Monday, December 21, 2015

Don Brown: Coaching Primer

Don Brown - Michigan Defensive Coordinator

It was said that Jim Harbaugh wanted to go more towards a 3-4 Defense, and what he got was a guy that runs a similar 4-3/3-4 look that his former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin incorporated (update: he leaned more 3-4 early in his BC tenure, before making the transition to more 4-3 later; he ultimately became almost exclusively 4-3 early at Michigan before mixing it with a 3-3 style defense about 40% of snaps later in his tenure at UM). If that's what he wanted, he got his man. He also got a man that began his coaching in the Ivy league at Dartmouth and even was the head coach (posting a 26-10 record) as the Yale Baseball coach, where he was also the defensive coordinator. Yes, he sounds like a Jim Harbaugh guy.

Since then, he's been the defensive coordinator at Brown, UMass, Maryland, UConn, and Boston College. He's also held head coaching positions at Plymouth State, Northeastern, and UMass. But that's enough of his wikipedia page, let's take a closer look at that sweet, sweet mustache and what he brings to the table football-wise.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inside the Playbook: MSU Play Action Blocking and the Wheel

Michigan State dug deep into their jet sweep package against Michigan, and the result was a wide-open FB near the sideline that would eventually go over 70 yards for a near TD. I want to look a bit closer at this play and why it is so successful.

MSU Jet Sweep Wheel
MSU has a fairly deep jet sweep and jet sweep action package that they deploy weekly as a means to attack the edge with skilled receivers. Recently, they pulled out the FB wheel. If it looked familiar, I diagramed it in October 2014 as a play MSU should add to their jet sweep package. It looks kind of like this, with an important addition that is the purpose of this article.

Monday, November 16, 2015

LINKS: Michigan State vs Ohio State, 2015

A roundup of the BDS links for the Spartans/Buckeyes game. I'll have at least one more MSU post this week as well.

Inside the Playbook: Illinois RPO vs Ohio State "Solo" Adjustment

Illinois didn’t have a lot of success against the Ohio State defense, but they did have a really nice run-pass option (RPO, aka package play) that they went to in order to take advantage of the Buckeye’s base Cover 4 defense.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Minnesota's Use of TEs to Attack the Hole

I’ve talked previously about the advantage of having good H-backs in an offensive system. Minnesota, coming off the Maxx Williams era, has continued to use TEs/H-Backs/FBs in a variety of ways to present match up issues through the use of formations/keys. Against Michigan – a team that primarily plays Cover 1 with a very deep center-field safety – they used the position of the H-Back to attack what is known as the “hole” of the defense. The hole – typically associated with Cover 2 teams – is the void in the defense in front of the safety level (typically directly between the two-high safeties) and behind the LB level. Let’s take a look at how Minnesota attacked this void through the air, and how it was set up with their formations.

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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Coaching Points: Oregon vs MSU, 2015

Raj Mehta USA TODAY Sports
Offense: Lots of personnel groups, but mostly between 11 personnel, 12 personnel, and 21 personnel. More zone blocking than against WMU which worked really well.
Defense: Same old same. More MEG in this game compared to the MOD to the field they did against WMU.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

PODCAST: Breakdown Nebraska/BYU on 1620 the Zone

I got a chance to join Unsportsmanlike Conduct over at 1620 The Zone. Segment 14 on the day, take a listen if you get a chance.


B5Q - Wisconsin football: Evaluating the Badgers' defense vs. Alabama

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
I participated in a Q & A over at Bucky's 5th Quarter recently about what went wrong, and a bit about what went right against Alabama.

Wisconsin's defense has been a top-five squad in terms of total defense since the arrival of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, but the Badgers ran into a very talented Alabama offense on Saturday led by junior running back Derrick Henry in a 35-17 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Following the loss of redshirt senior safety Michael Caputo, a captain and pronounced leader of the Badgers' defense, Wisconsin gave up 502 yards -- including 274 on the ground.

The Badgers mostly applied a base 3-4 scheme, along with 2-4-5 "peso" nickel package of two defensive linemen as pseudo-defensive tackles, four linebackers and five defensive backs in certain situations to counter Alabama's 11 personnel and other looks the Tide used to throw off Wisconsin.

To help us break down the effort and what went right/wrong for the Badgers, I asked the help of B5Q friend and colleague, SpaceCoyoteBDS -- as he is far smarter than I. You can also read his breakdown of the game seen here.

Follow the link to

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Coaching Points: BYU vs Nebraska, 2015

FRANCIS GARDLER/Lincoln Journal Star
Offense: Mostly 11 personnel, mostly gun, but mixed in a bit more under center stuff than last year
Defense: Started heavy with Cover 4 (looked like MOD), switched to more single-high in 2nd half

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Coaching Points: Wisconsin vs Alabama, 2015

Offense: Inside Zone base with Power O mixed in. Lots of 21 and 12 personnel, mix of under center and gun
Defense: One-gap 3-4, mostly Cover 1

Coaching Points: Michigan State vs Western Michigan, 2015

All photos from: Mike Mulholland |
Offense: Mostly man/gap schemes with zone sprinkled in. Still lots of 2-man pass concepts. Multiple personnel/formations.
Defense: Still Cover 4 base, a ton more MOD coverage, particularly to the field. Lots of 5 zone behind 6 man pressure.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Coaching Points: Michigan vs Utah, 2015

Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News
Offense: Almost even split gun and under center. Man blocking mostly. Lots of personnel groupings.
Defense: Single high defense, mostly Cover 1. Ran mostly nickel grouping with over front and 3 down DL.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Breaking Down Michigan's DL Scheme and Personnel

Recently on MGoBlog, Brian wrote a piece previewing the defense as far as his expectations. In the past couple days, he's also discussed the Defensive Line and looked at the recently released Michigan depth chart. A question keeps arising, unknowingly getting answered, and then asked again. It's a common confusion, and an understandable one when looking at nomenclature of football.

AP Photo
In this post, I'm going to look at Michigan's DL and why Henry is playing 5-Tech (nominally, from now on called End) and Wormley is playing 3-Tech (nominally, from now on called Tackle).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Purdue's Weakside Flood and the QB Keep Concept

Purdue is a “concept” team; by this I mean they have a few dozen concepts (give or take) and they build an entire offense off of this. In many ways, this is a very effective way to build a simplified offense that can be executed at a high level; you combine individual concepts and your playbook can grow into the hundreds, but your players only need to learn their few dozen concepts (which includes run concepts). You’ve simplified the game for everyone: OL and QB, and maybe most importantly, for your QBs and WRs. Because what they learn is limited, they can learn it in more detail, meaning they understand the nuances and adjustments that can be made on the fly. The QBs and WRs get more reps running only a handful of plays, and they understand each other’s reads and in-play modifications.

One of the concepts I want to take a closer look at is the Weakside Flood.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Football Fundamentals: The Mesh Concept

The next combination we'll look at - along with its derivatives - is the Mesh Concept. The Mesh concept is an Air Raid staple that is so successful that it's found its way into almost every offense. It includes the threat of the two drag routes in combination with a natural rub in the center of the field. This makes it very difficult to defend in man coverage, as the defender (often a LB) has to cover the width of the field and run with a receiver in space while not only avoiding the natural wash of other defenders, but the "rub" that comes from the receiver running a drag route from the opposite side of the field. Likewise, it's difficult for zone defenses to cover it as well. Once the receivers pass the mesh point, they can sit down in any open void of the defense. This not only essentially overloads an area generally close to the QB (allowing him to make quick, accurate throws, so the windows can be generally smaller), but forces the zone defender to quickly identify the receiver coming from the other side of the field so that he can close that window fast enough so that the QB can't hit the receiver. But crash too hard, and the receiver can run right past and into the next open void underneath.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Football Fundamentals: NCAA Route Combination (Levels)

The focus of most route combinations is attacking one side of the field, mostly toward the outside. That's well and good, but if you don't attack the center of the field with the pass than you've failed to threaten a lot of grass. We've looked at several route combinations now, and that will come in handy now that we are going a little further in depth. TE/Flanker combinationsTwins combinations, and 2x2 and Mirrored combinations all make it easier to define the basic concepts that attack the middle of the field. So let's take a look, first starting with the NCAA route combination.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Let's Speak Technique - DL Pass Rush Moves

In this post, we're going to look at the standard pass rush moves.

1. Bull Rush

The Bull Rush is the first move that any DL should learn. It's equally effective against the run and the pass, and sets up a DL to make a big impact in all parts of the game. Want to make a kid unstoppable? Work on his Bull Rush. It's the foundation and move that every other move is essentially countered off of because it's fast, violent, and dominating.

Also a Speed Bull Rush

2. Stab and Grab

Stab and Grab is the first counter to the Bull Rush. Again, the DL can maintain control throughout the move, so it works well as a pass rush move, but doesn't take the defender out of the play when a run happens.

3. Rip Move

Penetration kills a lot of offensive plays, both in the run and the pass. This is why the Rip Move is probably the second most important rush move for any DL to learn. It's extremely effective for getting defenders off of blocks and able to make plays in the backfield.

4. Swim Move

The Swim Move is a nice alternative to the Rip move once a blocker starts leaning. Again, it's an extremely effective way of getting penetration into the backfield, and allows the defender to maintain his eyes in the backfield. Win your shoulder behind the blockers shoulder and you can no longer be blocked.

5. Hump

The Hump move is great once the OL is set up with the moves above. It maintains a violent nature and forces blockers to work away from their desire to be more finesse in pass situations.

6. Bull Jerk 

The Jerk move helps get off any block, both in the run and the pass. In isolation, it is a bit difficult to shed blockers with; that's because it's the first thing a player would do naturally so it's the one thing the blocker has the most experience against. But when the other moves have been set up, it is devastating, quick, and violent, and allows the defender to get to whatever spot he wants in the backfield.

7. Spin Move

The Spin Move is well known, but it's last for a reason. An effective spin move is nearly impossible to defend. It gets your shoulder behind the blocker's shoulder. It gives very little surface area for the blocker to target while simultaneously having constant movement. But if it isn't well executed, if it's sloppy or slow, it turns the defender's back to the ball, gets the defender upright, and doesn't allow the defender to leverage the offensive player with strength.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Ohio State's 2-Back Offense


In 2013, Ohio State had one of the best run offenses in the nation. Part of their success came from two-back sets, or more accurately, by motioning a slot receiver - their Percy Harvin role - into the backfield. They lost, in my opinion, the best college RB in football last year, but returning the dynamic Braxton Miller and all their Harvinites, two back sets will likely become more prominent in this year's offensive iteration. In this piece, we will look at why these sets are so difficult for defenses to defend, both from a pre-snap standpoint, and after the snap.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Let's Speak Technique: Larry Johnson DL Drills

Larry Johnson Sr. has long been considered not only one of the best recruiters in the B1G and the nation, but one of the premier DL coaches as well. He came up at Penn St beginning in 1996, starting as a DE and Special Teams coach, before slightly changing his role to the coach of the entire DL from 2000-2013. While PSU continues to have a successful DL, they weren't able to retain Johnson on their staff with the hiring of Franklin, and Larry Johnson switched his allegiance to the Buckeyes in 2014. Sometimes the rich get richer. Ohio State had undeniable talent along the DL going into 2014, but their performance to begin the year was below their talent level. But there may not have been a single group in the B1G that improved over the course of the year and into the post-season as much as Johnson's defensive line. In this post, we're going to look at several DL drill that Larry Johnson incorporated at PSU, and how that makes his defensive lines so successful.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Football Fundamentals: Cover 4 Front Seven Leverage

We talked previously about the variety of Cover 4 coverages that allow defenses to mix up their look and reaction to routes while still playing what is essentially the same basic scheme. This time, I’m going to move away a bit from what is done post snap and look at how a defense can be benefitted by pre-snap positioning; that is: leverage and depth. In this way, you can combat some of the offense’s strengths while still maintaining your base scheme. This article will focus on the position of the front 7 and what they can do to benefit the coverage scheme.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Speak Technique: OSU's Chris Ash on Press Coverage

Upon hiring Chris Ash away from Iowa State, OSU switched from primarily a Cover 6 look to a press Cover 4 base. The change was part of a plan to put more pressure on the offense, from the front 7 to the back 4. And there is no bigger push in college football than the implementation of press coverage. All coaches have their tweaks to the technique based on leverage, offensive formation, play call, and player abilities. After the jump, Chris Ash goes into detail from his ISU days about Man Press technique.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Minnesota's Basic Run Game Attack

Originally posted at Maize n Brew on 5/29/2014

Associated Press
Minnesota is one of the most run heavy teams not only in the B1G, but in all of college football. And not only are they just heavy in terms of how much they run the football, but they are the true essence of a team that wants to be a powerful running force. The majority of their runs come between the tackles in the form of inside zone, Power O to the RB, or Power O from the QB. With so much power on the field though, they tend to lack the speed to threaten the edges. Their way of getting the football to the edge then, isn't by subbing in different personnel or by running WR screens, but utilizing in a variety of ways their WRs to run sweeps. Not only has this become prevalent in their offense, but they have used it very well to set up other runs as well. In this article, we will look quickly at the Golden Gophers base run game, and more how they work off of that to set up the rest of their playbook.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Coaching Points: Wisconsin 2015 Spring Game

Base O - 12 or 21 personnel; Inside Zone and Power O base runs.
Base D - One-Gap 3-4; Cover 1 with a SS robber

Also, check out the PODCAST

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

PODCAST: Wisconsin Spring Game Review and 2015 Preview

Comes up when you Google Search "Buck Around"
Had the opportunity to join the guys at Buck Around for another podcast, this time to discuss Wisconsin's 2015 spring game and preview the 2015 season. Always fun to talk football, and discussing it in mid-June with others is always a joy.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

BDS: Breakout B1G Players in 2015

Associated Press
Now that I've watched all the Spring Games that I could DVR, I wanted to go through and give people a look at players that I think could breakout in 2015. In order to determine a "breakout" player, I went through and did a few things:
  1. If you were on an All-B1G Media or Coaches team, I took you out
  2. Honestly, people know Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliot, Darren Lee, those guys are out
  3. There are a few players I don't think get the mention they deserve but are on an All-B1G team, I put them on the ineligible list just to bring them up, but they aren't on my 1st or 2nd team
  4. If you're a former 5-star recruit, people probably know you. Christian Hackenberg, Malik McDowell, Lawrence Thomas, Jabrill Peppers, and all you other 5-stars, you're out.
Alrighty, so that took out a lot of players actually. So how do I determine who is the 1st team and who's 2nd team, and who's honorable mention? I don't really know, this was a poorly formulated exercise. I can tell you it isn't strictly on how I expect them to perform next year. Guys listed before others aren't necessarily going to be better or worse. I don't think it's based on the level of "breakout" for a player either. So it's kind of a highly-subjective mix of both. Oh well. The point is to give people names to watch out for.

Oct 11, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini wide receiver Mike Dudek (18) rushes with the football after catching a pass as Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Leon Jacobs (32) chases from behind during the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium.   Wisconsin won 38-28.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports
Some, like OL, I didn't fill out an entire two-deep. OL is a bit tougher to do quite honestly. Lots of guys could break out in that group, and with OL, things click at different times or people come out of nowhere and there isn't always a ton of rotation, so it's a bit more difficult to judge. There are also a bunch of guys at that position that will be what people already think they are (Donovan Clark, for instance); good players, but I wouldn't label them "breakout".

Hit the jump to check out the teams.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Let's Speak Technique: Form Tackling and Rugby Tackling

A new trend is taking over football in the form of a tackling technique known as "the rugby tackle". Popularized initially by Pete Carroll out in Seattle, it was recently adapted by Ohio State's Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash prior to the Buckeye's 2014 run to the national title.

In this article, I want to discuss the techniques of what I term "form tackling" and "rugby tackling". I am of the opinion that form tackling is a sound, safe, an efficient form of playing defensive football. I also believe rugby tackling to be highly effective. So what is my preference? Between the two, I personally don't have one; my preference is for safe, technically sound tackling that prevents the ball carrier from picking up yards and getting my defense off the field. It is my conviction that the importance lies in the technique and the ability to get your players to buy into that importance. So let's start tackling this subject (that pun had to happen, I apologize).

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Coaching Points: Rutgers 2015 Spring Game

All images from Amanda Marzullo | NJ Advance Media for
Base O - Mostly 21 personnel, off-set I. A bit of 11 personnel from gun. Mix of zone runs with Power O to counter.

Base D - 4-3 Under was the standard, but they played a bit of 3-4 as well is certain situations. Mostly a two-high safety look, lots of Cover 2 and Cover 6; passive defense.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Meta: Happy Birthday

Apparently I missed this blogs birthday. I am not a good father to my blog. Anyway, the blog is now over two years old and has steadily been getting more and more readers, which I really appreciate.

Dog happy for cupcake, unhappy he has to wear a stupid hat
Thank you to all the blogs that have linked me along the way; as well as the radio interviews and podcasts.

A few I'd like to thank personally:

The Champaign Room

The Crimson Quarry
Punt John Punt

Maize n Brew
GBM Wolverine
247 Michigan Board

Michigan State
The Only Colors
Red Cedar Message Board

The Daily Gopher

Corn Nation
Husker Board
Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Nebraska Radio)

Inside NU

Ohio State
Land-Grant Holy Land
Eleven Warriors

Bucky's 5th Quarter
Buck Around

All-Around Football
James Light Blog

As always, if you have requests for things you'd like to see, I'm all ears. If you'd like more content of your team, the easiest way for me to see interest is from linking my stuff. As you can see, there is a gap with some of the teams above that shows I haven't been able to reach the entire B1G as I'd like to do; hopefully this upcoming year can change that.

Now we'll get back to regularly scheduled programming with Coaching Points of Rutgers and Wisconsin coming up, plus some more posts on the Cover 4, etc.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Inside the Playbook: Wham! and The Return of the Trap

I love trap plays; I believe they are one of the best and probably the most under-utilized run scheme in modern football. With more and more emphasis on getting upfield for the pass rush and getting penetration to stop the run game, trap and wham schemes should only become more effective. Yet they continue to go under-utilized. There are several legitimate reasons for this: 1) you’re leaving a first level defender unblocked for some time, which is dangerous as those first level defenders get more and more athletic; 2) simplified defensive rules (i.e. block-down, step-down) have mitigated some of the initial success of the scheme. Still, there are ways around all of this to continue to use of one of my favorite schemes: trap and wham.

Long Trap

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Coaching Points: Penn State 2015 Spring Game

Abby Drey / McClatchy-Tribune
Base O: Mostly 11 and 12 personnel; Zone Run Schemes
Base D: A lot of 4-3 Under with a Loose alignment from the SAM; some Apex; some Over on passing downs

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Football Fundamentals: Cover 4 Defense "Coverage"

At its most basic, Cover 4 plays as a four deep, three under defense; and at its most aggressive, it plays almost identically to a tight Cover 0. To the average fan, Cover 4 may sound like a passive, prevent-type defense, while to the more nuanced fan, it may seem like an aggressive coverage that can bring 9 defenders into the box. The truth is that it is all those things and more. One of the greatest powers of the Cover 4 is its ability to adjust, the intricacies, and tweaks that can be made to the same look to both confuse the offense, and remain fundamentally sound. In this article, we’re going to look at the basic elements of coverage in a Cover 4 defense.

Coaching Points: Minnesota 2015 Spring Game

Brian Ekart
Base Offense: 11 Personnel, mostly gun
Base Defense: 4-3 Over Cover 4 MOD

Friday, May 1, 2015

Inside the Playbook: OSU's Tunnel Screen and Slip Screen Action

I wanted to quickly go over a play design I really liked but didn’t work out due to poor execution in the Ohio State spring game. One thing I think that happens quite often in football is fans complaining about play calling. If the play call works, it was a great play call; if it doesn’t work, it was a bad play call. There is some truth to that in retrospect, but it’s rarely because of the play design or the conceptual idea behind the play. What I want to look at today is the tunnel screen and then the slip screen off the tunnel screen action.

Hit them with:

And once they cheat:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coaching Points: Michigan State 2015 Spring Game

Base Offense: Pretty even between 21 and 11 personnel, with some 12 personnel which I bet you see more of in the season. Lot's of man blocking, lots of run game variety.

Base Defense: Still Cover 4 MEG. 3-3-5 nickel package.

Friday, April 24, 2015

BDS - 2015 B1G NFL Draft Part 5

This is intended to be a look at the B1G players participating in the NFL combine (and a couple others that I think may get drafted). I include combine results, though that is only a small part of the equation for me. I put much more value into what I've seen on film rather than by how well someone has been taught to run the 40 yard dash. I try to give a basic overview of strengths, weaknesses, fit, and where I'd expect them to be drafted based on "norms". What that means is that I'm not really looking at mock drafts, I don't have my ear to the ground for what Mel Kiper is saying about a guy. It's just based on what I've seen on film. This will be five parts long, with teams coming in alphabetical order.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: Why Football Matters

John Harbaugh wrote a piece for the Baltimore Ravens website about why football matters, particularly at the youth and High School level. I think it's well stated and something I very much agree with. The Michigan head football coach, Jim Harbaugh, also agrees with it, and recently posted it to his twitter account. But I thought it was important enough to bring here.


That, in my opinion, tells an important part of the story, but not the whole story. It tells a fundamental aspect of the player and coach perspective of football, particularly for younger players. But football means a lot of important things to a lot of people, even for those whose playing days are done or never began.

One of the things that I have done throughout the past few years is ask people "why is football important to you?" I have my story which has its time and place to tell, about how even the portion when I wasn't playing, profoundly changed and shaped my life. It provided solace when times were hard, it provided structure when structure was absent, it provided an escape when there were few other places I could go. Each fall Saturday I had a bastion that wasn't only a retreat, but a place where I could grow stronger in my character and in the person I became. Football taught me to face adversity and deal with it; each play as a player at every position you either win or you lose and you have to deal with that and the consequences it has on you and on those you care about; each play as a coach gives you the opportunity to internalize that with each of your players and use it as a teaching tool for life; each play as a fan results in joy or sorrow, is won or lost, his costs that feel completely real, but don't need to carry the magnitude that many of the other things in life do. Football prepares you for life like no other sport can.

In my time asking "why is football important to you", I've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people from a lot of walks of life. I've talked to pro football players, from the "stars" to the guys that have hung around the league in special teams roles for a half-dozen years. I've talked to the walk-ons and the under-recruited. I've talked to daughters who bonded with their fathers and entire families through tailgating and going to Spartan Stadium (or whichever stadium) ever Fall Saturday when the home team was in town. And I've talked to dozens of coaches and fathers that prove that football is very important in our society. Think of Chris Spielman, a husband that lost his wife to cancer, and ask him what football means to him, and I promise he'll bring up family and support and an avenue to change lives. How many lives do you think Tom Osborne has impacted because of football. Ask fans of Wisconsin who jump around, if jumping around is merely dancing or if it means something more.

That is why football matters. That is why football is important. "The concussion issue is real and we have to face it," as John Harbaugh said. But we shouldn't turn and run from it. Football is too important to do that. It means too much to too many.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BDS - 2015 B1G NFL Draft Part 4

Joe Hermitt - The Patriot News
This is intended to be a look at the B1G players participating in the NFL combine (and a couple others that I think may get drafted). I include combine results, though that is only a small part of the equation for me. I put much more value into what I've seen on film rather than by how well someone has been taught to run the 40 yard dash. I try to give a basic overview of strengths, weaknesses, fit, and where I'd expect them to be drafted based on "norms". What that means is that I'm not really looking at mock drafts, I don't have my ear to the ground for what Mel Kiper is saying about a guy. It's just based on what I've seen on film. This will be five parts long, with teams coming in alphabetical order.

Part I
Part II
Part III

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Coaching Points: 2015 Nebraska Spring Game

Nati Harnik, Associated Press
Base Offense: 11 personnel, mostly gun, lots of trips sets
Defense: Mostly 4-3 Over w/ Apex LB to slot, looked like Cover 4 base.