Last week, my good pal and colleague Ben Kercheval took over the mailbag effort for me and handled himself admirably. Following a good friend's bachelor party, I am back in the driver's seat and ready to take your questions and wrestle down answers. Here we go!
Ah, Patti is back and as great as ever. For those too lazy to click on the article, it basically details the Buckeyes going from playing off coverage to pressing on nearly every play. Given how often I get tweets from fans and texts from friends that all basically say, "Gah, why are our corners so far off," I think this is a great topic.
Although it is something I have hit on before in the mailbag, I've got no problem going nuts and bolts here in the offseason. A season ago, the Buckeyes secondary played plenty of off coverage and now they are looking to turn that on its ear and get more aggressive, going with press.
Keep in mind that press does not exclusively mean man coverage. Press looks work in man and zone. It is simply a means for cornerbacks to get their hands on a player and disrupt his timing before they get into their responsibility.
With the right cornerbacks it can be glorious. However, press plus responsibility adds another element to the defensive back's plate. Instead of just reading keys and reacting on the snap, he is tasked with reading many of those same keys and reacting, all while handling the preliminary job of rerouting a wide receiver.
Whether it is man or zone, it is a lot of teaching and a lot of practice. For man it means making sure players understand body control, alignment and how to get themselves out of trouble through the balance of aggression and power with measured movements and good feet. For zone it means knowing where to send the receiver and how to ride him while seeing through to responsibilities and knowing when to let him go in order to correctly do their job.
Given the proliferation of the quick passing game, plenty of squads are using press to disrupt timing. If the Buckeyes can make it work for them, it should be a strong move.
@inthebleachers How do you like your eggs cooked?— Adam Miles (@AdamLMiles) April 11, 2014
I really only take my non-omelet or frittata two ways: over easy or sunnyside up. I know they're almost the exact same thing, but the point is that I require runny yolks because the biscuits have to do some sopping.
@InTheBleachers I know there will be a drop in statistics, but how big will it be? As in, will scores be below the 20's?— Carter Bryant (@CarterthePower) April 11, 2014
Carter, my good brother: I think the idea that they drop below the 20s, for most games, is a bit drastic. However, I do see them getting back to the 2011-type levels.
When you lose successful quarterbacks, scoring comes at a premium. In the SEC, schools all over lost amazing pieces. Three tremendous ballplayers in the SEC East. Three tremendous ballplayers in the SEC West. Sure, there are replacements and great schemes and returning talent, but the truth is scoring and total yardage will likely be down for several teams in 2014.
That said, Auburn should be expected to produce at a high level. Ole Miss has weapons in the West, too. Plus Mizzou and South Carolina will be interesting to watch as well, since they feature a pseudo-returning quarterback player.