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Member since 07 September 2012 | Blog

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Comment 27 Apr 2015

One reason our offense is so good is that it takes both safeties coming up into the box like this to really slow down our running game. It should be easy to pass against these Cover-0 looks, and credit VT for making it tough last time.

I think the key to beating them this time is going to be pass protection, and I thought our staff did a good job of making that adjustment against the C0/Bear looks that it got later in the season. I trust any of our QBs to be able to burn them through the air if they stay in these looks, plus with Jalin/Thomas/Samuel/Dontre as receiving threats there's going to be a lot of speed outside.

The other adjustment vs this kind of look that I liked from last year was the "85 yards through the heart of the South" play. Obviously it helps that Spencer turned into a human missile and blocked two guys, but having a WR who can crack block (Noah Brown?) can not only give us the advantage of surprise, but also can force a cornerback to fill in for the run. And corners who can play Cover-0 effectively and come up against the run like a linebacker are usually hard to come by. Let's see if they can still run with Mike Thomas if they have to also come up and tackle Zeke 15 times.

Comment 25 Apr 2014

That actually might be one reason that we knew it was coming. If you have a bazillion formations and motions, you can't practice enough plays to run more than a handful for each formation.

If you can fit 40 plays into the playbook (that you actually practice) and you have 4 formations, you could be running one of 10 plays when you line up a certain way. If you have 15 formations--which doesn't seem like a stretch considering *ichigan's opening drive above--you can really only run 2-3 plays per formation.

Then the defense can see your formation and know what you're running. Like Kyle pointed out above; I formation = run. That gives a smart and prepared defense a huge advantage.

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.