1. Travis

    This is a great piece Ian, thanks for the write up. I really liked that piece by Chris Brown you linked to, as well. I instantly recognized the “Seattle” blitz call as one Baylor used a decent amount last year. They actually used it to force a fumble/safety against TCU on the 2nd play of the game (Pitre was really quite good for a true freshman moving to a new position): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtCsqzs_Dno

    One of the interesting things that Phil Snow and the players almost always say is that when you first start under Snow you don’t learn defense, you learn offense. Apparently he wants them totally comfortable with how offenses operate and the theories behind their plays before they start installing defenses. Carryover guys said that under Bennett they knew basic things like formations but never got into route combinations and such in too much detail.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up being right about the LB personnel. We’ll have to wait until the post spring depth chart. The big question is whether Rhule will be willing to move Pitre off Sam after he started playing so well there last year.

    • ianaboyd

      Sounds like Pitre is already moved off sam. Generally it seems like if they don’t have a truly excellent will linebacker ready to go they’ll move a nickel LB type over to play the position.

      That “seattle” blitz is one of the most popular zone blitzes in the game. It was always a good one but it translated really well to the shotgun era since teams could overload the side of the back and muck up zone read type plays.

      • Travis

        Word. I haven’t read that about Pitre but not surprised. I’d love to be able to ask Rhule about the difference between playing with Matekevich at WILL vs. a safety type.

  2. Travis

    One of the vast areas of improvement in the Baylor D last year was in bubble screen play. I got so used to Phil Bennett’s “3 over 2” or “4 over 3” philosophy that when I saw Baylor line up 2 over 2 or 3 over 3 I knew they were asking for it in the screen game. But you can tell that this is something they must work on a lot in practice, because by the end of the year they were erasing bubbles with really physical CB play and a very quick Pitre or Ogor running to the ball.

    In a way playing 2 over 2 or 3 over 3 can give the defense a knowledge advantage–a lot of these teams who are reading box numbers will almost automatically throw the bubble with those numbers, allowing the defense to play fast.

    • ianaboyd

      That’s true about the insta-read allowing the D to play fast. What you’re describing and what I saw at times sounds like the Sam often tried to wait for a read before closing on the ball. So it was almost more like 2.5 over 2, which is a good way to play it IF your sam can run. That’s how Texas tries to do it.

  3. Ryan

    I know the play highlighted above pointed out Johnston playing the wrong defense but the clean up effort from the safety was a familiar one throughout the year. Lots of normal 4-5 yard gains became 40+ yard touchdowns from the safety taking terrible angles or whiffing completely when they were in the right spot.

  4. Travis

    Thought you might enjoy a comment from Rhule, Ian. Somebody asked whether Lynch is playing free or strong safety, Rhule gave a funny look and said “with Phil they’re the same thing, I don’t know, he rotates them, gets mad at one and moves them to the other.” Lol.

    • ianaboyd

      LOL, I can imagine very clearly what that looks like.

      Sounded like Rhule wanted to blow the answer off and was like “well actually I don’t even know cause Snow is always yanking them around.”

      And then I can picture snow getting exacerbated with each in turn, “dammit get over there so I don’t have to look at you.” Looks at the bench, sighs, “Alright Lynch put your Pom poms down, you’re getting another shot.”

      • Travis

        Haha, exactly. He also verified Pitre starting at WILL. Said:

        WILL: Pitre – Ashton Logan
        MIKE: (Johnston out with injury) – Jordan Williams – DeMarco Artis – and then Terrel Bernard and Lenoy Jones just returned from injury
        SAM: Henry Black – Bryson Jackson

        Pretty easy to see why they took no LBs this year when you’ve got 5 (!!!) scholarship MIKES, none of whom are seniors.

        • ianaboyd

          Maybe some of those LBs get converted to DE, FB, or flush out of the program with time. Definitely a full room right now.

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