Tom Dienhart has posted a good overview article on the rise of the 3-4 defense in the college ranks, with several quotes from Todd Grantham. But there are a couple of quotes from other coaches that are interesting and worth sharing.
Here’s one reason Brian Kelly made the switch at both his old school and his new one:
… Kelly dumped the 4-3 for a 3-4 last season at Cincinnati, and he brought the scheme with him to South Bend. He appreciates all of the problems the 3-4 presents for offenses. But Kelly also had other motives for making the switch.
“The thing for me that forced the move was because we were changing personnel so much on second and third downs,” he says. “I wanted to be able to get into a defensive structure where we wouldn’t be changing personnel as much. And the 3-4, with the four linebackers on the field, gives you a lot more flexibility to match up and also allows you to keep that personnel on the field.”
Continually switching personnel meant more practice time for more players, and that wasn’t ideal. To Kelly, the more practice time a player gets in first-, second- and third-down scenarios, the better chance a team has at executing at a high level.
That actually makes some sense to me. The more practice time Georgia’s starting linebackers can get working on their coverage skills, the better.
On the other hand, here’s a word of warning from Washington’s defensive coordinator (who deploys a 4-3 scheme):
“To be a good 3-4 team, your nose guard has to be a stud and so do your two inside ‘backers,” says Washington coordinator Nick Holt, whose base defense is a 4-3 but who occasionally uses a 3-4. “You want those inside ‘backers to be big enough to stuff guards who are coming at them because they aren’t covered up by the three down linemen.
I guess we’ll find out what Georgia’s got soon enough.