Our defensive scheme (again)

Submitted by maizenbluedevil on March 5th, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Ok. I think I'm *finally* starting to get our defensive scheme. I've always understood offensive schemes better than defense, and the fact that our defensive scheme is unusual at that, I've been a little slow catching on.

I think, due to some of Brian's posts (the recruiting post today actually helped solidify things in my mind) I'm starting to get it. Here's the run-down as I see it... Correct me if I'm wrong w/ any of this.

We have:
DE
Nose Tackle (someone big)
Defensive tackle (3-tech... alittle smaller)
Quick DE (AKA deathbacker, aka Craig Roh)
2 inside LBs
OLB ("spinner".... what Furman will likely play)
Box Safety (I think this is actually our Free Safety, which is odd)
Deep Safety
2 CBs.

From what it seems, this offers us flexibility.

On run plays, 8 men in the box.... DL, the 3 LBs, plus box safety.

On pass plays, this offers us flexibility to blitz, *or*, the box safety and "spinner" are also capable of pass coverage, since, one is a safety and the spinner will tend to have more safety-esque athletic ability.

I know that's a pretty simplistic sketch of things, but, am I basically correct?

Is there a name for this scheme we run? (I've heard 4-3 under kicked around) Anywhere I can read up on it?

Comments

Ziff72

March 5th, 2010 at 8:00 PM ^

you got it pretty nailed.

Go to smart football and type in 4-3 under.

Not sure how "unusual" it is.

USC and Florida run/ran it.

OHbornUMfan

March 6th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

Going from a 3 - 3 - 5 to a four man front seems unlikely, since this requires either a double shift (db to lb, lb to dl) or a shift from db to dl I guess this might be the case if the box safety walks up to the line; maybe he bumps the de down to a 3 tech and lines up on the outside shoulder of the T/TE?

I think this shows the strength of an All Converted Safeties defense. The Sword, Steele, and Woodley (and obviously the Spinner) all have the ability to cover zone, run the seam with the TE, or rush off the edge. The Irons anchors the middle against the hook/curl and delivers slobber-knockers to any foolhard individual running a shallow cross. It makes it tough for any non-Peyton qb to decide pre-snap where he's going with the ball based on match-ups, since he doesn't know where the defensive folks will be, and whether they'll be man or zone.

Ziff72

March 5th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

I read that with a base 4-3 under it is easy to shift to a 3-3-5 look. I always thought Strong ran a 3-3-5, but apparently he runs both.

bsb2002

March 5th, 2010 at 8:36 PM ^

charlie strong (florida's former d coord) had a 3-3-5 background, so they had a 3-3-5 package. like most teams, they ran different schemes and alignments for different games and situations

we run some 4-3 under, some other 4-3 alignments, some 3-3-5, some 4-4, some 3-4, we just dont tend to change the personnel much. people focus too much on the idea of a "base" defense, not many teams are like iowa and run the same stuff every down.

colin

March 5th, 2010 at 11:00 PM ^

but this:

"we just dont tend to change the personnel much"

is right on. but it does make me think that we had to be at least somewhat multiple to protect certain matchups. i think ideally a 4-3 under as a system would match personnel packages, but we didn't have anywhere near the depth to do something like that.

RockinLoud

March 5th, 2010 at 11:35 PM ^

After I read Brian's description I was thinking more of a 4-4 and/or 4-2-5 sort of scheme since it seems like the base D will only have one safety - well, two, but one will be lined up as the fourth linebacker in the base formation. But from everything else you said that was pretty much my take.

A_Maize_Zing

March 6th, 2010 at 1:07 AM ^

To understand why the SS is the deep safety imagine that there is a run power and a pass power call.

Your SS (deep safety) goes with the Pass Strength of the formation. Not the run strength.

This is how I always assumed they broke it down.

SO if you have TE right and Trips left, you may want your run strength to the TE but you need your pass strength to the trips...I could be absolutley wrong but I have seen others do something similar to this.

steve sharik

March 6th, 2010 at 1:56 AM ^

...we are NOT a 4-3 under team. Unless I hear differently from Coach Robinson himself (which I plan on doing at the upcoming coaches clinic April 8-10), I consider us to be a multiple team that will match our scheme to the opponents' offensive schemes. We were in a lot of 4-man fronts b/c we play in the Big Ten.

Now, as far as "under" is concerned, "under" means the nose/1-technique is to the strong side. "Over" means the nose/1-technique is to the weak side. We played both, but if you go back and read some of my post-game, defensive analysis diaries, I describe how we were really a field/boundary team. We would call the front to the field or boundary and end up in over or under depending on whether the offense put their strength to field or boundary. Some telling comments by Ryan Van Bergen pretty much confirmed this.

http://mgoblog.com/diaries/defensive-hypothesis-example-indiana

http://mgoblog.com/diaries/defensive-analysis-msu

colin

March 6th, 2010 at 8:02 PM ^

field/boundary exactly? for one, i'm watching the OSU game and it seems like they call strength to the TE side for the most part, unless it's Trips. and it seemed like they were doing that when i watched the Western/ND games. granted that's different than watching every game (especially since you made your claim wrt games i haven't seen). obviously, i'm not a coach, so there's plenty i don't get yet.

also, i just want to throw out some Stevie Brown love. he made plays at backer we hadn't seen since '06. just watched him carry and re-route a vert and then break on the out to his side in the OSU game. it was beautiful.

steve sharik

March 6th, 2010 at 10:16 PM ^

Okay, suppose we call "field." That means that the 3-tech and Quick line up to the wide side of the field, while the nose and end line up to the boundary side of the field.

If, then, the offense lines up their TE to the wide side of the field, we are in "over." If, on the other hand, the offense lines up their TE to the boundary side of the field, we are in "under."

Perhaps a diagram-supported diary is in order?

All in favor say, "aye."

colin

March 7th, 2010 at 1:52 AM ^

i understood how the call works. it was the why that was giving me trouble. and i think i understand the why now.

points i would like to see clarified:

1)why field/boundary instead of to formation strength?

the obvious reason is space/vs lack thereof. based on the split, the front defenders against the pass either have a lot or a little grass. if offenses want to put their athletes in space, then putting your better athletes in the most space makes sense.

2)talent division

the problem then is the talent division. regardless of whether you're in field/boundary or over/under, you're splitting your defenders to one side of the center or the other. GERG chose

MM/BG/OE/SB vs. RVB/CR/JM/MW

am i wrong in seeing an obvious talent disparity? BG and SB were the front's best defenders by far, while both MW and JM end up in the bottom tier. so, generally, the field side will see more strength, either via trips or TEs. that means doing exactly what GERG did.

so...

3) while the Under plays to run strength, Field/Boundary plays to strength, period?

reading Jerry Gordon's book on the Under, it seemed like this was basically his philosophy and that the strength call was dependent on how the coaches saw the matchups, not necessarily to respond to formation the same way every time.

this is why I've continued to call it the Under. GERG may specifically have decided to call strength to Field/Boundary based on his personnel, but the alignments and responsibilities play pretty much right out of what i've read.

steve sharik

March 8th, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

1)why field/boundary instead of to formation strength?

If you have your defense so Mike Martin and Brandon Graham are on one side of the line, you can expect the offense to run away from them. If they are always on the weak side, the offense can run away from them whenever they choose. If they can be either to the field or boundary, and the offense doesn't know ahead of time where, it makes it harder to run away from them. Of course, the QB can audible the play the other way at the line, but we can audible to flip-flop our DL, as well. VanBergen was doing this for awhile until we got burned against Indiana.

2)talent division

the problem then is the talent division. regardless of whether you're in field/boundary or over/under, you're splitting your defenders to one side of the center or the other. GERG chose

MM/BG/OE/SB vs. RVB/CR/JM/MW

am i wrong in seeing an obvious talent disparity?

No, but sometimes you can't spread out the talent b/c of what the responsibilities of each position entail. For example, GERG would probably have preferred to put Martin and Graham on opposite sides of the line, but a) Martin was the only player on the squad who couldn't consistently get moved by double teams and b) BG had to play the end b/c of his amazing skill set; to play him elsewhere would have been dumb.

3) while the Under plays to run strength, Field/Boundary plays to strength, period?

reading Jerry Gordon's book on the Under, it seemed like this was basically his philosophy and that the strength call was dependent on how the coaches saw the matchups, not necessarily to respond to formation the same way every time.

this is why I've continued to call it the Under. GERG may specifically have decided to call strength to Field/Boundary based on his personnel, but the alignments and responsibilities play pretty much right out of what i've read.

I know Gordon has written a book and I haven't, nor have I read his book, but just b/c Jerry Gordon calls the defense the "under" doesn't mean he's correct. Jerry Gordon's book is far from the "bible" on under defense. My point is, just b/c Gordon calls it "under" doesn't mean you should. You should call things what make logical sense to you. And that means you should probably read a lot more books and see a lot more videos on defensive scheme before you define things.

Under is a specific front alignment. A coach may say, "We're an under front team" because that is what they run the majority of the time. Actually, the Under front was the Big Ten's staple defense for almost every team in the conference during the mid to late '90s and into the early 2000's. The Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens played it a lot, too.

As for strength, some coaches call strength to formation, some call it to field/boundary, and some do a combination. A lot of guys will call the front to formation or field strength and the OLBs and secondary will align to passing strength; i.e., which side of the ball has more eligible receivers.

Hope this helped.

colin

March 11th, 2010 at 1:51 AM ^

just relating between two reference points. it's entirely possible that there were some misunderstandings between parties along the way. there isn't a textbook to rely on as an authoritative ruling for this kind of information.

Louisville Wolverine

March 6th, 2010 at 7:56 AM ^

Flexibility seems to me to be the defining principle. RR likes this on offense desiring that individual players can line up at varying locations.
From my best guesses based on what I've read regarding the defensive positions, the D is able to line up in 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5, 3-3-5, and 4-4 without substituting a single player. Simply because of those two positions (Quick DE/LB and Spinner S/LB). Depending on what those two positions are acting like gives the defense great variability and theoretically should confuse the offense/QB.

Magnus

March 7th, 2010 at 8:14 PM ^

I have never been a big fan of Double Eagle defensive alignments. I guess it's like any defense in that you need stud players at certain positions to run it effectively. With a Double Eagle alignment, the most important players are the NT, the MIKE, and the SAM.

If the center can handle the defense's nose tackle, you can run whams all day long. Then to stop the run, you have to walk up the SS, which opens up some plays in the passing game. It works against some teams, but not against a team that has a balanced offense, IMO.

Magnus

March 8th, 2010 at 6:50 AM ^

There is a little bit of flexibility - the DE and DT on either side can shade to different sides of the guards. But you can't play too much, especially with the strongside end, because you could be hanging the MIKE out to dry. He's already got a tough job.