Friday, September 19, 2014

Film Review: How Oregon Exploited MSU's Cover 4 Adjustment To a Closed Trips Set

Over at the PAC 12 Website, Rich Neuheisal had a very cool segment with regards to how Oregon found and exploited a flaw in MSU's scheme.

Take a look:


A lot of people will claim "I dunno, that just looked like a pick play to me". It was. But Neuheisel is still correct. The reason why: the gap integrity he's speaking of was the reason for MSU's leverage on that play. MSU's leverage put the CB inside the receiver in a "lock" adjustment, which allowed him to be rubbed off on the wheel by the post. The coverage fully accounted for everything no problem, but the gaps the defense was responsible for left them susceptible.

MSU here has to do better at the CB position to stay tight to their man off the LOS. Reduce the cushion between man to man and force that player closer to the sideline. What that does is help squeeze out that gap they aren't covering, it makes it nearly impossible for the post receiver to pick the CB without picking his man, and it forces the wheel into the sideline.

This is why I claimed a few times that MSU didn't get tempo'd. They lined up correctly according to their adjustments each time. But Oregon was exploiting schematic and technique flaws they saw from MSU. It was adjustments by Oregon that caused the game to drastically switch, much more than it was tempo.

Now, if you're wondering what this means for MSU going forward. This was an adjustment to MSU's base defense. Typically they do not slide the far CB to the other side of the field, except on a few instances, typically obvious passing downs. But against Oregon, they did this every time vs the Closed 3x1 set. It was an adjustment to try to better match speed with speed, and because they feel confident with a safety matched up on a TE and still being able to fill an alley.

The typical or safe adjustment would be to "Box" the bunch set with the field CB, Safety, STAR, and MIKE and run Cover 2 to the boundary (the nob side),but that leaves MSU a little susceptible to the run, something that probably isn't a great idea against Oregon either. So the adjustment is sound in it's philosophy and reasoning. But MSU struggled in post-snap communication, eye discipline, and who to pass off. So, MSU needs to improve their post-snap technique, but they'll also benefit from going back to their base scheme against most future opponents they face.

EDIT:
For those wondering how this defense is supposed to work in coverage.

If you read my football fundamentals Cover 1 it's what I called "Bunch In/Out", this is utilizing the same bunch adjustment.

Essentially, the CB lined up over #2 has #2 wherever he goes. The CB lined up over #1 has first receiver that declares outside (this is why he's playing off and watching through the #3 receiver) or the second inside. The safety has first that declares inside or second outside declared receiver (besides #2, who is locked with the CB).

When the #3 receiver runs his bubble route, he declares himself as the first outside. This then declares the coverage. The CB outside takes bubble, the CB over #2 is locked on his WR, and the safety takes the last guy, the one that is declaring his route inside.

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