If the 3-3-5 is so terrible, why does WVU have a top-10 ranked defense?

Submitted by Communist Football on November 26th, 2010 at 12:07 PM
I get that the Big East is a weak conference, but even accounting for that, the WVU D can't be considered any worse than above-average.

Does this tell us that it is not the scheme buy rather the execution (eg this week's picture pages) and/or the players?

Will be watching the Pitt-WVU game with interest this afternoon.



November 26th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

Perhaps watching today's matchup against Pitt will give some insight into the effectiveness of the 3-3-5 against more "power-running" teams.  I understand that Pitt is not very good, however they do like to run it a lot with dion lewis and ray graham in a power style.  Just a thought if you were really looking to watch the 3-3-5 in action...turn on ABC.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

Their defense isn't comprised of freshmen, sophomores and walk ons.

Their defensive coordinator isn't Gerg

Their head coach pays more attention to defense than offense

And yes, the big east sux ballz, and their 3-3-5 scheme would probably get thrashed in the big ten.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:15 PM ^

Its' coz the 335 is being used in the Big East and being used against powerhouse teams like Louisville and South Florida. The only team in the conference with a decent offense is Cincinnati. Granted WVU beat them, Cinci is no good this year.


November 26th, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

Yes, they are being negged because they are indirectly claiming that Rich Rod's scheme (that he is forcing GERG to run) isn't a good scheme.... and OMG YOU CAN'T BE A REAL FAN IF YOU DON'T SUPPORT RICH RODRIGUEZ!!!

They feel that by ignoring Rich Rod's shortcomings they are better fans; it's truly airtight logic.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:15 PM ^

This is a desparate plea for a coach (not just some random ran who gets tumescent when thinking of road graders and POWER football) to explain why the @#$% a 3-3-5, when staffed with appropriate players, will be lousy against the run.

I still haven't heard a rock-solid argument.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

You can eliminate those bubbles by blitzing a LB or Spur/Bandit on basically every play. Watching Gerg's 3-3-5 this year, other than the obviously insane RPS with the MLB alignment, that has been the biggest problem I've noticed. We are far too prone to dropping 8 into coverage at any and every point. That's a great way to have your D picked apart on the ground and in the air.

SC Wolverine

November 26th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

I agree. When we were being sold the 3-3-5 during spring practices, it was all about the confusion caused by multiple blots packages. The problem is that we have not been blitzing, hence the bubbles and complete inability to defend the run. Perhaps this is due to personnel inabilities, but the whole point was to fit our personnel.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

I think for the 3-3-5 to be successful against B10 downhill rushing attacks, a team would need big, freaky athletic linebackers. We would really have to step recruiting up in this area.

Nosce Te Ipsum

November 26th, 2010 at 12:48 PM ^

You've just stated that the 3-3-5 won't work at Michigan because we would have to get the cream of the crop at LB for that scheme to work properly. I agree and it points to the fact that there is more room for error with it. The diary about the correlation between TAMU and Michigan had some good information. They stated that TAMU switched to a 3-4 to counter the spread teams in the Big12. I wouldn't be against that but I'd like to see a 4-3 so we can make those running lanes smaller.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

but it doesn't seem like we run it correctly. I read an article link from Smart Football this summer, just some high school coach - he went to the 335 for one season and moved back to the 43. He liked the scheme and its potential, but finally decided he didn't have enough knowledge/experience to run it properly. Left a lot of open gaps and had too many blown assignments and confused players.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

There is nothing wrong with the 3-3-5.  We ran it in college and shut down power running teams.  Its a matter of having a defensive coordinator who understands how to run it and talented players to execute the scheme.


November 26th, 2010 at 1:32 PM ^

Which would be super awesome except neither plays a 3-3-5.  Boise State and TCU both run 4-2-5's as their base defense, with Boise State shifting from 4-2-5 to 3-3-5 on occasion.

I would also somewhat disagree that they can compete with the big boys on a regular basis. While TCU is a legitimately good football team, Boise State is a pretender.  Sure, they can get up and beat good teams in a one game situation.  But put them in an actual conference where they have to play actual teams week in and week out?  No way.  In the only two games against BCS conference opponents this year, they've given up and average of 27 points per game.  In their other 8 games?  7.6 points per game. 

Not to mention they've only played 4 teams with a winning record this year, with the highest rated team being Virgina Tech (and only currently ranked team on their schedule actually), a team that lost to James Madison and is currently ranked 13th, that they managed to beat by 3 with an entire offseason to prepare.

To put that in perspective, Michigan has played 7 games against teams with a winning record.   By the end of the season, Michiganwill have played 4 ranked teams with a combined record of 37-7.  Wisconsin (#5), Ohio State (#8), MSU (#11), and Iowa (#24).  Now imagine you only played, say, MSU, and the other three were replace by WAC teams with a losing record.  Yea, I think Michigan would likely finish the season with at least 10 wins and look pretty damn good too.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

i'm sure Casteel has the right guys in the right spots. If they can execute their assignments, there's no reason it can't be successful.

As Spielman pointed out so f-ing often during the Wisconsin game, the stack has the potential to allow too many bubbles of space for linemen to get to the second level against linebackers. Given that our Linebacker play has been largely terrible, the combination of the two makes the stack very questionable against teams that pound downhill and can get their big-bodied linemen to the 2nd level.

Couple all that with a serious talent/experience deficiency, and you can see why we are not successful on D. If we had the talent and experience to execute the stack, we'd be a lot better. I still do think it would be chewed apart by the big teams, but maybe not to the tune of 35+ ppg.

I definitely prefer the idea of 4 down linemen, though.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

The defense is way too inexperience and we lack the personnel. A good point was brought up during the UW game. The comment was that a young inexperienced secondary cover their spots in the route/scheme rather than covering open offensive players. Once they hit their spot, they stop rather than finding a player to cover. You can see that with our players - they lack the instinct and the experience to cover properly. Fortunately, this can be corrected with a new DC who can run the defense his way, experience for our players, and the fact that they practice against one of the most dynamic offense.

I just want a 60-70ish ranked defense. That should keep our opposites below 24 pts and we can easily go 10-2 next year.

contra mundum

November 26th, 2010 at 12:26 PM ^

The only knock against the 3-3-5, is the replacement of an OLB, with a tweener safety who might have difficulty holding up against the run. Also, it's a little harder to adjust to a two tight end set.

Our problem with the 3-3-5 is that our players don't understand it, aren't fundamentally sound within the scheme and lack sufficient depth and in some cases, don't fit the scheme very well.

One of the only problems I have with Rich, is not deciding this is what he wanted, and getting players recruited to the scheme earlier..thus avoiding our depth issues.


November 26th, 2010 at 12:53 PM ^

Right now, on Michigan's roster, that player is Cam Gordon. I think he can hold up just fine against the run.

Second, your second paragraph is chock full of assumptions. I imagine it's difficult for guys who have been in a system for 18 months to play against guys from Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. who have had the same system for 3-4 years at least.

As for your last paragraph, the 3-3-5 has ALWAYS been his preferred scheme. Remember Purdue 2008? As for getting players recruited to the scheme - that's been done for years, the issues of attrition, players leaving, and not qualifying are more the reason for the depth issues, not the 3-3-5.