“You’ve gotta be in nickel. You’ve gotta have five DBs on the field.”

From Seth Emerson’s piece on Mark Webb and the Star position ($$):

SEC offenses lined up with three or more receivers on 69.7 percent of offensive plays in 2018, according to Sports Info Solutions, a steady increase over even the previous two years. It was 62.9 percent in 2016, and 65.3 in 2017.

The steep increase in passing among SEC teams dates back further: There were an average of 28.5 passes per game thrown by SEC teams in 2012. By last year it had increased to 32.3 per game.

But it’s not just that Texas A&M and Missouri and their up-tempo offenses joined the league. When Alabama and Georgia met in the 2012 SEC championship, they were two teams that together averaged 26 passes per game. By the time they met again in last year’s SEC championship, the two power-football teams were averaging 27.4 passes per game.

And so the defenses have reacted, to the point where calling anyone a 3-4 or 4-3 defense is antiquated. They may call that their base defense. But Georgia was in a version of the nickel – 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 — about 70 percent of the time last season.

It’s not your granddaddy’s SEC any more.  Or your daddy’s, for that matter.

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

13 responses to ““You’ve gotta be in nickel. You’ve gotta have five DBs on the field.”

  1. Biggus Rickus

    Did anybody else put the heading to Pink Floyd’s Dogs?

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  2. The star may be becoming the most important player on the defense. You have to have someone who can play man on the slot (typically the quickest receiver and the first option in the pass part of the RPO) and is will to stick his nose in to set the edge in the run game in certain situations. He has to be a player who can play corner, tackle like a safety, and hold up in the run game like a linebacker.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tony Barnfart

      Well described. It reminds me of how the basketball gurus say that we’re trending towards “positionless” basketball……..at least as it pertains to the players previously described as 2-5. Now it’s more like 2-4 and 4+.

      Every football team needs like 3 or 4 Thomas Davises now.

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      • Davis couldn’t cover like a corner. Minkah Fitzpatrick may be a better comparison. You still need that Davis type of player that can blitz from the secondary on occasion, roll to the LOS as a 3rd linebacker/strong safety, can run sideline to sideline in run support and not be a liability in coverage.

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    • Greg

      good description, reminds me of the old monster defense, with the star position being the “monster” position or “monster man”. Those kind of guys are not always easy to find. Have often wondered how Nakobe would fit in that position.

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  3. Paul

    Or, if you’re my age, it’s not the SEC I grew up with. Heck, it’s not even the SEC I watched before before I dropped my season tickets. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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  4. practicaldawg

    All the more reason UGA’s OL and rushing attack will be devastating for most teams to prepare for. Teams built to defend the pass will find the 4th quarter very uncomfortable.

    Liked by 4 people

    • For the exact same reason, the Bama OL and rushing attack have me nervous about December. Our guys have been recruited to play against spread teams. While Bama goes with a lot of spread looks, they do a lot of pure power running behind that offensive line. Until Jordan Davis can prove to be an every down player, we still miss John Atkins at the nose.

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  5. Bulldog Joe

    https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/positional/breakdown/

    As far as matchups go, it has gone this way in the NFL as well. WRs make on average 2 1/2 times what RBs make and their careers are typically longer. Also, DBs make on average 1 1/2 times what LBs make.

    Liked by 1 person