Thursday, July 30, 2015

What can Louisville vs Auburn tell us about Baylor vs TCU?

I broke down Louisville and Auburn's week 1 match-up over at SB Nation.

One thing I talk about in that article is the "Blue-Sky" defense that TCU loves so much and which has frequently been ripped apart by Baylor's passing game. Louisville used that same defense, which uses the nickel and boundary safety as run-force players while asking the corners and free safety to play deep, to great effect last year.

Gerod Holiman had something like 27 interceptions playing as a free safety while James Sample led the Cardinals with 90 tackles playing in the run-support role. It's a great defense if the other team can't make you pay with the passing game.

You figure Josh Harvey-Clemons will now step into that boundary safety position and be primarily responsible for helping Louisville stop Auburn's run game. The big question will be, can Auburn's new passing quarterback make the Cardinal corners and free safety pay as Baylor frequently does against TCU?

It'll also be interesting to see if Cardinal DC Todd Grantham takes note of what smashmouth spread strategies have done to TCU's version of the defense and maybe adjusts his plan this year or carries a back-up plan in the event that Malzahn mimics the Baylor method for attacking the coverage.

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