Fair question, but the 4-over-3 and 3-over-2 system of dropping 7 only happens if the offense sends all 5 receivers out on pass patterns. If they begin keeping a back and/or tight end to block, then the defense can begin planning for such looks with blitzes.
Also, it’s important to remember that these are base defensive looks, and are really meant to be called as a split-field technique, meaning they might right run Palms/2-read to one side and run man coverage with a blitz to the other. Essentially, by teaching this technique of matching patterns in different ways allows Hafley and Mattison to employ it all over the field and mix in man coverage, traditional spot-drop zones, and blitzes as the game plan might call for.
If nothing else, it speaks to Saban’s ability as a teacher. Certainly, his recruiting prowess is the #1 reason he’s won so many rings, but I know most coaches (at every level) are in awe of his ability to teach so much to teenagers in a relatively limited amount of time.
Point being, its very rare to find someone who can replicate his style.
To answer the OP, given what I've heard from Yurcich in only a handful of interviews thus far, it does sound as though this is going to stay as Day's offense, with the head man continuing to call plays. Yurcich has stressed that his role is to learn the current system and teach it to Fields and Baldwin, and his primary duty will be to develop those QBs, not re-write the playbook to look like OKST. I'm sure he'll be heavily involved with game planning, but I don't expect much to change, other than they'll try to take advantage of the QB's strengths as they did for JT in '17 and Dwayne in '18.
Thanks for the heads up. I knew the VASJ merger happened after Howard and Grbac left, but didn't think we needed to go down that path for this piece. However, I was apparently working with some bad info there in regards to the timing. I had completely forgotten McDuffie went to Hawken, too, so appreciate you sending along that article!
Good question - and it all has to do with the offense's alignment. Against 21 personnel (2 back, 1 TE) with the TE attached, the SAM will line up on the line like a stand-up DE. Against 3 WR sets, though, the SAM walks out over the slot (as Werner and Darron Lee did quite often in the past). Mattison plays a lot of nickel against that kind of personnel, so it's possible that the slot defender becomes a DB more often than not in today's game.
Unlike when Wade was put in as the Nickel corner this past season, that DB won't just be playing the slot WR in man-coverage. Rather, they'll often be an underneath zone defender asked to play the run on many occasions, usually filling as the contain player. So, the question becomes who on the roster has the skill set to play that role? Does White or Fuller drop down in the box with Pryor or Riep filling in as a deep safety? Vice versa? Does one of the corners slide into that role?
No, against 4 wides they have CBs on the outside and a safety/nickel over each slot with a free safety in the middle of the field. It's honestly not that different than when OSU plays nickel with Wade in the slot. The only different is their nickel, Myles Bryant, is physical enough to stay on the field and help stop the run on every down. This allows them to be much more versatile as they rarely need to substitute. That said, in long passing downs they will play a 3-1-7 sometimes with 3 down linemen, Burr-Kirven and Rapp essentially playing LB, and then sending all kinds of blitzes from those front five knowing there is enough talent behind them to take away anything down the field.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a finesse defense at all. Those two OLBs are essentially just stand-up ends next to a pair of space eaters inside. Those big boys in the middle do a great job of gumming up blocking schemes, often forcing the offense to use two blockers to take them on and leaving Burr-Kirven free to run around and make tackles. I'd expect the run game to involve a lot of Jet motion to either beat the interior players to the edges or providing false signals to force the linebackers into mistakes.
Sure, here's a hint