Friday, October 16, 2015

LINKS: Michigan State vs Michigan, 2015

A roundup of the BDS links for the Michigan/MSU game.

PODCAST: Wisconsin vs Nebraska with Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Recently, I featured on Unsportsmanlike Conduct to discuss Nebraska against Wisconsin and what to expect going forward

Warning, I believe it's autoplay after hitting the jump.

Film Review: How MSU Defends Power O

Michigan’s base run play is Power O. Over the past half decade, MSU has specialized in shutting down pro-style rushing attacks, and with that comes shutting down the Power O run play. It got to the point that Stanford, during the 2014 Rose Bowl, rarely even tried to execute their most standard play. In this post, we want to investigate what makes so effective against the Power O run.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Football Fundamentals: Pin and Pull Scheme

The zone stretch scheme (outside zone or wide zone) has long been a favorite was for zone-based offenses to get to the outside, or at least stress the defense horizontally. Teams like Iowa have long used it as their base run play from a single back, pro-style set (often 12 personnel), while teams like Northwestern have often used it to threated defenses from a spread formation. Many other squads, including Maryland, Indiana, Penn State, OSU, Michigan, and MSU have recently had this play in their dossier. But when it is known to be the base of your rushing attack, it has fairly obvious keys that allow defenses to attack it and shut it down, either through formation or through how they attack post-snap, so at times it helps to have variants of the same play. That is where the pin and pull concept comes into play. The pin and pull concept is essentially a gap/man tag for the OL to switch to in order to attack with what is essentially the stretch scheme. Let’s take a look.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Michigan's Use of Multiple FBs and Additional Gaps

Previously, I talked about gap discipline, and focused a portion of the article on pulling OL and inserting a FB into the mix. These things present a difficulty for the defense, as they need to adjust on the fly to ever-shifting gap responsibilities. Pulling OL add gaps to the point of attack and FBs can be inserted to add gaps at any location along the LOS; and the defense must adjust post-snap to these new gaps. Jim Harbaugh loves to use this to his advantage. Adding gaps to the POA forces the defense to think and hesitate, and when they do that, his Power-based offense can start churning out yards. Furthermore, with more and more teams going to spread formations and a zone based rushing attack (though this is starting to revert again to tighter formations and man/gap schemes again, as all things are cyclical in football), defenders are less comfortable with how to execute soundly (as Spielman has said multiple times the last few weeks).

The downside of doing this is that it gives the defense "keys", particularly for the LBs, who are often taught to read through the OG to the FB. A pulling OL typically leads you to the play, a FB often leads you to the play as well. Of course, utilizing both Power O and split zone helps Michigan break one of those reads, but if you want more blockers at the point of attack and don't want to tip your hand by pulling OL, what can you do? More backs is the answer. Let's take a look.

Football Fundamentals: Defensive Gap Discipline vs Formations, Pulling OL, and FBs

For a defense to be successful, they need to have "gap discipline". Being "gap sound" means having a defender in place to stop the offense on both sides of every blocker. By having a defender responsible for stuffing the play in each gap, the defense forms a wall at the LOS, and the offense has no way to be successful. It's the offense's goal to force the defense to lose gap discipline or be unable to cover the gap (by creating space). Each gap is an option for the ball carrier, and each open gap is potential for the offense to spring a play. In this post, we'll look at how gaps form against a few formations, and how lead blockers and pulling blockers change the numbers at the point of attack.