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Comment 05 Apr 2014

Ash has been a split safety guy though the speculation from respected writers like Ross has been that we brought him in to play more quarters coverages. 

Usually when you're a split safety/two deep safety team, you'll run some quarters, some 2 deep man under, some inverted Cover-2 and maybe  some Tampa-2. From the writeup it sounds like the corners were rolled up in press coverage a decent amount, which is great news IMO.

Comment 02 Apr 2014

The way this is usually taught is that if the read is unclear or if the QB is going to hesitate make thing read, the back should get the ball. You should never pull it unless you're sure.

Unfortunately, that could mean the back getting blown up if Braxton makes a bad read, but better that than losing the ball.

Comment 02 Apr 2014

For example, I've seen Brett Favre run run/pass options that weren't really flagged. Alex Gibbs also talks about running this in Atlanta, which would have been whatever year Warrick Dunn, Vick, and TJ Duckett were all there. Aaron Rodgers runs some as well. It has been going on for a while and largely they are letting the teams run it.

Comment 02 Apr 2014

If the defense gets really aggressive, playing press outside and committing extra players to the run, they can scrape exchange with the DE and LB, and then cover the quick stuff (well, as good as anyone can cover Dontre in space this year...good luck with that, defenses).

Basically, the defense always has two "extra" players vs. a traditional run play; the counterparts to the running back and the quarterback (who hands the ball off but is not a threat). To stop the option purely from a numeric standpoint, you have to deploy both of those defenders to the run. Packaging a quick passing play with the QB option doesn't really change the arithmetic. 

What it does do is put added stress on the defense, and it controls where those "extra" people can come from. You can't cheat a player in to stop the run from over the slot receiver (e.g. a nickel back), for example, because now that receiver is a threat. So to really gear up to stop the run, you have to play Cover-0 or quarters, aggressively turning your safeties loose against the run. To try to stop the quick passing game, you might play press or you might play off coverage and squat on routes, anticipating short breaks and trying to jump them as the QB delivers the ball.

If the defense turns to such an aggressive scheme, it could force a keep read by the QB, send someone to tackle him, and cover the quick routes. If you execute, that's a sack/TFL and the defense has put the offense in a situation where the run or packaged pass is less likely. However, if the offense makes one guy miss, there's no one deep to cover up the mistakes. If the defense plays aggressively anticipating run, but it is actually pass, there are a lot of one on one matchups which should/could be big gains for the offense.

Comment 02 Apr 2014

You could probably call holding on every play, and if you're going to call an ineligible downfield, you want to make sure that it actually happened. If you're watching the quarterback, you know the time of the release. But by the time you get your eyes downfield to the linemen, they will probably have advanced a yard or two.

Do you know for sure that they actually were downfield? No. And you want to be above a certain threshold of sureness before you make the call. If you're watching the linemen, you know how far they've advanced but you're uncertain about the time of the release.

I think it comes down to wanting to make sure the call is correct if you're going to make it, and "letting the players play" a little bit. Just my 2 cents.

Comment 26 Mar 2014

Stanford also lost to Michigan State. We need substance on offense regardless of style. The offense needs to move the ball, make first downs, and score points. Any style of offense that gets that done and doesn't completely screw the defense over should be beautiful to us.

Relying less on the "power running game" is probably a move that they are making to suit the players we have. Namely, Braxton Miller and the plethora of fast WRs/"Percy Players" that we've been recruiting. 4 of 5 OL are gone, Hyde is gone, and that's probably why we'll run the ball less.

If the offense scores points and wins game no one should care.

Comment 24 Mar 2014

I am betting that some of Braxton's rushing attempts turn into screens this year. They met with Chad Morris to discuss the screen game, and you can package screens with runs. That packaged screen could take the place of Braxton's "keep" when they're running option. It would (hopefully) allow us to keep the same numbers advantage in the box, but also help keep the hits on Braxton to a minimum.

Comment 23 Mar 2014

It will be interesting to see if we move to more of a Cover-4 based team like Ross has predicted, or if we move to more of a cover-2 type system or split safety system. I know Ash has been very aggressive in the past, both turning his safeties loose against the run and rolling up his corners at times to press.

Either way, if we have a consistent system through and through we'll be fine. We are accumulating talent in the back 7, and our down linemen are maturing. The talent is there.

Comment 23 Mar 2014

That is a very good point. It doesn't matter if we let up an un-Buckeye-like 35 points per game if we score 50 points per game.

Comment 22 Mar 2014

Me too. I was really down on him after the tweet, but he looks like he's legitimately the same size as Cam Newton. And his arm looks really strong. He definitely isn't the shifty kind of runner that Braxton is, but he's got some athleticism too. He could be the downhill power runner that contrasts guys like Dontre, Curtis Samuel, etc.

Comment 12 Mar 2014

It might not even be Dion Lewis. The good news is the same system Kyle Shannahan is going to run has paved the way for guys like Tatum Bell, Mike Bell, Reuben Droughns, etc. to be productive backs, turned late round/UDFA guys like Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, and Terrelle Davis into stars, and revived the career of Warrick Dunn and TJ Duckett.

They've found and made running backs with that system.

(and if you don't like this plan the rumor is Ben Tate will be in town tomorrow)

Comment 12 Mar 2014

I respectfully disagree. If you look at the successful NFL quarterbacks of this era, the easy majority of them are picked in the top 32 of their draft class.

If you look at both the relatively high success rate in the first round (still low but not incredibly low) and combine it with the extremely low success rate from the later rounds, it makes a lot of sense to draft a QB high. You are literally about 100x more likely to find a franchise QB in the first 32 picks.

Brees, Manning, Manning, Cutler, Ryan, Stafford, Rivers, rothlisberger, Newton, Luck, RG3, Rodgers were all picked in the first 32 picks.

Kaepernick, Wilson, Brady, Romo were picked outside of those picks. You might talk me in to adding Foles to this list. Considering there are 6 rounds + compensatory picks + UDFAs, that's less successful QBs from a much, much bigger pool. I'm not saying this is a firm list either, a few guys could reasonably be added or dropped, but the ratio stays about the same even if you set a different level for "franchise QB."

Looking at the recent successes of guys like Foles, Wilson, and Kaepernick, you can make the case that it is getting easier to find your guy outside the first 32. But if you're doing that you probably should also be getting a) a "College offense" and b) a QB who can run, at least a little.

Comment 09 Mar 2014

It would be nice to have that option, but I still think the Star would play a lot. You have to ask first why the other team is going with a "spread" formation. For example, we do it to remove players from the box for the running game. Oregon traditionally has done it for the same reason, as has Rich Rod. Texas A&M, however, does it for the sake of the passing game, as have teams like Mike Leach's Texas Tech teams.

If a team is trying to spread us out to run the ball, one response might be to leave the traditional LBs on the field (if you believe your LBs can run sideline to sideline vs a spread look), and move a hybrid LB/S guy (like Lee) out to the Star, which would theoretically give you the best run personnel out on the field.

In passing situations or against a Texas A&M type team who is spreading you to throw, you might leave a guy like Lee as a LB and bring in more of a true DB type to play the Star, theoretically giving you the best coverage unit. So I still think we'd see that 5th DB quite a bit, even if Lee continues to improve. In fact, it might even depend more on how well the other two LB spots perform. We want our best 11 out there on the field to do the task at hand.