1. Davey OBrien

    Watching OU’s defense since Mike returned from the desert there has been a definite regression and I never understood their switch to the 3-3-5.

    Understand the logic on a chalk board, but it never seemed like a very good fit, the defensive line played tentative, and they were undisciplined. How many times did a Texas running back break a long run because a Sooner defender literally ran themselves out of a play and left a gaping hole.

    Is it possible that the move to four defensive linemen is a step to going back to a simpler system that allows the players to be more aggressive and attack versus what we have seen in the past seasons?

    • ianaboyd

      I think that and the recruiting angle are the major keys. You surrender your advantage of being Oklahoma and being able to recruit DL that can disrupt the offense at the point of attack and you waste/fail to engage the guys you do get like Charles Walker.

    • Philly Frog

      Davey, I’ll also be interested in seeing whether this reduces their problem in switching out personnel. They seemed to burn a lot of timeouts and/or get substitution penalties these past couple of years.

      • Davey OBrien

        Since Mike has come back there just seem to be this slow erosion of what at one time was a very confident and aggressive side of the ball for OU.

        You make a great point that at times last year it seemed to be a contast between TCU and OU’s defensive staffs as to which could seem to be the most out of whack in regards to subbing in players and getting calls in from the sidelines.

        Both units the last few years have been plagued with assignment busts, players at times seeming to go where they want, and a basic break down in some fundamentals. Two units that were once very good tackling groups seemed to struggle in that basic area of defense.

        Understand where part of that uncertainty came from the TCU staff with the number of inexperienced coaches, but that is not the case with the OU staff. Cooks, Kish, Thibodeaux, and Stoopes have multiple years and the unit looked completely unprepared at multiple times.

        • ianaboyd

          I think it’s at least possible that the players see Mike Stoops’ presence as pure nepotism and unmerited, preventing them from buying in more fully.

  2. Cameron

    The other part to playing the 2-4-5 is feeling comfortable with your interior defensive linemen to take on double-teams. And not simply for 60 snaps or so, but for 80-90 in the Big 12. The alignment of the outside backers gives them a great edge rush position, but it also more easily allows offensive linemen to pound the interior guys and work up the linebackers. Something the Stoops’ will have to consider in making their decision.

    • ianaboyd

      Well it can work like an Over or Under front so long as their isn’t a TE on the line, that’s the only time where you have to really worry about double teams.

      But in the B12 would you rather be worried about being big enough up front or being sound enough in coverage?

      • Cameron

        1) Or if they have an H-back. Offensive line doesn’t want to run split zone in the diagram above. They want to run inside zone wit the H-back kicking out the same side OLB to get two double-teams in the interior.

        2) Depends on the team I’m facing. E.g., Texas and K-State scare me more on the ground than the air, so I’d take my chances with subpar coverage.

        • ianaboyd

          A stand-up DE isn’t going to get doubled by an H-back even though he has to worry about the kick out blocks. I know a TE or H-back can allow you to create a double team on a DT but that’s true regardless of whether you’re using an OLB or a true DE in a four-down front.

          Split zone is nice in the diagram above if you like your tackle to reach that LB and you like the matchup between your H-back and that OLB. That was my point there, is the concern that Kelly isn’t good at the POA on stuff like that (or the kick out you mention).

          Easier to game plan specifically outside of your normal deal for KSU (which you’re probably doing anyways) and Texas then against everyone else, right?

          • Cameron

            1) Yes, you can run that blocking scheme regardless of whether there’s a DE or OLB to the H-back side. Its just a lot easier for the H-back when the guy is standing up and lined up about a foot further out from the tackle.

            (OLB has to line up a little wider if standing up to prevent the tackle from getting directly underneath him at the snap since he’s standing. OLB still engages the tackle, but has to do it from a different angle since he’s not down low.)

            2) Oh, I’d definitely worry more about being sound in coverage against teams like OSU, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, and WVU. No argument there.

            But there’s still Ohio State on the schedule. And I’m not so sure about my answer for that one.

          • ianaboyd

            I’d try a 3-4 against the run heavy teams, perhaps even when they go 3-wide, with 2-4-5 as a similarly ripped defense for the passing teams. That’s what I’d expect from them next season although perhaps Mike will instead stay in a 3-4 and cheat the safeties or something.

          • ianaboyd

            The trick is what you do against teams that go 20 personnel and have stud slot WRs.

            I think I’d go 2-4 and just try to really drill Kelly in DE techniques. Maybe drop a safety down to help out as well.

          • Philly Frog

            Ian, I have often postulated that Patterson, in his heart of hearts, would love nothing more than to line up with one NT and ten safeties.

            Call it the Angry Birds defense.

          • Philly Frog


            Replay fail to yours.

            Feel free to use that, I borrow stuff from you all the time.

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