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So, can a multiple approach work in college? We've been pretty religious about the 4-3 for what, 10 years now?
It might help with some of these 'tweeners we've been recruiting.
EDIT: this is excepting the year of the panther-spur-bandit-cowboy-plumber-renegade-kojak defense employed by the one I encourage to eat things prior to expiring.
This post was edited by shruggs 14 months ago
I texted this question to my dad, who makes some of you seem like Kelly Ripa---that's how un-positive he is about Pitt. Response: "sounds like a guy with no plan. Fire Nordenberg." They should revoke his two degrees, I tell you.
I'm no defensive expert, but don't you recruit and use different types of guys, with different skill sets for those types of defenses?
Not sure how you switch back and forth between a 4-3 and a 3-4 without putting players in positions that really aren't optimal. To say nothing of confusing the heck our of them.
Maybe Mr. Curtain can chime in here and shed some light.
That's kind of what I'm thinking as well, and I was also hoping to bait some of the more knowledgeable X-and-O guys into a response.
My personal belief is that position specificity on fefense is overrated on defense for 18/19 year olds.
When we think of nfl position specificity for say 30/40 fronts it doesn't really apply to the college game for many reasons.
1. OL play in college doesn't compare to the pros. You don't need NFL size to 2 gap in the college game.
2. It is really hard to find 6'3/6'4 255lb olb's who have the hips to play standing up. This is also the case in the nfl. imo it is really dumb to play the 30 front if your olb's are just stand up ends who rush 90% of the time.
The only teams I have ever seen who really employed a true pro style 3-4 are bama, uva, and nd this year. Everyone else who I've seen who runs a 30 front runs all kinds of hybrid stuff like tg/richrod/tcu etc. these guys have players who don't necessarily fit the nfl mold for 3-4 teams. The teams run this stuff for two reasons:
1. They struggle to recruit DL who can run. So they need to create pressure by disguise.
2. They often play in spread leagues and they can matchup better.
That's kind of what I was thinking as well. When Groh went to Virginia, it seemed like the first explicitly 3-4 defense in college in a long time. He used it to his advantage recruiting linebackers like Ahmad Brooks, Kai Parham, etc.
I guess I wonder if we'll be multiple the way the Patriots are multiple or multiple the way that the hybrid-front college guys will be. Even though personnel specificity at this level is overrated, it remains that any given player is better suited for one style over the other. If that's the case, recruiting gets tricky.
i think this fits pitts personnel. Imo, they have the dl for a 4-3 and the linebackers for a 3-4 so this is a good idea IF you have the knowledge and teaching ability as coaches to pull it off.
Shady maybe tcu's 4-2-5 would be a good fit..
Question: Are the players already on the team allowed access to the latest playbook? If House changing schemes during the off season, can he pass around the changes to the players who have been with the team? Does anyone see what I'm getting at here?
we dont have the athletes to run different schemes. we can barely execute 4-3 due to a lack of athletes - especially at LB.
it really sounds like mixing more zone with what we currently have. dont expect Pitt to blitz more. not going to happen. Hux said the same thing and we blitzed like 1% more last yr.
well then a 3-4 would benefit un-athletic linebackers because they would have less ground to cover..
steel, i suppose its possible but im concerned about the safety position next year. right now ray vinopal is lined up to be a starter and frankly hes should never see the field. having to play another safety next year might not be ideal.
It's interesting that you point out our unathletic LB's might fit better in a 3-4. When talking to Phil Clarke about McKillop's draft prospectus, he didn't think he was the prospect that most fans did. He said he should only be looked at for teams that run a 3-4. I thought that was kind of interesting and it goes to my point. We as fans/players/coaches/former players often picture a mold for every position for players and it usually stems from the NFL. Here we have a kid who was among the best MLB's (who played in a 4-3) in college football that struggled to play the same position in the NFL.
I agrued with someone on TOS once about this. It was all about raising the stock of DE's (Lindsey) by letting them play OLB in a 3-4. I said that a good majority of scouts would rather see a kid develop elite pass rush skills with his hand in the ground and playing the run in a compromised position (being undersized) than seeing him tricking blockers with scheme. 9/10 of elite pass rushers in a 3-4 played w/ their hand in the dirt in college (Ware/Suggs/A. Smith/Von Miller/etc). These guys aren't running a ton of crazy coverage that a traditional WLB in a 4-3 or MLB would have to in a 4-3). They basically play minimal man and hook/curl/flat (easy coverages).
Actually we do.
Part of Bellicheat's genius early during the spygate years (outside of cheating) was he ran the 4-3 and 3-4 w/ seperate personnel. Sure his 3-4 was essentially a 5-2, but it was a tad more flexible. It was not what you see on Sunday's at Heinz.
If I was a DC I would absolutely do this for 2 reasons IF I didn't have freakish talent to just play base.
1. By spreading the responsibilities over 2 units in the front 7, I limit the information needed to process in an attempt to players to perfect it and play faster. One unit knows their role the other does as well.
2. I give an offense that much more time to put into for preparation. I don't think anything stresses an OC and an OL more than having prep for 2 fronts.
Sure you need 2-3 players who are flexible enough to fit both schemes. You need a 1 tech can slide over and the true nose. Typically this isn't too hard. You need a DE who feels comfortable in a 2 point and 3 point stance. Every recruiting season you should recruit at least 1 tweener who is an up the field guy who can flip his hips. I don't care how big he is. He can be 210lb for all I care as long as you can see he has potential to eventually get to 235-245lbs. This is the kid that you mold for that position.
On Vinopal. Maybe the 3 safety look would be best for him where he can sit in underneath stuff. He has to improve his tackling from a fundamental standpoint but it wouldn't expose his athletiscm. WVU did this for years with success.
Good points, Steel.
Never played football, but I always thought that a good part of WVU's success with the 3-3-5 defense was that it was unusual and teams didn't face if very often and so had a tougher time preparing for it and playing it.
Wouldn't it benefit a school like Pitt, who is not bringing in the Alabama-type defensive studs, to use a defense like this or a 3-4 so that offenses, at least scheme-wise, would have more stuff to worry about?
Unless you have some big-time pass rushers at DE, what's the advantage of the 4-3? Especially in this age of spread-type offenses...
I don't think PITT needs to be an exclusive 3-3-5 defense. I love elements of it and I would never be opposed to installing parts of it.
Wanny proved that you can bring high quality DL into PITT. You need a coach who:
1. Has the ability to sell.
2. Has the ability to find the talent.
To have a real high quality 4-3, ideally you want a top notch 3 technique and a weakside DE. You don't neccesarily need to beast DE's to have a good defense in that scheme. The strongside end needs to be able rush but he really needs to be able to anchor against the run moreso than the WDE.
The 4-3 system that DW instituted imo is the most sound alignments in defensive football. However, we never could maximize this system because of other issues (LBs mostly). What the 4-3 does in it's most simplistic way is it gives the defense very sound coverage concepts. You can take a ton of pressure off your DB's when you can just bring four.
In all honesty, the Steelers defense in the past 3-4 years, probably only rushes 4 I'd say 50-60% of the time.
What does the 4-3 offer against spread-type offenses? 1st don't think of personnel for a minute and think of alignment. It matches up as well as any alignment against 3-4 WR's. Wanny started putting Fields and Dom in as Nicklebacks but we still ran the same 4-3 w/ more speed at the OLB position. Now, lets get a little more specific about personnel. A traditional spread attack typically gets rid of the ball faster than a pro-style system because of the lack of blockers. In the 4-3, I can bring 4 or 5 or 6, or just 3. But, let's just stick with 4. I can bring a constant rush competing against at least 5 blockers. I can sit 7 in coverage against 5 eligible receivers. From this standpoint alone, it is just "sound.''
Now, if I can't get to the QB consistently, I need to adjust a thing or two.
1. Play more press coverage, helping my DL to get more time to get to the QB so I'm not giving up those easy throws in the soft zones (see Cincy 2009).
2. I could disguise coverage. Line up in one play the other in an attempt to slow the QB and WR's down in order to help out my rush.
3. Bring pressure.
These are just some of the ways the 4-3 can be successful against spread passing attacks. The 4-3 alignment matches up just fine with spread option attacks as well (see WVU 07).
Whatever system you run (4-3/3-4/3-3-5/4-2-5), your front 7 has to get off blocks. If they can't there isn't much that scheme can do. You can help in some ways by disguising stuff, but somebody has to be able to get off blocks. I thought DW did a poor job in 2005 with his front 4. We had a stellar back 7 (for the BE) and we had small but quick DL. Our DL should have been on the move 70% of the time. Clint should have been coming more than he did. DW should have copied Schiano's 4-3. Same alignment, completely different approach.
Hope that helps.
Appreciate the detailed reply.
Hope Pitt has found that top-notch WDE...
then we'd have no pressure on the QB cause we dont have the d-ends for 3-4.
its a double-edged sword that's why for the most part, we've been primarly a 4-3 defense.
This post was edited by curtismartinfan 14 months ago
Are you suggesting that we would look to get pressure from our DE's in a 3-4?
9/10 teams that install that look don't, but Aaron Donald had double digit sacks as a 5 technique the prior year.
Right now, our personnel is better for a 3 down look. Outside of Aaron, no one gets to the QB who is a DL.
Yet, guys like Thomas and Price have the natural skills to fit as pass rushers in a 3-4.
Aaron is the one who gets left out the most if we go to a 3 down alignment but with guys like Ezell, Jarrett, and KK they would probably be better in a that alignment.
we'd get picked apart with no pressure on the qb.....its one thing that we can't get much pressure now with 4 guys but nobody in the backfield, forget it. the acc spread teams would eat us alive.
and you're not going to see price and thomas bitzing the qb.
i dont know how many times we have to go over this but pitt is not the steelers. we dont have the personnel or the balls to run such a defense.
and frankly, this year - if i were to guess - you will be seeing more zone then we've seen before - which translates to letting teams dink and dunk us downfield all game.
Um, we were 3rd in the nation in sacks running a 3 man front 2 years ago.
The secondary is better than it was then.
Why wouldn't you see Price or Thomas blitzing the QB? Thomas did last year. Price did it all the time as a true freshman, it is by far and away his best skill. Cook was recruited to play the "Panther" role.
Whether or not run it or not is for another discussion but we absolutely have the personnel to run it.
This post was edited by steelcurtain55 14 months ago
Agree Steel. I think the season he said they would do both is so they can get guys like Price on the field and put them in the best possible decision to succeed. Even in high school it has been clear that Price is at his best when he is coming off of the edge and going after the QB. I like that this guy is going to remain flexible. I think too many coaches try and pound a round peg into a square hole.
That goes to my point. Notice above, i agree that pitt doesnt have the dl for a 3-4.
steel points out that we dont have any ends that can rush so we should go with a 3-4. my problem with that is they are not big enough nor stout enough at the poa tto be in a 3-4. Look at the more effective 3-4's in the country.. like stanford who had not recruited highly ranked players until a few years ago... their de's are all 6'5"+ and weigh 265+. pitts are not nealy big enough. Thats why i like that house is willing to do a multitude of things. Pitts personnel is mixed and mashed because there are a lot of guys recruited for different systems. use them..
let me clarify, i want pitt to run some 3-4 they just dont have the dl to do it exclusively
Here are a couple of points to taking into consideration about our personnel and a 3 man front.
The 3 man front you're describing w/ Stanford and I'm assuming Alabama and ND is more of a pro-style 2 gap system in the mold of what Wade Phillips/Bill Bellicheat uses. The OLB's are for the most part, supersized DE's who rush the majority of the times. Bama runs some zone blitz but ND nor Stanford are anything close to what we see at Heniz where our backers are dropping as much as they are rushing. Nor, are you seeing cb's and safeties coming from all angles.
The 3 man hybrid fronts we have seen with WVU, TCU (4-2-5), South Carolina, Wake, Miss State, etc are very different. These guys are often one gapping with their DL and bringing 4-5 total. This is a very aggressive system that relies on getting up the field and essentially playing the run on it's way to the QB. But, you can 2 gap out of that and many teams do. But, many times you see guys stemming all over the place. When I've watched Mississippi State in the past, I see alot of what VT used to do but in a different alignment.
The size of our DL...
Aaron Donald is 6 ftish and 275lbs. He proved he was more than capable to handle the 5 technique 2 years ago as a soph. He is nowhere near the prototype for a NFL 5 tech, but at this level he did it w/ ease.
Ezell has the size to play either the 5 or the zero. He might need a little bit of help at times anchoring, but the zero and 1 shade aren't much different. You're getting doubled and combo'd by the center and guard regardless. He would be find in a traditional 5 tech. Asking him to stem might be an issue, but he could easily anchor at the 5.
Jarret/KK fit the bill as zeros. Both have the requisite girth/strength to be fine. KK is more limited because of his height but he is just as limited in a 4-3 where he doesn't move as well.
Other ends/tackles -
Murphy - 6'3 255lbs - stacking is actually his best skill.
Durham - 6'2 260lbs - wildcard
Jackson - 6'3 285lbs
Lippert - 6'4 280lbs
Render - 6'2 280lbs
Smith - 6'2 265lbs
Taleni - 6'2 315lbs
Moody - 6'3 265lbs - I think he is a great prospect in a 3 man front
Edwards 6'6 260lbs - awesome fit
Connor - 6'2 235lbs - prototype size for OLB when you consider his age
MaClean - 6'4 240lbs - see above
Soto - 6'3 240 - see above
I see no issue with size at this level for current crew.
Do I want to be an exclusive 3-4 or 3-3-5 - no. I'd like to see a little mix depending on the opponent/situation.
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