The Arrogance of the Defensive Gameplan

Submitted by George Pickett on October 21st, 2017 at 11:42 PM

How many fucking times are you going to put McCray on an explosive RB in man coverage? How many times are you going to put Kinnel in man coverage on PSU's best receiver?  How many times are you going to put a two-star safety on an island on 3rd down?

Don Brown is great, but we need to stop acting like every one of our players is capable of executing every assignment. Tonight's gameplan was a product of massive arrogance, and it failed miserably.



October 21st, 2017 at 11:44 PM ^

But of all the people to go after tonight, Don Brown is definitely not near the top of the list.  Imagine how our current season would be going without him.

The Baughz

October 21st, 2017 at 11:47 PM ^

That doesn't excuse him for his awful game plan for tonight. McCray should have went to the opposite side of Barkley and instead he was covering him man to man. Kinnell and Metellus were constantly abused and no adjustments were made. Certainly the offense is more to blame, but the D should not get a feee pass because they were pretty bad tonight as well.


October 22nd, 2017 at 7:17 AM ^

This is stupid. If I remember correctly, we were really good against OSU last year. We have a very young secondary and that showed. We have one LB who needs to be replaced with a faster version for what Don Brown is trying to do. It will happen with experience and better players. Still, good offenses is going to find a way to score. Your narrative fits the mood many of us are in but not rational.


October 21st, 2017 at 11:50 PM ^

Don Brown is the biggest reason we as fans went into the game on October 21st still thinking there was a chance of making it to Indianapolis.


But tonight he got his ass kicked. Badly.


It's ok to acknowledge and freely point out both of these realities.


October 22nd, 2017 at 2:11 AM ^

I mean, he is, tonight. PSU did what they wanted and they got every matchup they wanted because they knew he would refuse to change. His stubborness has been lauded in the past but it killed them tonight. He has an NFL DL, an NFL LB and good corners and he decided it was fine to let PSU feed on everyone else. This isn't going to be a problem that lingers because we aren't going to see this combo often, but McSorley, Barkley and Hamilton are built to kill his defense. Two huge matchup problems with LBs and Ss and a QB who can escape and run, not to mention throw the deep ball. You have to go zone at some point. 


October 22nd, 2017 at 12:27 AM ^

Honestly, when has he not looked like that.  He is always chasing guys that have run past him downfield.  

He will throw in a big hit here and there, but it will come off a 7 yard gain.

He is probably more a backup type talent, and isn't big enough nor talented enough to be playing this much.


October 22nd, 2017 at 1:44 AM ^

I posted this in another thread already, but I'll post it here, too: 

I've been saying this since the beginning of the year: the 3-3-5 base allignment gets murdered against the power spread! When we unveiled it against Florida, it looked great against a pass-first team with little run threat. Just send Furbush into the A gap, then unleash Devin Bush for QB pressure. Pass-first spread teams? Same thing. Zone running schemes? Our linebackers are too good. But against power rushing outfits, we need the 4-2-5 base--Don Brown's bread-and-butter (remember the spread killer?). Why? When Mone (or Solomon or Dwumfour) are in the game at Nose Tackle, Hurst, Gary, and Winovich receive less double teams and blow up more plays at the point of attack. With only a 3-man front, we're asking our linebackers to read and react to every run play or get home on exotic blitzes during a pass. Against pass-first, zone-running teams that works great, especially on 3rd and long. Against gap attacking power teams, that's expecting too much from the linebackers since they're meeting pulling guards in the hole or having to check RBs coming out of the backfield on passing downs. Penn State and Ohio State may be in spread formations, but they're attacking gaps, not zone running. Add inverted veer play action and our linebackers have to be in two places at once while our 3 lineman get doubled/optioned. 

Secondly, since Penn State's passing game is predicated on chucking and praying, man-to-man coverage means the secondary can't help on run plays and must win long track meets/get heads turned/challenge the catches. Our corners can do all that. Mattellus, Kinnel, and Hudson... not quite. By going zone, you allow the entire 5 to 6 man secondary to play centerfield, watching the QB's eyes. When he chucks, you pick off. When he takes off for a run you're there for run support. (No way Saquan gets that first long TD run if we're in zone coverage. And no way he gets McCray one-on-one in any passing situation). 

Last year, Michigan destroyed this EXACT SAME PSU OFFENSE. Why? 4-2-5 base defense--the spread killer! The four man line blew everything up at the point of attack. Linebackers only had to play cleanup. If we continue in a 3-3-5 against Wiscy, we'll definitely get killed. I think our coaches know that with power-I teams, hence why we eventually got Mone in to stop the bleeding against MSU. But I hope this game also showed why a 3-3-5 against a power spread like PSU and OSU also gets our linebackers ate up by guards and/or misdirection. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, RELEASE GARY AND HURST! Stop neutering our greatest strength with a three man line just because an exotic blits with Furbush and Devin Bush worked a few times against shitty teams. Go back to a 4-2-5 or even a 4-1-6 with an extra corner for coverage and Kheleke Hudson (instead of McCray or Furbush) playing the Peppers backer next to Devin Bush. That is all. 


October 22nd, 2017 at 1:50 AM ^

Are you really blaming this performance on the 3-3-5? Did you watch the game? We started in your preferred 4-2-5 and gave up 14 points in 5 minutes. Then Brown went back to the 3-3-5 and we held them until the last drive of the first half. The problem was not the 3-3 or 4-2 parts. It was the safeties getting abused in the passing game by PSU's slot receivers.


October 22nd, 2017 at 8:44 AM ^

You're right! That was too long, because you clearly didn't read the second part about going zone so the safeties could actually play safety instead of cover corner. Same with McCray.

The four man front just gives Hurst or Gary a one-on-one (what they've mostly lacked through the year as per Brian's UFRs).

The 14 points in 5 minutes is because of that direct snap thing PSU hadn't shown all year. Every team is gonna get something pulling their tricks out against us, but McSorley just chucking it all over the field the whole night based on the man-to-man matchups could have and should have been shut down. 


October 22nd, 2017 at 11:02 AM ^

Doesn't matter if they are throwing jump balls to a 6'6" volleyball playing TE who can jump over his QB's head. When Jimmy is better than Joe, the X and the O don't matter. But congrats on knowing more about defense than Don Brown.


October 22nd, 2017 at 1:23 PM ^

So let me get this straight, any criticism based on descriptions of what actually happened on the field of play on the defensive side of the ball is ipso facto anathema merely because his holiness Don Brown coaches the defense? Got it! 

Look, no one is calling for Don Brown's head. Calm down with the "calm it down" barking. He's the best we've had since '97. But, brah, the dude had McCray on Barkley one-on-one the whole game. It's not controversial to say there were other coverage options in the universe he could've employed (5 across, cover 2 zone). If that's such a heretical thing to say, than these threads ain't be no fun no more. I wonder if Don Brown looks at his own game plans and says, "Gee, what a thing of beauty! I better not critique any of this or explore new ways to attack a spread with my personal. I'm Don Brown damn it!" No, you know he'll go over that tape relentlessly and employ an ever finer approach against OSU. In the meantime, can't we all just have a little fun talking about what could have been done differently in a no-fun game without the tired, "Nothing matters, Jimmy's just better than Joe" platitude? 


October 22nd, 2017 at 8:27 AM ^

Wasn’t the problem at all... Barkley had 108 yards rushing 85 on 2 plays.. The problem was the LBs focused to much on Barkley and over pursued, which left cut back lanes for McSorley ..McCray in particular is horrible ... The few deep passes they completed were thrown into good coverage and luckily completed.. Its not as if we were ever in bad position on the throws..


October 22nd, 2017 at 12:55 PM ^

"You think you're smart but you're just stupid!" Nice! I miss kindergarten too. Anyway, I did watch the game, then I made an argument based on descriptions of said game. Your argument amounts to, "I think I'm more right than you think you're right! Argh!!!", but without any description of the game. Go ahead, though, give me that dose of "reality." I'm all ears.