OT: A comment by WVU Jr. DE Bruce Irvin (3-3-5 related)

Submitted by markusr2007 on December 9th, 2010 at 12:57 PM

First, WVU landed 4 defensive players on the 1st team All-Big East defensive team.

Second, I found this comment by WVU junior defensive end Bruce Irwin about sacks (he got 12 this last season) rather interesting:

"That's what I needed to do," Irvin said.

"We feed off of hitting the quarterback and getting sacks. We run the 3-3-5 and it's a pressure defense. Every play someone's coming. I just did what I had to do."

12 sacks as a DE running out of the 3-3-5.

Casteel must have ordered a crap load of blitzes this last year.


His Dudeness

December 9th, 2010 at 1:11 PM ^

Offensive linemen are normally large no matter what conference they play in. The 3-3-5 works everywhere it is coached well.

You need big guys in the trenches in every conference. What about this:


90 Chris Neild DL Jr. 2V 6-2/298 Stroudsburg, PA (Stroudsburg)
91 Chris Palmer DL Fr. HS 6-4/290 , ()
91 Jorge Wright DL Fr. HS 6-2/270 , FL (Dr. Krop HS)
92 Larry Ford DE Jr. 2V 6-3/255 Georgetown, SC ( Coffeyville Community College )
93 Scooter Berry DL Jr. 2V 6-1/280 North Babylon, NY (North Babylon HS)
94 Josh Taylor DL So. RS 6-1/263 Miramar, FL (Miramar HS)
96 Citrine Warren DE Sr. 3V 6-3/265 Ft. Meade, MD ()
97 Julian Miller DL So. RS 6-4/248 Columbus, OH (Beechcroft)

Screams "small" to you? Large men are large.


December 9th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

WVU held LSU (6-2 in SEC) without an offensive TD and beat Maryland (5-3 in ACC) handily.  Each team was held under 240 yards.

Its not just the Big East where WVU was successful defensively.  This is decent anecdotal evidence that the the 3-3-5 can work outside of a "weak" conference like the Big East

oriental andrew

December 9th, 2010 at 3:43 PM ^

LSU is pretty offensively challenged this year. 92nd in total offense, 50th in scoring offense (28.75 ppg).  Howeva, LSU did score an offensive TD vs. WVU.  Rushing score by Stevan Ridley.  And have you seen their QB situation?  Jordan Jefferson threw for 1253 yards - fewer than Denard's RUSHING total!  Their passing offense is 107th in the country, at only 155.42 ypg.  Think about how porous Michigan's defense has been.  Apply that to LSU's offense.  

Maryland is similarly challenged, at 85th in total offense and 42nd in scoring (30.67 ppg).  They are not a very good team, but their ACC record is decent becayse they play in the ACC.  Maryland was only held under 240 yards because WVU sacked the QB for 60 total yards.  \

I wouldn't be highlighting these two teams as examples of WVU's solid defensive capabilities.  That'd be like saying Michigan's defense is solid because they held Big East champ UConn to 10 points woo.

Blue in Seattle

December 9th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

WVU has the #1 FEI ranking for Defense, in comparison to Michigan's #1 FEI ranking for Offense.

The coaching change the I'm waiting to hear about is Jeff Casteel promoted to HC of WVU.

To me the 3-3-5 is really the 3-5-3, and in addition to having a large NT than Michigan has traditionally recruited, you need very athletic LB's who range in skill set from DE to SS.

Roh has tried, but he's pretty much begging to give up, and that is why you have to be more consistent with a 4 man front.  Not because the 3-3-5 doesn't work, but because you don't yet have the correct personnel to deploy it.

Will Campbell was hopefully the heir apparent to anchor that scheme.  Now clearly it did not pan out, but the search will continue.  When I look at the present depth chart and two deep rosters, and think about how much mass could be added to those skinny freshman who all started out as some kind of free safety but slowly trickled into strong safety hybrid spots, it just seems kind of interesting and really unknown who will show up on the "5" part of the 3-5-3, or 3-3-5.

Oops, sorry was I speculating about next year too early?  sorry I'll go back to wringing my hands at the fact that no one has been fired.




December 9th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

In the 1980s Michigan ran 3-4 defenses under McCartney and played very well against a growing number of balanced teams (less run-centric).

I agree that the Wisconsin power run approach requires more bodies at the point of attack.

My personal preference is a 5-2 defensive front.

As for Irvin, I'm just surprised that a 3 man front would enable anyone to get 12 sacks like that.  That's a good number of sacks for one player.



December 9th, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

was in not hiring a DC who is as committed to running a 3-3-5 as RR apparently is. If that's what you want to run, fine, but then get the right goddamned people to run it. For whatever reason, RR hasn't done that, and it's bitten him in the ass big time.

Section 1

December 9th, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^

...there is the fact that Rodriguez asked (then begged?) Jeff Casteel to come to Ann Arbor.  From the start.  And Casteel first said yes, then had second thoughts about uprooting his family in Morgantown.

I understand your point, that after Casteel, Shafer and Gerg weren't the only possibilities.  I just happen to think that the first choice that Rodriguez made on his own was probably an excellent one.


December 9th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

I still think the most unfortunate thing to have happened to RR since he took the job was that he couldn't get Casteel here with him. If he had managed to do that in 2008, we wouldn't even know who in the hell that Groban dude is in 2010.

But you hit the nail on the head: his backup choices were not good, especially Robinson. Still shake my head over that one every day.

Clarence Beeks

December 9th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

We run the 3-3-5 and it's a pressure defense.

That's the part that's absolutely missing from the 3-3-5 defense that Michigan runs.  There is very little pressure in our version compared to what WVU runs.


December 9th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

Yeah, I know the common sense approach generally wins out there, but I just think that sending people more than GERG does forces more quick throws and gives our young guys a fighting chance of rallying for the tackle (also not a guarantee by any means,  but I would rather keep them in front of us as opposed to running wild through our backfield).

And Andre Weathers was the other corner.  Ray was a safety.  That's why Jimmy H was a genius.


December 9th, 2010 at 1:37 PM ^

WVU has the second best Rush Defense in the country..  i don't know about anyone else, but ill take that with a 3-3-5, if we can get the proper person running it..


That irvin guy is a freak too.  So fast as a DE, he sheds his blocks almost instantly.


Watching WVU's 3-3-5 is totally different than watching ours, it is damn impressive


December 9th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

if RR gets the right DC here to run it. Thats the biggest mistake he has made during his time here. He needs to bring in a DC that knows how to run this Scheme. Clarence yes your absolutely right we don't pressure at all so other teams just sit back there and pick our inexperienced secondary completely apart. Lets hope if RR is committed to running the 3-3-5 this time he will actually hire someone that knows how to run that defense successfully.


Hardware Sushi

December 9th, 2010 at 3:19 PM ^

Haha some of these crack me up.

This is the area of RR's tenure I find most appropriate for RR haters to criticize...but I'll take a stab. RR's DC hires have fit with the 3-3-5 like:

Gary Busey at a Mensa Festival.

Brett Fahvrah and Joe Namath at a Women in Sports summit

A hamburger in a hot dog bun.

NCAA Enforcement team on the prosecution bench.

My college roommate talking to sub-150 pound ladies.

Auburn AD Jay Jacobs and Cecil Newton working for Deloitte Accounting.

Bo Schembechler at Milan fashion week.

Michael Richards in the Million Man March.

Michael Rosenberg and Drew Sharp at an ethics conference.

Wilt Chamberlain at a monastery.

MSU football player getting punished by Dantonio.

Creed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


December 9th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

I've seen a lot of discussion about the 3-3-5 and the appropriate person needed to run it.  If Mr. Casteel is not interested in coming to UM, who else runs that defense and would be interested in taking the job (provided it's open)?  In other words, what other college teams run the 3-3-5 to good effect?


December 9th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

Casteel ain't coming to Michigan, so why is RR trying to ram in a rarely-implemented, and when implemented, only by experts - type defense?

I don't know any other college coaches who specialize in the 3-3-5 as their base set. 

So why not just hire a competent, take-charge DC that employs multiple, situational defenses and can freaking recruit?

Playing decent defense doesn't have to be so damn complicated. I promise. 


December 9th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

A great question, and it brings me back to the issue that I still think is a very possible sticking point if RR is to come back at all.

At this point, how many DCs who fit your common-sense profile would want to come to Michigan with no control over who their assistants are? I still think that the reason RR hired Robinson—it's the only "logical" one I can come up with—is that Gerg was willing to come in and not rock the boat, personnel-wise. I have the crazy notion that RR is just that loyal to all of his assistants from WVU that he'll be unwilling to fire any single one of them, even it means that all of them get fired along with him.


December 9th, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

I agree with you that see that loyalty issue possibly bringing RR down.

The sad part is that a big part of the problem with Carr post 2001 was that his blind loyalty to coaches that were clearly under performing (Moeller, Debord, Gittleson) caused the program to deteriorate to the point of losing to App St.  

I had assumed that any highly successful coach we hired couldn't have the same loyalty issue blind him to under performance.  I may have to reconsider this assumption...


December 9th, 2010 at 2:26 PM ^

Here is a link to their depth chart, on page 28 of 66.


All the starters are juniors or seniors except for one safety who is a sophomore.

All of the starting front 6 redshirted, so they are all in at least their 4th year in the program.

The line is not especially big: they go 287, 301, 260. The backup nose is 278 and the backup DT 264. The linebackers are average size: 238, 246, 225. The 3 safeties are all fairly big, though: 215, 221, 207.

I guess the takeaway from this is that guys don't necessarily have to be huge if they can mix it up and keep the other team guessing. But it's a lot easier to run a complicated defense with experienced guys.

(Edited to show the page number.)

aMAIZEN slot ninja

December 9th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

The difference i see between Michigans defense and West Virginia defense is that WV players are constantly moving around and are attacking.  Seems like our defense doesnt react to the play and allows the play to come to them. WV's defense was all over the place last week and came away very impressed.

I know we late the depth and experience in this defense. We look lost and they dont. Casteel is a hell of a defensive coach. If we are able to lure him from WVU i believe are defense makes an immediate impact in his first year.

Does that snake-oil work on coaches too?


December 9th, 2010 at 2:42 PM ^

That's the whole idea behind the 3-3 stack.  You are proportionately outnumbered playing with three down lineman, so the basic theory is to send (at least) two backers every play, in a sense, creating a five man front.

NOW do we see the insanity in GERG laying back for the first half of the year?  I mean, I know a reading defense has always been his thing, but a 3-3 is not intended to be a reading defense.  Shouldn't he know that?  Even more, shouldn't Rod TELL him if he doesn't know that?  When we brought people, our DB's actually covered better, but admittedly never covered well.  Firing and pressuring has always been seen as a no no when it came to having an inexperienced backfield, but I would argue the opposite.  

Now of course pressuring requires, you know, pass rushers....


December 9th, 2010 at 10:11 PM ^

i agree with you that when our defense brought pressure our DB's played better.  This is because in high school they play a lot of man coverage.  It is a lot easier to teach man coverage.  Also Kids that are good enough to play D1are generally better than the guy they are lineing up against.  Our DBs proved this with how bad they played zone on the back end, and were killed by O-coordinators that knew how to flood a zone to confuse our inexperienced DBs. 

Another thing i don't like about Greg is him being on the sidelines.  I want a D-coordinator up in the box so he can see how an offense is attacking his D and be able to make adjustments on the fly. 


December 9th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

This is an all caps situation I'm sorry.....WE DO NOT RUN A 3-3-5 DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How many  times do you have to watch a game or hear it stated to get that into your brain?   Tell me the percentage of snaps we ran a 3-3-5 vs Ohio St?  How about MSU or Iowa?  

WVU runs the 3-3-5 almost exclusively.  We do not run that defense.   We don't run it in the rain we do not run it in Spain we do not 3-3-5 with a fox we do not 3-3-5 in the box.

Are defense blows gigantic ass, but it has nothing to do with a 3-3-5.

We use a 3 man line primarily on passing downs and against spread teams, just like I watched Nick Saban do against Auburn and I watched South Carolina run it this weekend  etc etc etc.   Most of the top teams have a 3 man line package.  

As for RR ramming a 3-3-5 down our coordinators throats.  Please show me evidence other than supposed "insiders" talking out of their ass?

RR has said he wants to be multiple many times, much like other top defenses so they could match up with other teams packages because of the diverse offensive schemes you see in the Big Ten and across the country.   It takes more time to learn mulitiple defense than it takes to learn 1, but once learned should be more effective since you can match up better. 

Obviously we are not to that point because we have so many freshmen and we are not overly talented.  I think it was a mistake with this defense because we are so young.  I wish we would have just stuck with a single base defense, but maybe it will pay off in the years ahead.



December 9th, 2010 at 10:22 PM ^

we do run a 3-3-5.  It may not always look like a 3-3-5 because we roll Kovacs and the Gordan's\ Carvin positions up to the LOS. That is the flexability of the 3-3-5.  On one play the D can have up to 8 guys in the box and on the next play you can have 8 guys playing back in coverage without changing the players on the field.  But as we have seen Neither saftey position are very good around the LOS thus making our run defense as bad as our pass defense.