVERY player on defense was responsible for a man, and if you had the qb....well than you smashed him right in the mouth every single time they ran it, whether he pitches or not.

And whoever was responsible for the pitch man (depended on the offensive formation), better damn well be flying up to smash him in the mouth too. (With his "outside arm and leg free dammit!!")

StevieY19

November 12th, 2008 at 7:09 PM ^

They are just the worst. I remember last week against Purdue when they scored the first TD I thought his knee was down before he scored. No review. Then later, they scored an obvious touchdown. 5 minute review.

You know, it usually seems like the director for the TV feed is pretty on top of these replays. Maybe they should pay some of these guys to sit next to the replay guy and provide an occasional "don't forget to look at that, shithead."

2Blue4You

November 12th, 2008 at 9:43 PM ^

How can we be watching on TV and know a play should warrant a closer look and they can't figure it out in the box? They say every play is reviewed but do they mean at a later date? Michigan obviously caused a fumble and recovered it in the Minn. when Minn. was in the red-zone and the replay officials call for a further look.

Ernis

November 12th, 2008 at 9:46 PM ^

I was wondering the same myself. Maybe scheme isn't as overrated as Shafer thought? I'm not going to jump on that wagon...

IMHO what probably had something to do with it is the new coaches feeling an enormous amount of pressure on them and trying too hard as a result

Tim

November 12th, 2008 at 11:12 PM ^

Brian,

For the record, Michigan was playing 4-3 technique with Harrison as a linebacker, not really 4-2-5 type schemes. I think this is where we'll see guys like Brandin Hawthorne, et al excel when they hit campus.

I attribute the good defense to the DNP next to John Thompson's name.

ShockFX

November 12th, 2008 at 11:20 PM ^

This actually sounds like a good evolution of a defense. You have the DB/LB hybrid available for coverage against a spread but can still stop the run. This is what we'd have been running the last few years if Chris Graham could cover anyone.

ShockFX

November 13th, 2008 at 2:05 AM ^

Alternatively it has less options when they have a DB over the slot WR and the offense runs it or throws a screen. You'd much rather the LB/S tweener in there.

Ignoring 4 and 5 WR sets, because I think (and I'm probably be wrong) you don't play these man to man. And if you were you would be in a Dime package I'd imagine. This brings us to what seems to be a common spread offense, the 3WR/2RB or 3WR/1TE/1RB or even 3WR/1RB/1FB (WVU's backfield last year). You'd do a sort of 4-2 stack, then place the hybrid LB/S over the slot receiver. The LB/S has responsibility of the slot over the middle and screens and what not. If the slot turns up field one of the safeties would assume responsibility for him.

I think this would create a HUGE advantage on all running plays / screens as the slot guy has no shot to really block the LB/S. Could you see Odoms stopping someone like Isaiah Bell, 6'0" 225lb in high school? Odoms is 5'9" 175. You might give up something on downfield passes, but to a slot guy it's much less of a concern.

I really liked the idea of the 3-3-5 because of that extra safety on the field. However, a 4-2 with the LB/S hybrid is much more appealing to me just because I hate 3 man fronts.

stubob

November 13th, 2008 at 9:55 AM ^

So what's the problem with TGDCD? Anything glaringly obvious, like mis-alignment, or a consistent bad read? Or just a case of too much pursuit one way and then "Holy Shit, they're going THAT way!"

Any chance of a Picture Pages of what's going on? Pretty please? It seems really weird that a simple run play should consistently go for 20+.

Don

November 14th, 2008 at 3:13 PM ^

From the portions of the game I watched our DBs were more aggressive in terms of how close they were to the LOS at the snap, with much less of a deep cushion given to the Minnesota receivers. I'm skeptical we'd have been as successful—regardless of the 4-2-5 and the simplification—if we'd stayed with the charmin-soft approach to coverage we'd been taking all year up till now.