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Monday, November 15, 2010

How Notre Dame can defeat Army and the Triple Option

Coach Brian Kelly when asked Sunday November 14th:  On whether there are any tweaks to prep for the triple option: "Absolutely. No, I'm not sharing. We have to do a better job than we did against Navy and we are working hard at that right now."

We sincerely hope so Coach.  The SAS staff sat down and came up with the following Triple Option Defense.  It cost me a case of beer and three large everything on them pizzas.


On the chalkboard

On the Field

It wasn’t that Notre Dame could not stop Navy’s triple option (TO) offense; it was that Notre Dame could not even stop the first leg of the option – the fullback off tackle. For gosh sakes Alexander Teich amassed 210 yards rushing that horrible day. (Navy 35 - Notre Dame 17 least we forget)

Here is a must see video, it speaks for itself. A methodical gutting of the Notre Dame defense by Navy during the Charlie Weis era. It does a better job of showing and explaining the TO than the Navy – ND game this year because Navy had to be more diverse in its option attack. Watch it twice. Once for observing all three running options, fullback (FB), quarterback (QB), halfback (HB) or slot back SB). Then watch the line of scrimmage, the response by the ND defensive line and the cut blocks.

SAS requested game film from West Point but were denied. So we are forced to assume that Army will initially show the basic/generic TO (see above pictures). It is interesting to note that Army finally decided to change offensive schemes after being pounded year after year by a TO Navy. Navy (Coach Paul Johnson) embraced the TO because it fits the caliber of athlete attending the Naval Academy. Army belatedly has finally figured that out.

The TO relies on the QB read and Team timing.   Like any other offense, disrupt the timing, confuse the QB, and force missed blocks and you got a chance.  TO plays off the supposed strength of the defense; size, bulk, domination of the line of scrimmage from end to end.

How Notre Dame can defeat Army and the TO.  Listen up Mike Diaco. You too Brian Kelly.

** The SAS defensive alignment is a basic 5-3-2-2 set to stop the run.

** Understand that the line of scrimmage really extends from side-line to side-line with the TO.

** In the typical 3-4-2-2 defensive scheme replace the 300+ lb nose guard (NG) and two 290+ lb tackles are replaced with mobile 260- lb linemen.

** Add two athletic/mobile defensive ends (DE).

** Teach the now five defensive linemen not to get into the three point stance. The stance should be similar to that of a linebacker.

** Teach the five linemen how to use their hands and feet to avoid the cut block. Lateral movement is key.  Push-off, grab and push, avoid getting rolled on, watch the QB.

** The two cornerbacks (CB) must bump and push the WRs at or near the line of scrimmage to disrupt the timing and pattern. A lot of man coverage is employed. You got to force the QB to pass.

** The two safeties (S) must first defend the deep pass from the TE, HB, and even the WR, then defend the run. They cannot bite on play fakes or commit to stopping the run too soon.

**  The DE away from the action, away from the run must relentless pursue the QB nonetheless.  He is in charge of stopping ends around, reverses, broken plays, trick plays, passes and the like.  The spy. 

** Deception:

**  The QB will hand off to the FB, if not he will run down the line reading the DE. If can see the DE number clearly, the QB knows the DE is coming at him and will run wide and/or pitch to the trailing HB. Therefore, at least four DEs must rotate through the two positions. Part of the rotation can be the switching the outside linebackers (OLB) with the DE. Both are basically the same physically. The QB will have to be a math major to remember all the numbers.

**  The three linebackers, one middle linebacker (MLB) and two OLB line up single file behind the 260 lb NG. After the QB makes his read and points to the MLB, [which should all be confusing to the QB] the LBs, break into their designated position at the last second. These final positions are dictated by the down and distance and called from the sideline.

** Killer plays:

The reverse, the flea flicker, a delayed pass play of any sorts. Ouch. Navy has them and uses them from time-to-time. Since Army wouldn’t send film we have to guess they will do so as well.

Simplistic? Naïve? Yes, but consider the source.

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