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.

PODCAST: Nebraska vs Wisconsin Preview

I went on Unsportsmanlike Conduct over at 1620 The Zone to discuss Nebraska vs Wisconsin. Also, they gave me a cool new "Interstellar" inspired opening, so I'll take it.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Film Review: Northwestern and Switch 86, Drag and Follow, and Bunch Concepts

Even with an offense that has sputtered lately in Northwestern, there are still some really cool intricacies and chess matches that can be found from game-to-game. In my opinion, most casual fans get caught up with “is it working or not?” Obviously, in the end, that’s ultimately what’s important. But the issue that I believe catches fans is when they try to figure out “Why?” Often, they converge to mostly meaningless catch-phrases such as “predictable”, “not innovative”, “stupid” and the like. The idea being that they see, they actually see with their own two eyes, a team execute a certain thing with ease and they assume “it must be the play design.” That’s because you can see the play design, you can see it develop in front of you and you can kind of understand it and when it works, obviously it works. Compounding matters may be video games, where many casual fans can call their own plays and feel some sort of ability to do what this guy getting paid a bunch of money can do.

But this is all an aside, and something I could delve into with greater depth at another time. The big picture point is really: even with some of the most struggling teams in the country you can find creativity and interesting play designs that function well as a whole. In this piece, we’ll look at how Northwestern utilized “Switch 86” (Or a “Switch Crease” by concept name), the detached Drag and Follow, and Bunch Concepts with a Bench route from #3. On top of that, we’ll look at how the defenses that went up against them countered these moves.