Michigan State is known for their use of the Cover 4 defense, pretty much all day every day. While they occasionally make forays into other defenses, it is more often the nuanced changes they make within their cover 4 that confuses offenses. Against Notre Dame, the Spartans rolled up their safeties and played them a bit tighter to the #2. We'll look at how this affected Notre Dame, how the Fighting Irish tried to counter this, and how Michigan State was still able to hold down their offense.
Cover 4 - ND's Initial Attack
Previously I have written about MSU's defense, both their front and their favorite coverage. Against Notre Dame, Narduzzi and Dantonio made a nuanced adjustment with how they played their safeties.
One of the constraints offenses run on MSU's defense is the bubble screen to the field side. They attempt to draw the OLB in against the run and bubble outside, putting him in a quandary to defend both inside and out and be responsible for a lot of open space.
To continue reading about how MSU adjusted to take away ND's #2 receivers, as well as how Notre Dame attempted to adjust, follow the link to The Only Colors