Wednesday, November 26, 2014

B1G Finalists for Post Season Awards

While the B1G as a whole continues to have a bit of a down perception, there is no denying that there is still a good deal of individual talent scattered throughout the league. As finalists lists for a variety of awards continue to trickle out, below, I post the B1G players up for the award, and some brief thoughts on the player.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Football Fundamentals: Switch Route Combinations

If you've been reading me for a while, you've noted that I'm a big fan of switch concepts. I like them for quite a few reasons:

  • They force the defense to define their coverage
  • They force the defense to define their leverage
  • They help attack defenses from a variety of positions/places
  • They can naturally alter the timing of pass plays (thus effecting the coverage defenders reactions to routes) 
  • They can naturally alter the depth of route concepts (this maintains the route timing but moves it shorter)
  • They can change the coverage's technique by altering the reception area and providing a moving target laterally and vertically to hinder the defender's "position maintenance"
  • They naturally "rub" defenders in man coverage
  • They tend to force pre- and post-snap communication and consistent eye discipline
  • They force defenders to move within their zones to effectively play coverage in a zone scheme
  • They can make it more difficult to jam receivers at the LOS
  • Combined with non-switch-concepts, they make it extremely difficult to defend all the threats
  • They provide a natural transition into WR screens and double moves
  • Etc
And I seriously mean etc. There are tons of benefits from utilizing switch concepts as a part of your offense. That doesn't mean you should only run switch concepts, perhaps the greatest benefit of them is because they are paired with your standard releases, but the addition of them makes life so much more difficult for the defense. And they aren't only incorporated into twin sets (as seen below); they can be run with a flanker/TE combination, a Wing/TE combination, a stack set, or even bunch sets with three or more receivers. When you add up the benefits and the minimal amount of work it takes to add to your offense (choose how you'll teach the adjustments to the routes to incorporate the switch, either the timing or the depth, and maintain some consistency with your standard releases) it's no wonder that so many teams utilize this in modern football.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Film Review: Nebraska Attacking the Wisconsin Backside and the Badgers Adjustment

Throughout the first quarter, the primary coverage for Wisconsin was a Cover 4. This, in theory, is a very good run defense, as it puts quasi-9 in the box. However, it also forces safeties to be aggressive downhill players and tackle while firing down. Against a RB like Abdullah, and the way Nebraska was running the ball, this isn’t necessarily an easy proposition for a DB. In this article, we’re going to look at how Nebraska started off attacking with read option with an arch block and attacking with the zone stretch scheme. Then, we’ll look at how Wisconsin adjusted, both their coverage and how they played their front, and eventually stopped the Cornhuskers potent run offense.

Zone Stretch vs Cover 4
This may be Cover 3 or even Cover 1 (seeing the CB leverage makes me not believe it’s Cover 1) that Wisconsin is inverting late, but I believe this is a Cover 4 with the front side safety crashing down.

Here we are immediately after the snap, where it is immediately clear that Nebraska is running Outside Zone and the safety starts crashing down. This will lead to the safety toward the bottom of the screen to rotate off the screen as he looks to cover for the TE leaking past the crashing safety.

But a few things quickly become obvious as far as issues for the Wisconsin front. First, look above and try to identify the DT of the 2-4 front for Wisconsin. Then note the backside OLB and how much ground he is forced to cover. Also note how there are two Cornhusker OL releasing cleaning downfield without any impediment. You also see that backside DT win playside and get penetration and almost blow up this play, but not get home. You also see the safety get to LB level.

Now, here we are at the point of the attempted tackle from the safety. In theory here, you’re getting exactly what you want at the point of attack from the Cover 4: the safety is an extra man in the box that the offense can’t account for in their zone scheme. But it’s difficult to tackle a really good RB in space (especially when your head is down and you essentially leave your feet). And in case you can’t see it, I circled the backside ILB and where he is now.

This leads to a seven yard gain for Nebraska, but with what they are seeing, it will become clear why they made the adjustment to the run game they did.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Coaching Points: Nebraska vs Wisconsin, 2014

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Wisconsin O: 12 and 11 personnel; a little bit more 21 personnel in this game than usual
Nebraska D: 4-3 Under mostly

Wisconsin D: One-Gap 3-4, mostly Cover 1 with Cover 4 mixed in
Nebraska O: 11 and 12 personnel

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Film Review - 2014 Wisconsin Blitz Package Part I

In this post I just want to diagram every sack up to the Illinois game (post-Illinois will be covered in Part II). Unfortunately, I don't have Western Illinois film, so two sacks will be missing, so you'll have to live with 11 diagrams. I'm going to keep the descriptions of how these work mostly non-existent for the sake of brevity, outside of a brief primer. I embed video where I can and link to a clip where I can't.