Question about defensive scheme


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    • #163658
      2

      MDUte
      Ute Fan
      @mdute

      First off, just want to echo everyone’s comments on here….I could not be more proud of our team and coaches. To accomplish all that they did this year has been simply amazing and so exciting to enjoy the ride. We came so close to pulling off the victory but there is nothing to hang our heads over when we put up 45 points on one of the biggest brands in all of college football and were tied with them up until seconds remaining in the game. AMAZING and anyone watching that game on national TV saw one helluva a show! No doubt, showing so well on that big of a stage will do great things for our program in terms of recruiting as well as our University in terms of increased enrollment and brand recognition. So proud to be a Ute!!
      With all that said, I just have a question for all of you who have a better football knowledge than I do. I get that we had our defensive game plan going into the game and we gave it our very best attempt at executing it. But when things just didn’t seem to be working either with the man coverage or the times we tried switching it up to zone…wouldn’t that have been a really good game to try dropping 8 into coverage and just leaving 3 upfront to try to pressure the QB? Given that we weren’t getting any pressure on Stroud with or typical 4 front along with some designed blitz packages from our LBs, it seems like we might as well have added more help on the backend to our depleted secondary? And props to OSU’s Oline, they were amazing all game long. I’m not knocking our guys for not being able to pressure Stroud…I think the credit should go to their Oline. Even when we blitzed they either did a great job of picking it up or Stroud recognized it and got the ball out quickly.
      I hate the whole drop 8 scheme. But this is the 2nd time where I think it might’ve worked better given what we were up against. The other time being that USC game in 2019 where we stubbornly stuck with our man press coverage and continued to get beat by their trio of NFL receivers. Anyway, just a question I had while sitting back playing Monday morning QB here. Thanks in advance.

    • #163679
      2

      ProudUte
      Ute Fan
      @proudute

      I believe if we would have been at full strength on defense, we would still likely have given up 400 yards passing.  Stroud is an amazing QB and 11 is a crazy good receiver.  The only way to stop them is to get a solid pass rush like Michigan (4 sacks).  Even then – they gave up almost 400 yards passing.  OSU has a great passing attack!!!

      However, our offense was excellent.  Very proud of their effort.

    • #163711
      2

      2008 National Champ
      Ute Fan
      @cptmrgn05

      Scalley tried every trick he’s got in his book, I’m not sure what more you wanted him to try. He stunted his linemen, he brought extra rushers, he varied his rushers, he dropped 8, he dropped 7, he dropped 6, he played zone, he played man, he played combo.,,

      At some point, your guys have to win individual battles and Ohio State’s line didn’t let that happen. Ohio State has faced every scheme possible trying to shut them down and no one has been able to do it. Utah faced a different Stround in his 14th game than Oregon did in his 2nd. But it would be one thing if at least one Utah rusher was breaking through the line every play and he was making plays with his feet. Instead, all the DLine could do was rush for a two count and then throw up their hands trying to distract him. Ohio State’s OLine got it done.

      • #163724

        MDUte
        Ute Fan
        @mdute

        Makes sense. I didn’t know he had tried dropping 8. Couldn’t tell watching the game from the stands. It seemed like he had only tried zone and man. But given our D-line could never break through to put any pressure it made me wonder if dropping 8 would’ve been our best shot to “slow” them down. Definitely not stop them but I thought maybe it could help reduce the big explosive plays.

        But again, no complaints here at all. So proud of our team and coaches as mentioned in my OP.

        • #163748
          1

          2008 National Champ
          Ute Fan
          @cptmrgn05

          to be clear, there are only two types of coverage: zone and man. You can vary the coverage between all man and all zone, but for the most part, you are running some combination of the two on every play.

          Utah usually has 6 or 7 in coverage on every pass play which should be more than enough since you have a numbers advantage. The problem was that since Stroud had all day to throw, his receivers also had plenty of time to move from zone to zone. It is hard to explain in a couple of sentences but if you ever get a chance to watch an all22 version of a game, watch any play a few times on repeat to see how each defender either matches up or supports when they drop back.

          Day does an excellent job of designing plays which put multiple defenders in conflict. We actually saw really good coverage on the back end during that game. The problem was that the receivers running those routes were taking defenders out of the underneath zones which allowed 11 to run drags and crossers underneath and Stroud had plenty of time to find him in the zones that had been vacated and then he could use his talent in space.

          I can’t emphasize enough how good a job throwing the ball Stroud did in that game. When he saw single high, he took his shots on the deep routes and put the ball right where it had to be. When he saw double high, he either checked to a run play or worked the underneath routes which will always come open if you give a QB enough time. But even with everything Stroud had going for him, he still had to make the plays and he did damn near every time. If he only completes 70% of his passes instead of 80, there is a very good chance that Utah holds on to the lead. Instead, they ran into one of the top QB’s in the nation having an “in the zone” day.

          • #163752

            MDUte
            Ute Fan
            @mdute

            Great explanation…thanks for breaking that down!

            Putting the scheme aside, that was the first time I felt like a true talent gap existed that was not in our favor. I realize we hung in there amazingly well with Ohio State who has like 54 4/5 star talented kids on their roster to our 17 4 star kids. But I’m hoping we see another bump up in recruiting from all the great exposure we received winning the conference and showing so well in the Rose Bowl. And I wonder what is a realistic goal for our program to build up the quality depth of our roster to the next level? Can we get our roster up to 30 4 star kids? 40? Whitt has proven to get more out of less his whole career. But next year we are again being talked about as a sleep playoff team. How much more quality depth do we really need to be in the “elite” level which seems to really only consist of like 4 – 6 teams each year?

            It was just eye opening to me that OSU could have 4 NFL dudes opt out and literally not even skip a beat. If we were to have Devin Lloyd, CP3, Bam, and either Kuithe or Tavion Thomas sit out…we’d be in a world of hurt. And I guess my point is, it’s not that we can’t have guys sit out and still compete at the highest of levels but rather how much worse any key injuries affect a team like us vs an Ohio State. Because all teams have them through the course of a season. But the elite blue bloods don’t seem to be affected by them due to their superior depth.

            • #163764

              stbone
              Ute Fan
              @stbone

              The other thing that illustrates the talent gap is draft position of players sent to the NFL. It is very rare for a Utah player to be drafted on the first day. So, while Utah is placing numbers of players in the NFL, those players end up being back-ups and role players. This largely comes down to the fact that Utah coaches are getting their players to their talent ceiling. A team like OSU will put multiple in the first round and an even greater number in the first day. The OSU players in the NFL are more often impact players at that level, or at least are players with higher ceilings.

              It is amazing what the Utah coaches do with the talent they have, and every year the talent is improving. I can’t wait for fall.

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