SDSU And How The Defense Will Beat TCU

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst IOctober 24, 2009


Against the run, I thought our D line did a great job considering they were facing an inferior offensive line. Our front seven didn’t get a whole lot of pressure on Lindley.  On two occasions, Lindley had approximately 2.85 seconds to get a pass off and 3.45 seconds to get another pass off.  Unfortunately, one went for a touchdown vs. Rich and the other one went for at least a 40 yard gain down the middle against Rich again.  If you give a decent QB enough time he will hurt down field.

It’s almost impossible for a secondary to be efficient all the time in a “plaster” situation.  (A plaster situation occurs when a QB is usually outside the pocket, all the routes have been run and the WR’s are scrambling to get open.  The secondary and linebackers “plaster” themselves to the nearest eligible player downfield.

Moving on.  Now everyone is screaming for “Pressure, Pressure, Pressure!  Blitz, Blitz, Blitz” especially after last week when Lindley was sun bathing in and out of the pocket ,but please understand the dilemma that Coach Hill finds himself in before you jump on this band wagon.

First of all, he watches the DB’s in 1on1 coverage every single day…. Every single day.  Ok so if coach Hill doesn’t have enough confidence in our coverage abilities against our receivers, then why would he trust us in the game?  This goes for the years I played also.  We hardly ever ran man blitzes.  Nor do you see NFL teams running man blitzes as often as you might think.  The odds are against you as a DB everytime in a one on one situation and that’s why coaches around the country do not blitz as often as some BYU fans might think.   One missed tackle and the offense is off to the races.  UCLA 07 Vegas Bowl when Paulson caught the ball and ran down the sideline to put them into position for the field goal… “Man Blitz”.  05 BYU vs. Utah late in the game and Slant was caught for a 50 yard touchdown… “Man Blitz”.  On both occasions we were there to make the tackle but didn’t wrap up.  The first was against Fowler and the second was against Gabriel.  Both had decent coverage but couldn’t make the play.

Do I think we need to get more pressure on the QB?  Hells bells yes!  But we don’t have pass rushers on the field.  We have solid individuals that are assignment sound.  We are a good defense, but sometimes as fans we would like an elite defense and we just don’t have those guys this year for that.  I’d say the only true pass rushers are Jan and Coleby.

Secondly, there is always a risk/reward factor which will increase on both sides of the spectrum as you send more players into the backfield on blitzes or pressures.  (A zone pressure is what we usually run to get to the quarterback in our 3-4 scheme.  We will usually send 5 players to the QB and drop 6 into coverage.)  We quite honestly never truly “Blitz”.  A blitz occurs when you send one more defender than they can block, essentially guaranteeing that you will get to the QB.  The ball will usually be coming out quick, so you will see press coverage by the corners and safeties while the linebackers will flow and try to collision TE’s and RB’s out of the back field.   You also might see DB’s playing 8-10 yards off but playing down hill and looking for a quick step or 3 step drop.  The latter is what we usually play in a man coverage situation.


At any rate, as we look at the numbers… Our offense puts up enough numbers to beat just about any team if as a defense we can hold them to 21 points.  3 touchdowns isn’t too much to ask ,right?

I’d like to say unrealistically that in order to keep TCU out of the endzone we would have  to stop the run, put Dalton in obvious passing situation  and then get pressure on him.  But, that is just not going to happen.  The reason I say this is because I don’t think we will be able to stop the run as efficiently as we have against everyone except FSU.  I say this b/c of our field.  When turf is slippery I feel the offense always has the advantage.  As a defender you are usually reacting rather than dictating.  As a DB I would mimic movements of a WR. Of course, I’m in a awkward position b/c I’m usually running backwards and then making a plant to come forward.  When you react you explode your feet into the turf and if it is unstable, you will slip.

Offensively you aren’t reacting, you are dictating.  You have your assigned gap or area and you run to that area.  You make speed cuts rather than explosive abrupt stops.  Go back and watch the FSU game again.  FSU’s defense was slipping uncontrollably, yet their offense was able to stay on their feet.  The same goes for our offense and our defense.

So number 1, I hope the field is improved or else you will see a lot of 1on1 tackles with TCU running backs and our Safeties.   If we can put them in obvious passing situation by stopping the run, our chances will be better.  Number 2, we need our secondary to be more physical.  Our secondary doesn’t have a bunch of burners.  We need to collision down field and grab and hold and do what we have to while the ball is not in the air.  I remember specifically from my two years of playing that Gabriel, Gooch, Hodgkiss, and I would collision at even 10 yards.  As long as the ball is not in the air, it is not necessarily Pass Interference.

When Dalton has time, I don’t want to have a foot race.  Last week against SDSU we lost the foot races when the ball is in the air.  We need to dictate with physicality before the ball is in the air against this team.  It disrupts timing between the QB and the WR and gives the D line more time to work some magic.

Tell me what ya think.