Category Archives: Strategery And Mechanics

Thursday morning buffet

There’s always something to spoon onto your plate.


Filed under Coach O Needs Another Red Bull, ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Political Wankery, Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics, The Evil Genius, The NCAA, You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy

Gee, where have we heard this before?

If you’re not reading the great LSU blog As And The Valley Shook as a general rule, you should be.  And right now, with the new hire at defensive coordinator, it’s an especially interesting read if you’ve been a Georgia fan over the past six years.

LSU has gone from a very traditional 4-3 guy in John Chavis to a coach in Kevin Steele who plays multiple fronts.  Sound familiar?  It ought to.  Take this analysis of the 3-4 for starters.

It’s important to lay out the scheme before addressing the question of whether or not LSU can fit these looks. People commonly assume the 3-4 is only what Saban runs, in style and personnel, when that’s far from the truth. There are many variations and possibilities. When Steele tells Lamar Louis they may incorporate 3-4 looks, that may be an easier way of him talking about the 4-3 under, in terms of roles/responsibilities. Louis has played both Sam and Will (weakside) during his time at LSU. Perhaps Steele thinks he may be best deployed as a will in the 4-3 Under, to take advantage of his athleticism. In that sense, he would function much more like a 3-4 inside ‘backer than a true 4-3 Will.

All that talk about 4-3 under, 4-3 over and personnel matches could come straight out of a half-dozen posts pretty much every Georgia blogger was writing about Grantham’s schemes when he showed up to relieve Willie Martinez.  Best get ready for that learning curve, Tigers fans.

Then, how familiar does this sound?

The primary knock on Steele comes from the heat of the moment in gameday situations — when it’s easy for emotions to boil over.

“He’s gotten caught up in the emotions of the game,” said Detillier. “You can lose focus and let one play affect how you call the next one. A coordinator has to have a level head there.”

Dr. B, formerly of the Clemson site Shakin’ the Southland, now available here, echoes those sentiments and says that Steele struggled to teach and translate all his knowledge to players.

“I think that Steele’s overly complex NFL-style set of adjustments led to his downfall,” said Dr. B. “He didn’t simplify his system. He just can’t pare his stuff back enough to communicate it to a player.  I really thought that our defense had too many checks and adjustments to be made on every play, and we suffered paralysis by analysis in every game.”

That’s discouraging to hear when a lot of the talk going around is of adjusting LSU’s current defensive scheme and being “multiple.” As important as simplicity can be on offense it is paramount on defense, where players are already forced into reacting to what the offense is trying to do.

Hey, it’s déjà vu all over again!

Steele and Orgeron are better recruiters than Grantham and his staff were, so it’s not a totally fair comparison, but this has all the makings of an interesting case study for us to follow for the next couple of seasons.  We’ll see how it goes in Red Stick.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Sunday morning buffet

Go for it.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Bobby Bowden: Over His Dead Body, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy

The spread spreads, a continuing series

In the midst of the news about the comings and goings of LSU’s defensive staff, here’s a quote from the new defensive coordinator:

Steele, a South Carolina native who’s been defensive coordinator at Clemson and Alabama, isn’t expected to make wholesale changes to an LSU defense that finished No. 1 in the SEC this season.

He did suggest that the Tigers need to play both a 3-4 and 4-3 front scheme in the future against the mounting spread offenses in football.

“It won’t just be taking a playbook out, dusting it off and throwing it on and saying this is what we’re doing,” Steele said. “We have to adapt things to the talent on the field, because I promise you this, I cannot tackle.”

Gee, where have we heard that before?

The more things spread, the less the defenses stay the same.  Even the really good ones.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Saban, gettin’ schooled by Corch

Chris Brown, as usual, has an excellent piece on how Ohio State’s offense has evolved away from what Urban Meyer was doing at Florida.  The part in there that really caught my eye was how Meyer and his offensive coordinator, Tom Herman, schooled Saban and Smart in the national semi-final match.

The one defense that shut the Buckeyes down this season was Virginia Tech’s.  Here’s what Bud Foster did.

… in Week 2, when Virginia Tech employed a “Bear” or “Double Eagle” front, in which the defensive line pinches down and lines up with a nose tackle over the center and defensive linemen over each of the offensive guards. This strategy effectively shut down Ohio State’s inside zone running game, as the Buckeyes managed just 108 yards rushing on 40 attempts, with 70 of those yards coming from quarterback J.T. Barrett, who’d taken over in the preseason for the injured Miller, and who’s since given the reins to Cardale Jones after suffering a season-ending injury of his own. Thiswasn’t the first time a “Bear” front had proven successful against a Meyer offense, and Ohio State’s coaches knew they would need to find answers to adjust.

Guess what happened when Alabama went to a similar alignment.

The sweep is a perfect complement to OSU’s inside zone because as soon as the defense begins pinching down, Herman can call this play to get the ball to the perimeter of the defense, with several athletic linemen out in front. It’s worked: When Alabama shifted its defensive linemen down into a type of Bear front in an effort to stop OSU’s inside runs in the Sugar Bowl, Herman called for a version of the Oregon sweep, and the play went for an 85-yard Elliott touchdown — the biggest score of the game, and maybe of the Buckeyes’ season.

Sounds like somebody was better prepared that day than somebody else was.



Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Mark Richt defends the crayon.

And all you spread proponents can kiss his ass.

“… We run a pro-style attack. A lot of teams across the country are spread and do a lot of zone read with the quarterback and protect in certain ways. It’s not been what we’re about.We’re about running the ball a certain way and having the diversity in the passing game to be as sophisticated as anyone in the country with our protections and route concepts. We’re not just throwing four verts and smash routes. We’ve got an intricate passing game and protections scheme. We put a lot on our quarterback to make decisions at the line of scrimmage…”

This is actually a more interesting comment than you might think.  Richt is committed to a pro-style attack in a spread age. That’s not an easy thing to do, for a number of reasons.  One is that the coaching pool is smaller, as Brian Schottenheimer explains.

“The good thing about me is I’m coming into a situation where there’s good coaches on the staff. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel. Philosophically, we see things the same way. The pro-style offense. We’re going to run the football. Obviously, that’s a big part of what we’re doing. It was an easy fit, an exciting fit, because not a lot of teams in college football are doing it that way.”

From Richt’s perspective, there had to be a little frustration over Bobo’s departure, even as his personal success was applauded.  Richt spent seven years grooming Bobo into one of the best offensive coordinators in the country, running a pro-style attack.  And now the wheel has to be reinvented in an era when coaching talent experienced in pro-style offenses is harder to find – in other words, more expensive.

No wonder Richt said the possibility of him taking back the coordinator reins was there (“It could have possibly come to that…”).

The potential reward goes back to something Heisman Pundit discussed here a few years ago, the value of running a contrarian system.  The more teams structure their defenses to counter the spread, the harder it becomes for them to deal with the pro-style power game.  Don’t laugh, but I’ll be very curious to see how Schottenheimer does against Alabama in a few months.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Friday morning buffet

Outside, it’s cold.  Inside, the buffet is warm.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, Whoa, oh, Alabama