I'm not sure I've ever heard someone argue that allowing corners to man-up all game isn't "letting them loose" but hey, here we are.
Again, the issue with OSU's man coverage last year had absolutely nothing to do with the corners, as shown in the videos. The issues were inside with the linebackers and safeties. Lattimore, Conley, and Ward have been outstanding the past two seasons, and were in no way, shape, or form the reason Schiano's defense may not have been up to some people's standards.
We discussed this a few weeks ago here after the news of Coombs' departure, but playing the ball instead of the man is a very tricky technique. As Schiano put it early in the season when Sheffield, specifically, was racking up the PI flags,
"If you are in an advantaged position, so you’re even with the receiver or you’re over the top of the receiver, then you lean and locate. That’s the verbiage. If you’re behind him, you don’t, because all you’re going to get to see is somebody celebrating over your shoulder. Because the guy’s going to catch the ball," Schiano said. "Now, part of it is, why are you behind? Why are you trailing? Some coverages are designed that way and others aren’t. So the ones that aren’t, you have to be on top of him. And that helps a little bit. But there’s not one single issue."
So what he's saying is if you're even with the guy, make sure you box him out like a rebounder on the basketball court before you look for the ball, as the first and most important thing you can do as a defender is get in between the ball and the receiver. Once you're there, then go ahead and try to make a play on the ball. That can lead to some interference calls now and then, but it's better to give those up than to get lost looking for the ball and watch the receiver running into the end zone.
While I know the PI calls get people upset, pass coverage on the outside was not the reason OSU gave up so many points to Clemson, Oklahoma, and Iowa over the past couple seasons.
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Kyle, do you anticipate further specialization [variations for 'just you'] with particular DBs, or WRs?
Not sure I understand the question. Mind elaborating a bit on this?
Correct, as you'll notice, that version of Snag is a bit different as it's a rollout scheme designed for JT to get the ball out on the edge quickly with an option to run. Dixon is meant to drag the cornerback inside with him, setting a pick for Hill on the underneath route. But with the Cloud call on, the CB is there to make a play on Hill and the OLB not only has Dixon, but can also make a play on JT should he decide to run. Victor is really the last read in this deep-to-short progression, so that's why the ball comes out so late.
As noted by BuckeyeJay, turning and looking for the ball in man-coverage can be a huge risk UNLESS you're already in great position on the receiver's hip (as Sheffield showed). If his hip is ever more than an arm's length away, turning to play the ball almost always leads to further separation between the defender and the receiver. Plus, with the advent of the back-shoulder fade, it's far too easy for a QB and receiver to manipulate this technique by catching a defender guessing the wrong way.
Additionally, as shown in these examples, most quick fade routes like those Apple and Ward broke up don't leave much time for the defender to turn and locate the ball in time. Instead, it's much safer to maintain that inside position between the receiver and the QB, reading the receiver's eyes to know when to rip up and dislodge the ball once it arrives.
I think most 11W (esp regular Film Study readers) recognize his value. However, my guess is the casual fan may not give him the same credit that Ash/Schiano have received for developing this long line of NFL-ready DBs.
I'd love to know what technique those posters would rather see.
Great question, and the best answer I can give without having been at practice or on the headsets is that I never saw USC show this look very often in other games, meaning the Buckeyes didn't prepare for it. Credit to Pendergast and his unit for installing and executing this new look in the weeks and catching the Buckeyes off guard. He gets paid $850K each year for a reason.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions fans make is that "second-half adjustments" mean coaches will call different plays based on what they saw in the first two periods. In reality, coaches make a game plan, practice only the plays on that plan in preparation for that opponent, and then the adjustments made during a game are to trim that plan only to the plays that seemed to work. Other adjustments might be to execute a combination block between two players in a slightly different manner or to alter a wide receiver's route by a step or two, but coaches don't just try something new in the second half as if this were Madden.
Alabama has played exactly one game since scoring only once in the second half of a loss to Auburn. This happens to every team.
The reason bowl games are exciting is due to the talent matchups on both sides. Getting upset because guys who will get drafted in the next few months (Nwosu #42 and Green #94) beat a guard making only his eighth career start seems like a bit of a reach to me, at least.
This is correct. JT running the ball was the only thing that consistently worked throughout the entirety of this game.