Friday, October 31, 2014

Football Fundamentals: One-Gap 3-4 Defense

As teams begin to get faster, more spread out, and more pass heavy on offense, a way many defenses are counteracting this is by moving to a 3-4 defense. A 3-4 defense sacrifices some of the beef, at least in terms of numbers, at the LOS in favor of an extra LB (relative to a 4-3). However, not all 3-4 defenses are equal. From a high-level POV, there are two standard types of 3-4 defenses: One-Gap and Two-Gap. Both have different strengths and weaknesses and are generally played differently. In this article, we’re going to focus on the One-Gap 3-4 defense, it’s nomenclature, it’s strengths and weaknesses, the fundamentals of the front, and how it generally plays against a variety of offensive sets.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Film Review: Adjusting Routes to Coverage

Originally posted at Bucky's 5th Quarter on Oct 3, 2013

Because Wisconsin has such run game prowess, many of its passing concepts attack the sidelines, away from the box area. In this area, the Badgers will often run "route adjustments" depending on the coverage. These adjustments allow the Wisconsin offense to attack multiple coverages with limited receivers, as other eligible receivers tend to be used to sell the run fake or help out in pass protection. They rely on the quarterback and receiver seeing the same thing, and if they don't, it often leads to bad things. In this post, I'm going to try to piece together where these issues were made and talk about why you have these adjustments within your offense.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Film Review: Nebraska Schemed By Northwestern's Cover 4; Then Schemed Them Back

Northwestern threw a lot of cover 4 at Nebraska in an effort to get bodies down into the run game. One thing that Cover 4 allows is for the LBs to flow a bit more freely and quickly to the initial look, because the safety takes care of backside cutbacks. What we saw in the Nebraska vs Northwestern game was Northwestern initially having success bottling up Nebraska because of this. The safety crashing down from depth allows him to defend either the QB keep or the RB cutting back across the grain. Later on, however, we saw Nebraska adjust some of their play calls to take advantage of this scheme. In this post, we’ll look at just that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

PODCAST: Nebraska vs Northwestern and a Look Ahead

I had the opportunity to go on Unsportsmanlike Conduct again today. Here's a link to the podcast.

LINK

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Coaching Points: Nebraska vs Northwestern, 2014

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Northwestern D: 4-2 Nickel Over Cover 4
Nebraska O: 11 and 10 personnel.

Nebraska D: Mostly Cover 4 and Cover 1, 4-2 Nickel
Northwestern O: 11 and 10 personnel, mostly outside zone

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coaching Points: Wisconsin D vs Northwestern and Illinois

Photo by David Banks/Getty Images
Wisconsin D: 3-4 One gap or 2-4 Nickel; Mostly Cover 1 or Cover 4
Also, check out the PODCAST on the same topic.

Monday, October 20, 2014

PODCAST: A Look at the Wisconsin Defense with Buck Around


I had the opportunity to do a Podcast with Rich over at BuckAround, and we chose to look at an update of Wisconsin's 3-4 One-Gap Defense. So go ahead and listen to Wisconsin and Michigan accent clash as we get in-depth with the Wisconsin defense.

LINK

In the meantime, I should have a coaching points post for the Wisconsin defense touching on much the same topics tomorrow, so be on the look out for that.

Friday, October 17, 2014

META: A Special Thanks to Noon Kick


There is this website that I love. It just so happens that my wife probably hates this website, despite the fact she doesn't know it exists. If you enjoy this blog, you will enjoy this website is well. All of that is because this website features hundreds of complete games throughout the past couple years, and instances where it goes back even further than that.

This website is NOONKICK

It has been a fantastic resource for me, especially as my own DVR fills up with some combination of football games and classic movies off of TMC (and whatever reality show from TLC is on there because my wife). Missed a great game? It'll likely be on Noon Kick within a week. Remember a play and wanted to watch it again? Noon Kick. Just want to watch college football because college football is the best? Noon Kick.

So seriously, check it out, follow him on twitter, watch more football, and in the meantime, don't forget your significant other at least for a few hours a week.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Film Review: Minnesota's Backside LB in Cover 4

Minnesota’s run defense played pretty well against Northwestern. Mostly utilizing Cover 4, they were able to maintain numbers advantage inside the box for most of the game. When they did get gashed though, it was mostly because the backside was slow in pursuit. In Cover 4, the LBs, particularly the backside LB, must flow fast. If he reads the play immediately, he can tend to read “cloudy/clear” and shoot off the butt of a pulling OL or beat a zone blocking OL across his face and blow up the play in the backfield. If he can’t do that, he must scrape over the top quickly to get to the playside.



Football Fundamentals: Flare Control

A great addition to any playbook is a concept known as flare control. Flare control is a RB route intended for the primary purpose of hold and/or manipulating the underneath coverage. It can act as a block on a LB, it can force defensive flow, and it can prevent the underneath coverage from sinking into downfield developing routes. Likewise, “bubble control” can be used in much the same way. Indiana, along with many other teams, use flare control and bubble control as a part of their screen action and double screenpackage.

Flare Control
The most common application of flare control is to hold underneath coverage to prevent them from sinking underneath deeper routes. It helps prevent that defender from bringing pressure, it forces them to respect the underneath threat, and it doesn't allow them to gain depth.

On this play, the RB is no more than third or fourth in the QB’s progression, depending on the QB’s read of the safeties. He is not intended to be a primary receiver, instead, he is supposed to draw the underneath coverage away from the mesh routes and hold the outside leverage defender (in this case, cloud leverage) from sinking underneath the corner route.
This flare route works to control and manipulate the defense in either situation.


This is a concept that is used for a lot of downfield passing attacks. Many teams that utilize outside zone run schemes or run inverted veers or sweeps will utilize flare control in the same way. Here, OSU uses it to run a Sail Concept. Here’s an example of Baylor utilizing flarecontrol in their play action attack off of inverted veer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Coaching Points: PSU vs Michigan, 2014

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
PSU O: Mostly 12 and 11 personnel. Split TEs out a lot. Zone based run scheme.
Michigan D: 4-3 Over with some Under mixed in.

UM O: Mostly 11 personnel.
PSU D: 4-3 Over or Nickel with an Over Front

Coaching Points: Northwestern vs Minnesota, 2014

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Minn O: Mostly 12/21 personnel, zone run, PA pass attack.
NU D: Losts of 4-3 Under

NU O: 11 personnel mostly zone run scheme with some gap/man counters.
Minn D: Mostly Cover 4 with some Cover 1 mixed in.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let's Speak Technique - Defending a Trap or Kick Block

Defensive line is a complicated beast. From a high level view, it looks simply like a bunch of very large men mashing into each other, one group trying to encapsulate a player with a ball, the other trying to open a gap in that other team from which the player with the ball can escape. But as is the case with football, the truth is much more filled with detail and minutia. In this article we’re going to focus specifically on one aspect, that being, how to take on trap and kick blocks with two basic techniques: Wrong Arm technique and Squeeze technique.

Squeeze Technique

Inside the Playbook: Wisconsin's Rushing Attack Bread and Butter

Originally posted at Land-Grant Holy Land on 9/24/13

Over the past, oh, I dunno... Let's just leave it as in the past, Wisconsin has been known for their potent run game. While Alan Ameche, that old Iron Horse, isn't walking through to run his offense any time soon, the Badgers seem to be doing pretty well dating back to the Alvarez era, er, the Alvarez coaching era, er, that first time Alvarez was coaching Wisconsin on the sideline, and, well, this introduction is all over the place. But I *do* have a great Alan Ameche story for those willing to hear, for those who like old timey stories that may or may not be true about really old Wisconsin Heisman Trophy winners. For another time, I suppose.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Football Fundamentals: Twins Passing Concepts


In this post we will look at some of the standard route concepts run from a twins alignment. Obviously, these can be paired with other routes (some I'll show including a RB), but this is to get the fundamental understanding of the routes. I'll try to explain the concept briefly, as well as provide names for what you'll hear the concept called elsewhere at times (these things get lots of names, some people use the same names but have different meanings too, so it can get confusing). If a number is visible near the end of a route, that is the nominal yardage the route will be run to. For more information on specific routes, we took a look at the route tree earlier.

In this article I will not discuss routes that utilize rub concepts close to the LOS (such as a switch concept). I will have a later article dedicated to rub routes from a Twins set. Many of these are similar to the TE-Flanker Concepts discussed earlier.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coaching Points: Nebraska vs MSU, 2014

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
MSU O: Mostly 11 and 12 personnel, mostly zone blocked runs, moved pocket a lot.
Nebraska D: Mix of Cover 1 and Cover 4

Nebraska O: Mostly 11 personnel with a lot of H-back looks.
MSU D: Standard Cover 4 from 4-3 Over with 3-3-5 on passing downs.

Inside the Playbook - 7-Ins Concept

The 7-Ins passing concept pairs two of the most primitive passing concepts and puts them on the same side of the field. The Double-Ins work much the same way as Double-Slants and provide a nice single-high safety beater. The Corner route (7) paired with the outside In route works similar to a Smash concept, and creates a High-Low on near the sideline that works against most 2-high safety defenses. By putting them on the same side, you’ve simplified the amount of field that the QB is forced to read. In this way, you’ve created a delta concept toward the sideline out of two of the most standard, and effective, route concepts in modern football.


Meta: A Lack of Respect


I've been a member of MGoBlog since 2009. I read MGoBlog before that, when it was a part of the blog-o-sphere that my current blog is attached to, because of the detail I saw in his Brian's UFRs. I was enthralled with the passion and dedication, and loved the fact that it broke down each play, nearly player-by-player. What a resource.

[This is full, long-winded drama after this, please don't read on if you don't care; most of you won't care]

Monday, October 6, 2014

Inside the Playbook - MSU Jet Sweep Package

Originally posted at The Only Colors on 12/6/13

The jet sweep has become increasingly popular over the past decade or so, really coming into form when Houston Nutt first introduced his wildcat formation at Arkansas. It's important to distinguish this from an end around and a reverse.

Reverses, End Arounds, and Jet Sweeps are 3 different plays designed to take advantage of different things from a defense. Reverse initially attacks 1 side before reversing fields and takes advantage of horizontal over-pursuit. End-Around has middle action attached & takes advantage of vertical over pursuit (by getting depth and around squeezing EMOL). A jet sweep has no misdirection in and of itself (though it will often be paired with a run call and used in its own right as misdirection) and is simply a sweep with jet motion attached. It is designed to get to the edge before the defense and is often utilized by teams with receivers that have more speed than their power backs.

So Michigan State uses the jet sweep as a way to get outside the defense. This is especially important for teams that specialize in inside runs, particularly plays like Power O which can be squeezed down to take away any run creases. But as DEs squeeze down or LBs attempt to read and react, the easier and more important it becomes for a WR to beat the defense to the corner.



Keys here for an effective jet sweep are that the snap should occur when the motion player is between the tackle and the guard. The QB does a reverse pivot from under center and hands the ball to the WR. As soon as the WR receives the ball, he'll take another bucket step back to gain enough depth to get around the edge and not get grabbed from inside. The WR will threaten hash, numbers, and then sideline to cut upfield. Once upfield, you want him to get outside and run up the alley down the outside of the field.

Coaching Points: OSU vs Maryland, 2014

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images
OSU O: Mostly 11 personnel
Maryland D: Mostly Tight Cover 1 and really deep FS

Maryland O: Lots of 11 personnel
OSU D: Cover 4 on standard downs, 3-3-5 nickel on passing situations

Thursday, October 2, 2014

PODCAST: Nebraska vs Illinois, and Nebraska vs MSU Preview

I had the opportunity to talk some Nebraska football with the great hosts at Unsportsmanlike Conduct over at 1620 The Zone today. Take a listen.

LISTEN
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Inside the Playbook: Pairing the Sail and Cab Concepts

Originally posted at LGHL on 9/5/13

Urban Meyer is one of those coaches that, if you sit in a coverage and don't mix it up, he's going to take shots and he's going to put up points. Buffalo did mix up their coverages a bit on Saturday, but they did it in runs for some odd reason. Starting in Cover 1; getting burned. Move on to Cover 0, get veer read to death. Try to put two deep safeties and mix in Cover 4, yeah, alright,;show it a few times and a TD is going to happen. Well, that's what happened on Saturday. In this post, I want to look specifically at OSU's first TD this season; then, in the next piece, we'll look closer at how Kenny Guiton was able to come in and quickly throw a TD himself when Buffalo switched a two-high look.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Coaching Points: Illinois vs Nebraska, 2014

(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images
Illinois Offense: Lots of 5 wide and 10 personnel. Some 11 personnel as well.
Illinois Defense: Multiple coverage, quite a bit of man, mostly 4-2-5 nickel

Nebraska Offense: Mostly 11 personnel, mixed more 12 personnel near GL.
Nebraska Defense: 4-2-5 nickel and "Dollar" personnel (4 DL and 7 DBs). More Cover 4 than Cover 1.