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September 21, 2010

Patience for the Defense (Part 2)

It's a very big deal to make the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4. As David Pollack said this morning on 790theZone, those problems are compounded by asking kids to do things they've never done technique wise. Like the OLBs standing up instead of playing at the line with their hands down. (Image: Coach Grantham - By Jim Hipple)

The problems are futher compounded by the fact that our players weren't good tacklers the past several years. You don't allow 31.4 points per game in SEC play on accident. It takes a lot of blown tackles and assignments to get you there. Solving that issue isn't going to happen over night.

The other schematic problem we're dealing with exists in the secondary where Lakatos and Grantham are asking our CBs to move from playing mostly soft zone to a more aggressive man to man scheme. This issue is compouned by the switch from "playing the man" to "playing the ball."

In the past, Martinez 's troops were asked to guard the man. The theory being that a ball doesn't catch itself. If you guard the man, the ball can be swatted away at the last minute. It's also in theory easier to teach this technique because finding and tracking the ball in flight isn't easy. Changing to defending the ball means ... again in theory ... that you wouldn't have DBs seemingly lost as to the location of the ball as it's caught over their shoulder for a TD. The problem is the switch to these schemes and techniques are significant events.

They aren't made easier when the DB with the most natural ability (Branden Smith) is on the bench with a concussion.

Should we have played softer zone coverages with Sanders Cummings and Vance Cuff out there? Maybe. Revis Island is a scary and inhospitable locale. It's a rocky place where a WR's seed can find no purchase.

Unfortunately, Bulldog Islands are still excellent vacation spots, and I'm pretty sure the last ARK TD was booked as a Rewards Stay.

Maybe Grantham needs to tone the coverage down in terms of aggressiveness? I can't say, but things look messy because change of this magnitude is messy.

All that said...the disorganization and inconsistent ability to figure out who should be on the field or where to line up is a totally different thing. It bugs the hell out of me. I said yesterday. I'm trying to show more patience.



JasonC said...

Hey Paul,

Welcome back, man. I missed you and Q. I like the insight and balanced take you guys provide. Even though it has been tough to stomach the season, it is good to read the blog again.

Irwin R. Flecther said...

I think these are all excellent observations. It is a difficult switch...and a needed switch.

I think the disappointing part of the game on Saturday on the defensive side of the ball was (1) the coverage gaps...which I think you covered nicely and (2) the complete inability to create pressure on Mallet. I'll be interested to see if Bama can get to him this weekend and will be looking to see if it is just they have superior athletes or if they have a superior scheme or if they understand/execute the scheme better or some combination of the three.

The biggest issue I had with Willie-D was the complete lack of turnovers. That has been missing the last two weeks, too.

I'll be looking specifically at how Bama handles the 3 WR set. Our 'nickel' package has yet to impress.

Blue Gill said...

Bulldog Islands are still excellent vacation spots, and I'm pretty sure the last ARK TD was booked as a Rewards Stay.

That's gold Jerry! GOLD!

Anonymous said...

We were in cover 2 on the final play. Just saying....

Since our lbs are incapable of covering tes grantham thought it to be a good idea to go with a cover 2 look to take away the flat. Mustve forgot mallett was experienced and would find the hole between the corner and the safety....

jferg said...

Imagine how much better we'll be with a DL of Jones, Geathers, Lott. THEN, the LBs will be able to play free and fast like the 3-4 is designed around and its success predicated upon.
Replacing Houston/Gamble's size will be tough...and other than C Wash, our LBs are a bit small for the 3-4. We'll need to recruit a little differently to maximize CTG's plan.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does anyone else notice the DB's are often leaving the huddle looking at each other and gesturing with their arms and shoulders "I don't know what to do...? Who do I line up against...?"


it's not hard for the Gators to have 10 picks so far with a new D coordinator. Just saying....

Scott said...

On Arkansas's last drive the CBs were out of position. If the CBs are not learning the position then it is the coach's responsibility to teach this. Even if they took a time out as Arkansas was marching down field, Grantham should have used the time out to talk with his players. Again, it is the coaches that have to teach what they want.

I am not ready to throw Grantham under the bus, yet. But he has to get a better handle on getting these guys to play their position properly. I know he's trying to get them to unlearn the way they learned from he-who-I-will-not-name. But he needs to get into their heads the way Erk used to and get them to play beyond their capabilities.

Chris S said...

I think the defense is vastly improved. I saw emotion, intensity, and hard hits that I have seen since the '07 season. The blown coverage assignments don't worry me too much--I fully expected that we'd see those early in the season with a new defensive scheme.

You don't change coaches and systems without significant growing pains. While I'm not thrilled with the defense so far, I feel like they're headed in the right direction. I wish I could say the same for the offensive line.

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