Friday, September 20, 2013

Film Review: Struggling in Coverage

ED - Sorry this is late this week. Had some trouble actually getting around to the game.

Introduction
Michigan's defense, for the second straight game, struggled to apply pressure on the QB. Seth over at MGoBlog took a look briefly at the front four, so I won't discuss that much here, but there are other reasons that the defensive line failed to generate many statistics. As I've stated several times now, the defense needs to work as a unit in order to be successful. Every person must succeed at their assignment, and if they don't then there will be breakdowns. Then the pressure from the DL won't get home before the QB can get the pass off. The back seven in pass coverage is just as responsible for generating pressure as the front four. In this piece, we are going to look at how Michigan struggled in the secondary against Akron, and what must be done to fix it.

LB Drops
Here, Michigan is in a Tampa 2 defense, where the MIKE will drop into the bubble between the two deep safeties, preferably to take away post and digs across the middle. This is one way to prevent those timing passes that ND gashed Michigan with.
The problem here isn't the initial drop - which gains Bolden good depth - it's his eyes. Typically in zone coverage, you want to be looking through the receiver in your zone to the QB. Obviously, for Bolden, that's not possible. But he still needs to cover his receiver. He instead peaks in the backfield, breaks his route off flat, and the ball goes over the top of him. His drop itself isn't bad; he gets in the position he needs to be. But he fails to find the receiver in his zone to realize he's running a post rather than a dig, and it results in an easy deep completion.

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