Showing posts from September, 2013

Inside the Playbook: Meshing the Zone Run with Simplified Pass Concept

This is a link to a preview that I did over the summer. After several teams ran quite a bit of the mesh concept to start the year, I figured it was a good time to link it here. *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     * Preview: Running the Mesh Concept In short, the first inside receiver has an aiming point just in front of the MIKE's drop. He must cross in front of the MIKE so that the MIKE is not in a position to defend him and is also unable to reroute the underneath crossing route. The second crossing receiver will aim for the short side shoulder of the other crossing receiver, making sure he doesn't get rerouted by a LB. The receivers will then continue across the formation working to gain distance horizontally, stretching the LBs, and looking for voids in zones for the QB to see. It's typically an easy read because... There will also usually be a flat receiver to stretch the defense horizontally. 92 Mesh Concept The outside receivers will ess

Inside the Playbook: Wisconsin's Heavy Use of Play Action (BDS Exclusive)

Introduction Part of what makes Wisconsin’s offense so difficult to stop is the pass off the run action. In last Saturday’s game against Purdue, Wisconsin showed one of their two favorite three man routes out of their wing formation (single back, two TE to the same formation, two WR to the other side), which is their favorite formation to run their outside zone stretch running scheme. We’ll look at how Wisconsin will use run action, and the same initial route look to attack both sides of the defense, to the playside and away from the play action. Coverages Wisconsin Should Expect Out of the wing formation, you can expect to see anything but cover 3 (at least during normal down and distances). That’s because of the inherent weaknesses of a cover 3, namely: run support suffers because you are three deep across the back and your force defenders must also cover the flat; and its greatest weakness in coverage is the underneath seam, which is easily exploited by the two TE side. So wha

Film Review: How MSU Adjusted Their Cover 4 to Shut Down Notre Dame

Introduction 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 fo

Inside the Playbook - Wisconsin's Use of Two RBs in a Single Formation

Wisconsin has found a creative way to get both running backs – Melvin Gordon III and James White – on the field at the same time. Being two of the better RBs in the country, having only one of them on the field fails to maximize a lot of what the offense can bring to the table. Against Purdue, Wisconsin ran jet sweep motion with an inside zone look from the RB several times to threaten the outside and the interior with their two RBs. They also did a few other things. In this article we are going to look at what this play concept brings to the table, along with two important plays that Wisconsin has run off of it already, and one play you can expect them to run against OSU if they start getting behind the chains and the Buckeyes start pinning their ears back. Inside Zone I'm drawing up this in a ace double wing, but these plays were also run out of your standard ace formation and a balanced solo formation. We'll get to those later. But the inside zone and the end around can b

Film Review: Looking at Gardner's Struggles in the Pass Game

Introduction Michigan showed some recurring issues on offense against UConn, and none crept up more obviously than Gardner's lingering problems with throwing the ball accurately. My presumption has been that he is mentally affected, and this has caused him to struggle with his timing and his mechanics. Since the last quarter against ND, he has looked markedly differently. He is staying on reads longer, he is aiming his passes, and he is really trying to fit the ball into areas even when he has other receivers open. In this article, we will narrow the look to UConn, and see what it will take to get DG back on track. Play 1 This play is going to be Gardner's first INT against UConn. Michigan is going to put two receivers on each side of the formation and run a simple mesh concept. I discussed the mesh concept a bit in my  preview of PSU . Gallon, correctly reading zone, sits between two zone defenders. Gardner comes of his first read, which appears to be Funchess, and comes d

Inside the Playbook - Wisconsin's Run Game

This is all going to get quite confusing here. But in this piece and another future piece, I will preview Wisconsin for the blog Land-Grant Holy Land , an Ohio State Website. Yup, that's happening. Introduction Over the past, oh, I dunno, let's just leave it at over 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 Alverez era, er, the Alverez coaching era, er, that first time Alverez was coaching Wisconsin on the sideline and, well, this introduction is all over the place. And I 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. Bread and Butter I don't want to get too in depth about how these plays work, and instead spend time how they work off each other. In several places, I

Coaching Points: Week 4 Round-Up

Michigan LINK Michigan State LINK Minnesota Against a formation with three receivers on one side, you almost want your cover 3 to become cover 6. FS should slide 3 receiver side otherwise the deep third CB will be left in a bind, and that's what happened on SJSU's long TD pass. FS didn't help in seam. I guess that's why Minn is running mostly cover 1 press man. Played cover 3 and got beat between two zones, neither defender covered a man. The biggest area I'm disappointed with Minn is their DL. Thought they would be better there, but getting leveraged fairly easily. Power O by Minnesota. Extra blocker with QB run. Good push by Minnesota; SJSU not doing a good job with leverage at point of attack. Minnesota blockers do a really good job so far of getting squaty at the legs and driving the DL. TD that came from the slot WR. If you're pressing inside the hash (receiver lined up on hash, but you have inside help and man outside, so no outside help,

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 betw

Week 3: Coaching Points Round-Up

Only got to watch a few games again last week. I'll post my thoughts. Michigan LINK Purdue Purdue looked like a better unit on offense, more rhythm in the pass game. Ran lots of crosses and routes from the backfield to take advantage of ND's struggle in underneath coverage. QB stares down receivers too long. Needs to do a better job of controlling defense with his eyes. DL may be one of the best in the B1G. Got pushed a few times against ND, but for the most part were disruptive. LBs sent on a lot more blitzes. They struggle in coverage and struggle reading and reacting. This takes a lot of that out of their hands and just lets them play ball. Wisconsin Can be exploited a bit on the edges of their defense. Wisconsin's QB has been inconsistent on the move. His mechanics get much less consistent from there. Wisconsin really attacking with corner routes. A lot of smash type concepts and taking advantage of the cover 2 look from ASU. 3 man front has done

B1G Blog Round-Up: 9/14/13

In these somewhat weekly round-ups I'll try to link all the technique/schematic articles from around the B1G. If you have others that you've seen over the course of the week, feel free to tweet, leave a comment, or e-mail me. I'd like this to be a single place to find all these sorts of things. Thanks! FWIW: In the future I won't list teams I didn't find anything for, just listing this time so you know I'm checking all the teams plus future B1G and for whatever reason ND to an extent. Indiana I know Indiana isn't much of a football school, but with their offense and their Head Coach - and their lack of defense - it's a shame they don't have much in depth discussion on it. Illinois Illinois will hopefully get a look this week. Think lots of people are interested in what's happening there. Iowa BHGP uses vine to look at both sides of the ball. I don't like using Vine here (I prefer youtube), but you get some things from it. OFFENS

Escaping the Pocket and Scrambling

cbssports Introduction The scramble, or as Borges calls it, the third play has been a huge asset at times to Michigan this year, as well as a liability at other times. In this article, we are going to discuss some scramble rules. This includes how to the QB can utilize different escape moves, how the QB will throw on the run, and how the WRs react to QB movement. Escaping the Pocket First, let’s get a basic thing out of the way as far as pocket movement. This is not an escape move, but climbing in the pocket does a few things: it helps a pocket naturally form around the QB; it makes the QB into a non-stationary target; and it helps guide the QB’s eyes and timing. Some will call this “hitch stepping”, I prefer to call it “climbing the ladder” or “climbing in the pocket”. In my opinion, the hitch step is the weight transfer at the end of the drop in which your weight goes from your front foot and you hitch both feet forward to transfer the weight onto your back foot to prep

Inside the Playbook: Y-Stick, Z-Snag, and Things That Look Like it But Aren't (A BDS exclusive)

Introduction Michigan ran a two plays last Saturday against Notre Dame that where the same exact concept. Intended to take advantage or the Irish getting lost in zone or getting rubbed in man, these two plays are the Y-Stick concept and the Z-Snag concept. Both are essentially the same play but with different receivers running extremely similar routes to similar parts of the field. Michigan would run it once early to see what Notre Dame was giving them. They’d run it a second time but get presented with a different look. They’d run it a third time for a huge pick up as they saw what they originally saw early in the game. Then they’d run it a fourth time, or, they’d present it a fourth time, but then run something very different for an easy TD. Y-Stick Pass Concept The Y-Stick Pass concept is relatively new as far as concepts go, but also fairly common. A staple within most West Coast Offenses and Air Raid Offenses, it provides the QB with simple reads and can attack both man and zo

Film Review: Michigan's DTs Struggle Against Doubles

Introduction After Brian at MGoBlog apparently hacked into my computer and stole the idea for my article , unfortunately, you will now need to purchase the Maize n Brew decoder ring to read future posts. If you think I'm just joking... Be sure to drink your Ovaltine . Yes, I'm going to make some money off of this if I'm doing it. We'll call it the Stephen M. Ross Maize n Brew Decoder Ring presented by Stephen M. Ross and "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't" Almond Joy and Mounds. This is the future. Anyway, today we are going to look at why Michigan had trouble against the Notre Dame's inside run plays. Much of the time, Michigan was in nickel personnel with two 3 techs with an over front. Let's take a closer look. Play One: Notre Dame runs Power O without a FB. Essentially, the playside TE will block the DE instead of a FB. The backside OG is still pulling up through the hole and out onto the LB. Michigan, in an over

Inside the Playbook: Nebraska and Running Triple Option off the Inverted Veer Look

Introduction Over the past few years, Nebraska has done some creative things with the spread option run game. The veer play, once a staple of many triple option offenses as Nebraska fans know, has made its way into spread football via the "inverted veer". Once teams started figuring out the straight veer play, teams started incorporating a veer triple option, which one of the ways Cornhusker teams of the ‘90s moved the ball at will on over-matched opponents. It is no different in the spread system. In the past few years, I've seen Nebraska do two different things to counter the inverted veer version of the scrape exchange defense. In this article, I will highlight those two plays. Veer First, let's start with the basics of the veer read. I'm assuming I don't need to spend a large amount of time explaining the system to this fan base, so I'll only touch on the basics. From under center, the QB will step laterally at a 4 O'clock position. His eyes

Week 2: Coaching Points Recap

Wasn't able to watch much football last week, only the Michigan game. So only they get a recap today. Sorry if you're looking for more. Will try better next week. Click the link for the recap. LINK

What Must Be Done for Michigan to Run on Notre Dame

On 247 I have a post up explaining how Michigan needs run game variety to find success on the ground against ND. Introduction   Notre Dame runs a 2-gap 3-4 defense with three very large men anchoring the defensive line at the point of attack. Because of that, combined with their fast flowing LBs, they formed one of the best run defenses in the country last year and will likely be similar this year. Michigan, now looking primarily like a zone running team, will need to find success with a run game variety if they want to move the ball on the ground under the lights. In this post, we will discuss how Michigan will mix up the zone stretch with the lead counter and why that will be essential to rack up rushing yards. Uploaded with Follow the link for more. LINK

Inside the Playbook: OSU's Corner-Post Route

Originally I had thought Buffalo played this with Cover 6, which is essentially Cover 4 to the top of the screen (twins side) and Cover 2 on the bottom. But it's difficult to say. This could be Cover 3, it could Cover 0 with two drops underneath. Regardless, this is a play that was designed to attack both 2-high safeties and single high defenses, and at this point it seemed that Buffalo had begun running more 2-high looks to prevent the big plays. But a play shouldn't just work against a single kind of defense, and I'll try to explain why it worked so simply here as against this defense as well. What's interesting about this play is that it isn't originally a spread concept. I actually stems from many other offenses. In the West Coast Offense it's a scissor concept. You'll see it in run and shoot and other offenses as well. So both of these pass concepts are borrowed, but with the run threat provided by the spread, it becomes easier to read and predict the d

Film Review: Pass Protection Breakdown on Gardner's 2nd INT

Over at Maize n Brew we detail what happened and why on Devin Gardner's 2nd INT against CMU. Good for examining pass protection with the use of TEs and H-Backs. LINK

Inside the Playbook - OSU Attacks Defenses Deep Part 1: Post-Fly-Drag Concept

Over at Land-Grant Holy Land, I've written a piece detailing how OSU's offense will attack single high coverage. Many teams feel forced to play single high defenses because of OSU's run game, if opposing defenses can't get pressure, the post-fly-drag concept floods a deep area of the field, making it nearly impossible to stop regardless of coverage. It also affords easier reads for Braxton Miller. This play will also be run by many other teams and relates to more than just Ohio State. So even if you aren't a Buckeyes fan, it is worth checking out. LINK

Film Review: Gardner's First INT against CMU

In this post we look at the reasons for Devin Gardner's first INT against CMU. Here, it comes down to the his eyes on the play, and how it takes the NB to the ball. LINK

Coaching Points: B1G Roundup

Image Michigan Link Here Michigan State Link Here Nebraska OTs doing a good job keeping very clean pocket. WRs need to help T-Mart out on that scramble. Work needed on scramble drill TE should flatten out that route to give T-Mart easier pass and an easier catch for himself. Post snap route adjustments need to be improved; defender in the seam, you square in your seam route to put yourself in open grass DBs aggressive. Earned black shirts. Like how physical they play. May have to play more zone to involve in run support. UNL DTs still problem in this D. DBs doing job. Can't be successful with poor DT play. Pushed into LBs on run. No push on pass Starting to run more BCB blitz, used slant line to try to stop run, fill gaps, and get some pressure. QB can step into pocket because no interior push. DTs need to be more aggressive at snap. Passively 2-gapping is getting them pushed. TE didn't seal well on a play, but continued to drive defender and didn't