Moar 3-4

And here’s a terrific article in the Baton Rouge Advocate about what new LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda brings to the table, scheme-wise.

Everyone’s 3-4 is different. Each coach has his wrinkles and tweaks.

Aranda’s scheme isn’t the same as the 3-4 Saban employs in Tuscaloosa. Players and coaches said Aranda’s system is bent on deception and movement. One player, for example, isn’t limited to one position. Neal is playing three: defensive end in the base 3-4, outside linebacker on passing downs and a defensive tackle role in other formations.

“Dave does some things that are really different,” said Ron Roberts, the head coach at Southeastern Louisiana who worked with Aranda at Delta State. “He’s on the cutting edge in what he’s doing.”

Roberts, a defensive-minded coach, said he and Aranda share about 80 percent of the same defense. Roberts began running the 3-4 nearly 20 years ago because of a lack of big defensive linemen while at tiny Tusculum College.

“We could not get the personnel to compete, so we had to play guerrilla warfare,” he said. “I couldn’t get a dominant (defensive end), couldn’t out-recruit people in my conference, so how am I going to beat them?”

His answer was “guerrilla warfare,” a term Aranda also uses to describe a defense that’s not normal or regular — one that’s shifting, a unit with different shapes and sizes.

What is interesting to me, first of all, is that there isn’t one dominant offensive style in the conference anymore.  There are the spread offenses that come out of the Air Raid school, like Texas A&M’s, Auburn’s smash-mouth version of the spread, and then there are the more traditional pro-style power offenses run at Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU.  Is the 3-4 a one-size fits all approach, then?

There’s one more thing.  Dellinger notes that “LSU is set to join Kentucky, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Alabama in employing the 3-4 as its base defense.”  That’s five conference schools chasing the same defensive talent pool, three of whom are heavy hitters in the recruiting game.  If the trend continues, at some point in time, how easy is it going to be for Kirby Smart to find the kids he needs to fit his system?


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

8 responses to “Moar 3-4

  1. 92 grad

    And everyone thought the forward pass was such a good idea…..

    My opinion is that this is more evolution where the distinction of a pass or run play lies. Over the last 4 years O linemen have been doing much more than was traditionally held “in check”. So, between pushing the limits of traditional procedure and officiating being pressured to keep TV games entertaining, the D is fighting an unfair fight more now than ever. Hands in the dirt went from ordinary to “old school”.


  2. dawgtired

    “how easy is it going to be for Kirby Smart to find the kids”

    This is interesting. More and more schools will be pulling from the same talent pool. I believe this is one of the main reasons offensive and defensive schemes in college football evolve and even change back to older styles throughout the years. The smart coaches/programs revise their systems to stay competitive. Then, others follow when they see what works. Once the landscape of competitive teams is flooded with a common style, some smart guy implements changes to get an edge…and it all starts over again. The desired body types in recruiting changes with each system change. Of course those versatile big, fast players are always in demand. Kirby will need to maintain his current level of energy in recruiting to stay on top.


  3. Macallanlover

    Most teams in the SEC that I have observed, are back in a 4-3 more often than they stay in the 3-4. The recruiting difference is the biggest issue as you need the big space taker over center and two stud inside linebackers that can stuff the run from 3 yards off the line of scrimmage in the center area. The method of how LBs are utilized is where I see the greatest variance on the field, and that has to vary because of the level of talent available, and the offensive scheme you are facing that week.

    Still can’t say I am not a fan of the 3-4 because of it’s weakness stopping the power run teams, but if you have beast LBs on the inside, it may be the better option because of its versatility in defending the perimeter. Very talent dependent, and we just haven’t had the inside LB talent that Bama has enjoyed. Bama’s way of defending different offensive schemes last year was to have a platoon of new defensive talent ready to hit the field once they saw the offensive personnel changes. Great for them to have that kind of depth but that isn’t available to Kirby in Athens, nor to any other SEC team. Recruiting to defend everything from the Nerds’ HS offense to air raid offenses like Wazzou, TAMU, and everything in between has to be the biggest challenge facing defensive coaches today.


  4. ASEF

    Except Alabama played a lot of 4-2-5 last year as well as 4-3, depending in the opponent. A lot of schools are mixing it up with safeties who can jump to LB, LBs who can out a hand in the dirt, or CBs who can rotate to safety, all pre-snap. Yes, those exceptional athletes who can play multiple positions will be at a premium, but they always were to begin with.

    I think the whole 3-4 or 4-3 thing doesn’t really apply anymore.


    • Macallanlover

      Pretty much agree with that last sentence, they are hybrids of each other situationally. Some variance in recruiting needs but tactically they seem interchangeable throughout the game. Biggest advantage of 3-4 to me is the flexibility of it and the different angles you can bring LBs from.


    • We played a ton of 4-2-5 with Jordan Jenkins’ hand in the dirt. Really, the only games where we played a lot of 3-4 were GSU and tech.


  5. W Cobb Dawg

    If Aranda can come close to Chavis’s production he’d be a fine DC. We’ll see about that. Chavis was gone 1 season and some fans wanted Miles’s head.

    “That’s five conference schools chasing the same defensive talent pool…” Gimme a break. A good player is usually going to get playing time, no matter the formation. The exception being when a coach makes an inexplicable bonehead decision not to use that good player. For example, I once heard of a HC who redshirted his best RB. Hard to believe but it really happened.


  6. Todd Grantham

    I’m a genius..