Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Arizona State vs Texas A&M preview

As a Texas fan with a fair amount of disdain for both the Aggies' traditional, pseudo-militaristic culture and Sumlin's hilariously opposite free for all culture.

However, I have great admiration for their offensive system and am curious to see how they'll do this upcoming season after bringing Chavis aboard to build a real defensive culture that can make something of their explosive offense.

In week one they face Todd Graham's Arizona State Sun Devils and I've previewed the game over at SB Nation.

Studying Graham's defense I finally understood why so many coaches love the TCU 4-2-5 defense for it's blitz package. The Sun Devils are one of the most aggressive teams I've ever watched and they make full use of the overlap between man and zone techniques that already exist in quarters coverage in order to bring a wide variety of pressures.

They can and will drop back and play "Cover 5" or two-man under, and they probably use mostly special coverage as a trips adjustment, but their base defense is really to bring pressure disguised by a quarters concept and to attack both the run and the pass.

I bet that against 80% of the teams on ASU's schedule, the opposing QB and OL aren't savvy and good enough to beat their pressure. The Aggies may prove to be an exception, and will have ways of responding to the pressure that may force the Sun Devils out of their usual approach. At the very least, they'll need to play a true nickel as I mention in the article.

Their "bandit" or boundary safety Jordan Simone is probably one of the more underrated DBs in the country. He's fantastic at helping direct the havoc, cleaning up runs and passes with open field tackling, blitzing, and picking up not-too-difficult coverage assignments.

I'd be curious to see a Big 12 team adopt a similarly aggressive approach, it'd probably require Dime-style personnel and excellent coaching/intelligent players to pull off. Perhaps we'll see it if Graham is successful in taking down the Aggies.

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