4-3 Under scheme question for Brian or coach types

Submitted by michWolves2580 on February 15th, 2012 at 6:00 PM

While reading Brian's amazing post about the clinic meeting with Mattison, I came across one piece that I can not understand: 

Michigan does not align to strength but rather aligns to field—ie, if you're on the left hash the SAM will be to the wide side of the field and if you're on the right hash the SAM will be to the wide side of the field. You can flip your tight ends all around and Michigan won't flip in response. I assume the flipping from earlier in the year was a necessary evil as Michigan tried to get everyone up on the new system.

I don't understand how this can possibly be true. For example, if the ball is on the left hash and the offense comes out heavy left (a TE at least to that side) or a TE with a wing or a even a fullback in the game too, how can our D stand a chance by lining up in an under front with the Sam away from the power? 

Wont we be badly outnumbered on that side? A power run with a pulling guard would be a 4 on 3 advantage and possibly more if you decide to read an unblocked DE to the wide side.

In a normal under front, the shade is to the tight end and the 3-tech is away. Does this still stand if the offense lines up power into the boundary? If not how is it not absolutely deadly for the defense to have only a shaded nose and an end to the tight end side?



February 15th, 2012 at 6:13 PM ^

Mattison is talking in generalities.   When a team goes heavy to the boundary every team has shifts or adjustments to counter it.   Kovacs would probably flop over to even the numbers out.

Mattison can't go over every permeatation in a clinic.   He's just talking in general terms.  In a real game they would make adjustments based on the offense they are playing.  Against Wisconsin Mattison might decide he needs to flip DT's based on something he sees on film to combat their strength.  Against Purdue he might decide it's not worth it and leave it alone.  

Just be assured for every play the defense has every run gap accounted for.


February 15th, 2012 at 6:34 PM ^

"Just be assured for every play the defense has every run gap accounted for."


Except when they are doing a Chinese Fire Drill when the ball is snapped and no gaps are covered.


February 15th, 2012 at 7:04 PM ^

Keep in mind that by under shifting, you are moving your linemen slightly to the short side of the field compared to a normal 4-3. Essentially, your SDE and 3-Tech DT are going to be lined up to the strong side of the formation. If they came out with 2 TE and a FB aligned to the short side, you probably just bring Kovacs down to the slightly outside the second TE. Then, when they motion the TE and FB right, you just have Kovacs back up closer to his original spot.


February 15th, 2012 at 7:45 PM ^

They were learning a brand new scheme, and I'm sure Mattison had it as simple as it could be.  That being said, everybody would be used to their one assignment, and not prepared to hit a curveball like a TE switching sides.  The defense would then change so that everyone could execute the scheme they'd learned, with all of the same assignments.  You don't want to think too much, you want to react.  When you have to think about a change of responsibilites, you're not going to execute as well if you're mind is cleared.

With another year in the system, hopefully everyone will understand their assignments for the given play, and hopefully any curveballs thrown their way, like a TE switching sides, WR's motioning around, a RB moving to the slot, a TE motioning to H-back.  Hopefully, the understanding of the scheme takes over, and they don't have to think about their new assignment, they already know and can execute.  

Space Coyote

February 15th, 2012 at 10:32 PM ^

Is that he means what he is saying, they will stay in a 4-3 under.  The difference will be that they will most likely automatically check to a strong-side slant.  The 1-tech will shade to something closer to a 0-tech and the 5-tech SDE will play more heads up as well on the tackle because he has the SAM outside of him.  The boundary corner will help support in the run and will be responsible for holding the edge, where as the SS (the FS if it's a pre-snap shift from the wide side of the field to the boundary side).  The slant makes power very difficult to that side because there is no bubble in the defense.  The pulling guard won't have a lane to cut up field and most likely a cluster will occur.  The best move for the running back in this case is to bounce or cut back.  The cut back will hit right into two players (WDE and MIKE) and the bounce has all the lanes filled with the WILL scraping over the top.  The WILL in this case will be free.

Another option is to rotate the SAM back and play something more like a 4-3 Over


February 16th, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

talk. I saw where Magnus and someone else were going back and forth about the "flipping the defense thing" in another thread. I thought I saw us flipping sides on D all year. There was even a game (Nebraska maybe?) where we were late getting into position several times, and it was a bit nerve-wracking to watch the guys running around frantically before the snap. Maybe he has decided not to flip going forward after watching film of last year?


February 17th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

We did it for the first few games in the season then stopped. If it was late in the season, then I'm guessing it was the bowl game because the 4th and 1 stop came after they flipped strength then snapped the ball before we could finish flipping to match.