Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Curious that there aren't more TEs in the Big 12

My man @The_Coach_A continues to crank out amazing articles at matchquarters.com on how modern quarters defense is played. The most recent one is on defending tight end sets. If you're a fan of most any Big 12 team save for Oklahoma or Texas this article is pretty relevant to how your team plays defense.

The only sense in which it isn't relevant is that the Big 12 doesn't use tight ends very often. Head official Walt Anderson was noting a new rule on tight ends and cut blocks at Big 12 media days and he said he struggled to even find cut-ups from Big 12 play where a team was even using a tight end.

Baylor, perhaps the ultimate spread team in the league, is one of the squads that most regularly utilizes the position. Kansas State does as well as they use just about every formation and position known to man.

You'll also note from the article the importance of the middle linebacker being able to play some coverage and move. I think one of the biggest revelations from the 2015 season was that some inside linebackers are now officially just toughened up box safeties. When Travin Howard is leading one of the league's best defenses in tackles playing middle linebacker at 190 pounds you have to rethink the position some.

Finally, if you're reading MatchQuarters.com regularly or you've watched Baylor or Michigan State play defense a lot over the last few years you'll note that there's little sense in offenses trying to create leverage around the box against these teams.

The shallow and active play of the safeties means that if one of these teams has laterally quick LBs who know what they're doing combined with downhill-filling safeties with a little bit of burst then there's no angle or leverage that can be gained which won't be quickly stymied.

It drove me crazy looking back at Jim Harbaugh's game plan for Michigan State last year when he kept trying to manipulate some angles for their run game when none of his backs had breakaway speed and the Sparty safeties were always going to arrive to clean things up near the line of scrimmage anyways.

You have to attack these aggressive quarters teams deep with the passing game. It's the only way.

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