UCF Snowflakes: The Defense

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on September 10th, 2016 at 3:32 PM

This thread will be the repository for any thoughts and hot takes on the defense and the defensive playcalling. 



September 10th, 2016 at 3:42 PM ^

It seems pretty clear this defense isn't the world beaters we thought they would be. Obviously there's some guys not playing and it feels like there holding things back scheme wise but that run defense better get there shit together.


September 10th, 2016 at 3:42 PM ^

There's a lot of learning to do. Michigan was relying on young players like Gary who are doing this for the first time, and a lot of the rushing yards came on QB scrambles. It's quite possible that Michigan hasn't yet integrated or chose not to demonstrate a lot of its D schemes.

But it's worth noting that zone read sweeps and QB scrambles, which made up most of the UCF yards, are exactly what JT Barrett and OSU can exploit. It needs to be fixed. 


September 10th, 2016 at 4:32 PM ^

My second look suggested:

1. Michigan was short on numbers in that direction. A lot of space to cover.

2. McCray might have been held a bit, but he also did not get outside of his blocker to demonstrate it. As the force guy I think he should've attacked the outside shoulder and made it obvious--but I could be wrong.

3. Thomas absolutely took a bad angle, as you said.



September 11th, 2016 at 2:58 AM ^

I'm worried that this is a fundamental problem Michigan's defense is going to have with spread-to-run -- with no deep safety and extreme upfield aggression, when a player can get the edge, he can run a long way.

Brown is gambling that the player won't usually be able to get the edge.  He got the edge in large part due to the hold.  It seemed more than 'a bit' to me -- generally, holds that affect the play get called, especially if they're outside the pads.  The UCF player got his arm around McCray, and I was surprised (and livid) that it didn't get called.  Then again, holding wasn't called at all, against either team, all day.  So at least they were consistent?

I do agree that the player being held should try to fight through the hold, both to increase the chance of getting the call and also to increase the chance of getting free. :-)  But when the offense has the defense spread out, the block/hold doesn't need to be very long to be effective; it just needs to be well-timed.

In general, I think the reason that people are freaking out is that we have a collective stress reaction to the failure to stop a spread-to-run team.  We've seen this story before, and it's not pretty.


September 10th, 2016 at 3:49 PM ^

While the defense was good, we didn't look like the world breakers on that side of the ball that we did against Hawaii. Gave up too many chunk yards on the ground. 87 yd TD runs should not be happening nor should a subpar QB be shredding us for 30+ yds on the ground.


September 10th, 2016 at 3:53 PM ^

210 yds from 5 plays on the ground. We have issues when the backs break through to the 2nd level. No one is there becasue we've blitzed and the DB's are 20 yds downfield. That to me is a schematic problem.

steve sharik

September 11th, 2016 at 8:09 AM ^

It's an RPS and technique problem.

Every defense has a weakness, and man coverage has QB scrambles as one. So when these long QB runs happen, that's two issues: 

1. We didn't get home, they picked everyone up, QB made a play, tip your cap.

2. The DL needs to understand that when we bring these pressures, rush lane integrity is more important than "ME GET KORTORBAAK."  Brown coaches this really well, but at this point of the season--especially with a lot of rookies in there--it's not down pat yet.


September 10th, 2016 at 3:54 PM ^

Agree with everyone above, those long QB runs if it was Barrett those are 3 more TDs to add to others. Someone has to stay home and watch the QB in spreads.


September 10th, 2016 at 4:17 PM ^

Totally agree, although if that was it, then in this scenario we'd be beating OSU by a score of 51-35. I can handle that. In all seriousness, we do need work on both our run offense and run defense, but I'm not hitting the panic button at this point. I also don't know how much of this is vanilla scheme to keep future opponents guessing and also just that we are still in the early installation phase of Brown's defense. If we truly struggle against Colorado or Penn State then my blood pressure will definitely spike. Until then I'm assuming competence unless proven otherwise against a good team.

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September 10th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

I think we all saw the same thing. Overall: pretty solid, but many big plays given up for no reason. Liked Gary's aggression. Peppers is amazing as usual. Secondary looked solid all game. Just poor contain and gap integrity led to some big plays by the QBs and the TD by the RB.

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September 10th, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

Conversely, that hit Peppers laid on Patti was absolutely NASTY!! We need a LOT more of that!

We're also forcing turnovers. Something we were NOT doing last season.


Aaaah...the beauty of a high risk-high reward defense.


September 10th, 2016 at 5:54 PM ^

This is the first year for this defense (two games).  I don't understand how you can argue that it's "been around too long" to be a high-risk-high-reward defense.

Brown's defenses have always increased the risks to get the rewards.  He cannot eliminate the chances of the big play without eliminating the aggressive mindset that makes his defense run.

The players just have to get used to executing these aggressive strategies and not letting themselves get taken out of plays when gambles fail.

Blue Ballin'

September 10th, 2016 at 4:00 PM ^

Wasn't expecting us to give up over 250 yards rushing...supposedly our strength. Don Brown will be coaching his ass off this week. Pass D was good and special teams play was also good, as was the team's effort level. Knew UCF would be a step up from Hawaii, but not sure what to take from this game. Next week might tell us more.  


September 10th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

Not to be overlooked is that fact that both Bryan Mone and Taco are out. Not only hurts depth but the talent level of the DL. All in all I'd rather they be exposed by teams like UCF early on so they can fix it rather than just get gashed again by OSU. 


September 10th, 2016 at 4:31 PM ^

Is the type of offense that has given Michigan fits for years. I'd rather see them get the kinks figured out now against UCF than against OSU. they will get better with time.