Watching the 3-Man Rush

The following quote comes from Chip Alexander’s post-Virginia-game clipboard

The Pack has had problems stopping teams in the closing minutes of the first half. After State took a 20-10 lead with 1:31 left before halftime, Virginia went 64 yards in eight plays for a TD with 27 seconds remaining.

It may not make the coach’s show but it is making SFN. In fact, this item made SFN during the Wolfpack’s win at East Carolina the previous week. Check out the following comment made at 6:40pm in our ECU game entry

Speaking of Groundhog days…will someone PLEASE tell our defensive coordinator that rushing three DLmen DOESN’T WORK!?!?

State chose to consistently ONLY rush three on ECU’s last series of the first half, only to have the Pirates easily march the ball down the field for the touchdown. JEEZ. We couldn’t have made it easier on them.

To be fair, State did rush more than three against Sewell on the Cavs quick final drive of the half. Every time we got pressure on Sewell with the rush, he made us pay for it with a good run. Everytime that we didn’t get pressure, he hit quick passes for positive yards.

The ECU experience was different. The Pirates literally marched down the field in less than 90 seconds by doing nothing but hitting passes made easy by the lack of pressure created by a half-dozen (plus) consecutive plays of three-man rushes.

With Miami’s struggles at quarterback (please see this great entry), it will be interesting to see what the Wolfpack will do if we face a similar situation this week.

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'07 Football

17 Responses to Watching the 3-Man Rush

  1. Rick 10/31/2007 at 12:09 PM #

    IMOP VT lost the BC because they were only rushing three at the end. I hate that mentality

  2. schaefpack 10/31/2007 at 12:11 PM #

    It definitely isn’t just the case with our defensive coordinator. It seems like a lot of coordinators do this for some reason. I will never understand when you have a defense that is working great for 55 minutes why you would change it for the end of the game and put no pressure on the QB. VT vs BC is a great example

  3. packbackr04 10/31/2007 at 12:26 PM #

    yeah, they had bc playing beamer ball all game, then beamer decided that beamer ball wasnt the way to go??? daft i tell you.. daft.

  4. RegularExpression 10/31/2007 at 12:40 PM #

    I think football coaches in general tend not to be innovators, and the way they learned things is the way they do things and will keep doing them until they retire. There are of course notable exceptions(Steve Spurrier, Mike Leach at Texas Tech, Bill Belichick) but most trends in football(like the West Coast offense) start with one coach and then spread slowly as young coaches learn the new trends.

  5. burnbarn 10/31/2007 at 12:55 PM #

    I am not too worried about this.. coaches have shown a great abilty to adjust. IIRC correctly, Coach did mention it on his most recent show.

    BTW, starting line up for first Bball exhibition game has been released with info on Javi too.

  6. newt 10/31/2007 at 1:16 PM #

    I was pissed at the end of the half against UVA listening on the radio, but after rewatching the “film” I realized that we actually played pretty aggresive D. UVA just made some plays.

    So I think we changed from our ECU approach to our UVA approach. That gives some hope for the future.

    Even Sheridan was heavily criticized for prevent D.

  7. RedTerror29 10/31/2007 at 1:39 PM #

    If VT was running prevent at the end of the BC game they weren’t running it correctly. You should never have a receiver open behind your DBs running prevent.

    As far as how many to rush, I’ve always felt you should rush as many as it took to put pressure on the QB. If you can do that with only 3, no QB is going to be successful throwing against 8 men in coverage under pressure.

  8. PacknSack 10/31/2007 at 1:44 PM #

    It still amazes me that so many teams still run a ‘prevent defense’ ever. There’s a reason it’s referred to as the ‘prevent victory’ defense. Unless the offense mismanages the clock horribly or the QB makes bad passes it seldom prevents a score.

    As for the VT vs. BC game, the Chokies got pressure on Ryan in those last two drives. It was when he scrambled and the secondary moved toward him that guys go so open. Overly aggressive DBs is what killed VT. That final pass should have been picked as much air as it had under it and the number of DBs in the area.

  9. noah 10/31/2007 at 2:10 PM #

    The prevent defense is a good strategy to employ when there are about 12 seconds left and the other team has to go 80 yards. It’s not such a good idea when there are TWO MINUTES left.

    And you don’t have to blitz on every down in a two minute situation. The thing you OUGHT to do is mix it up. Drop eight and then on the next play, rush five and then zone-blitz and then corner blitz and then drop back in a dime.

    Offensive packages get reaaaaal simple in a two minute offense.

  10. BoKnowsNCS71 10/31/2007 at 2:31 PM #

    Can’t recall whether it was Darryl Royal or Frank Browles who said it during a football game long ago “You got to dance with the date that brung you..”

    While a good strategy — becoming defensive about the lead can take players off their game, lose momentum, and make it harder to get it back when you need it.

  11. packbackr04 10/31/2007 at 2:52 PM #

    true noah, the 2 minute offense does get simple. i for one hope we see more no huddle from the wolfpack this year. DE really seems to be able to handle it and it has thrown some D’s off thus far

  12. rockwolf 10/31/2007 at 7:05 PM #

    iirc, the pack has given up 3 fg’s on the past play of the first half. obviously, ecu was even worse.

    i expect the staff will get this one fixed and soon.

  13. choppack1 10/31/2007 at 9:45 PM #

    Well, I think part of the advantage of hurry up offense is that it makes it a little harder for the D to set up and coordinate blitzes too.

    I’m not a fan of the 3 man rush under any circumstances but the “protect against the miracle” one.

    About Ryan, part of the reason he was able to escape was that he only had to escape 3 guys – he could move the left or right by a little time and he’d usually pick up a block from one his linemen.

    Guys, let’s just be prepared to see the 3 man rush again. I’m sure our staff believes we’re not playing it that well yet – and they’re probably right. I did notice that against both ECU and UVa, we didn’t totally abandon blitzing all together at crunch time. And during crunch time, we generated some good pressure.

  14. vtpackfan 10/31/2007 at 10:06 PM #

    When do we ever rush only 3? When only 3 down lineman are in Barnes also accompanies them and always rush’s the QB. That’s four, correct?
    I’m not being an apologist, just trying to verify that what I’m seeing is what others are.

    Another point is that the same tactic has been used against ECU and UVa at the end of game, and that very little has been made of that. The vast majority of our sacks recently have been part great effort by the DL to win one on one match ups, and part due to coverage.

  15. Ismael 11/01/2007 at 3:14 AM #

    i bet if you look at the last 1000 games played in the NFL and Div1A, prevent defenses were played the majority of the time and they resulted in alot more clock being eaten up and the game ending in favor of the team who played the prevent defense. i think what you see though are the times where it doesn’t work and its remembered that “…my team lost because we played that stupid prevent D.” I.E. we don’t really notice it when its working.

  16. nckestrel 11/01/2007 at 11:56 AM #

    First, you must look at the results of a typical drive. How many usually lead to a touchdown. Then compare to when the prevent defense is used. If the NFL average is 20 points per game, the standard defense of the final drive is not likely to give up a touchdown either. A prevent defense can’t just win more games than it loses, it must do better than a regular defense would.
    More of us might get coaches more of a pass if it looked like the prevent defense was used when it seemed appropriate. But if you’ve only given up 10 or less points all game, and have two minutes left, don’t give the other team anything. They’re the ones trying to figure out your defense, don’t throw it away and give it to them.
    Now, if you’ve already given up 40+ points and there’s less than a minute left, maybe prevent is better. It can’t be much worse..

  17. noah 11/01/2007 at 3:21 PM #

    I think most coaches will tell you that the problem isn’t the “prevent defense,” the problem is the execution of the defense.

    There’s under a minute to go and you’ve got to go 80 yards and you don’t have any timeouts.

    It makes sense that I would put in place a defense to account for the pass. Afterall, you’re not going to be running the ball. It also makes sense to not put in a full-out blitz, since one of the few things that can beat me is a quick-strike touchdown.

    The thing to do is to drop your safeties back but force the action back to the middle of the field. This is especially true in the NFL where the clock doesn’t stop on a first down.

    Blitzing is easy. You run after the guy whose got the ball. Coverage is much more complex.

    Maybe the issue then is that you have to know your team. If you’ve got a secondary and a linebacker corp that struggles with assignments, it’s better to blitz and keep them in a situation that they’re comfortable with. If you’ve got a confident and knowledgeable back seven, drop back and let them milk the clock.

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