Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random musings about developing a defensive coordinator

Random musings about developing a defensive coordinator on your staff (or grooming an assistant to take that role over).

Send him to a local college/university to spend time with them during their Spring Ball. It would sound like he knows the defense and (may) know the opponent, but doesn't understand the application / rationale behind what he is calling.

It would help in many ways;

  1. You are empowering him to take the next step (not telling him to do something)
  2. He will network with other minds (may be more receptive of other coaches input)
  3. He will see it is more than just slapping stuff together, but focusing on situational defense versus particular threats.
One other comment....I don't know what your relationship is like, but if it is half way decent, I would challenge him as much as possible in relaxed settings. Break out the bar napkins. Every defensive guy is the next Buddy Ryan when you're just lining up against Pro sets....but what happens when you are facing bastard sets or challenging personnel, now what!?

Try to break his mousetrap. What will he do now? He will have to rethink his approach, why he is doing what he does, and galvanize his defensive philosophy.Again about the rhythm stuff, it is one thing to get the read-out of stats, but how much time does he use to watch what his opponent is doing during the course of a game? What is the OC doing in tough spots? What does he go back to? What is he trying to set up? Those are things you can pick up through pattern-recognition, by watching a full game and watching it progress.

So if you're watching 3 or 5 games on Joe Blow OC, now you're up in the can have a deja vu feel for what is coming next.The only caveat I would offer, though, is don't get in the rut of trying to beat the OC, but rather just beat the QB. Understand the offense, so that you CAN do that (frustrate blocking rules, RB in protection, route-combos, QB reads, etc).

With practice - script EVERYTHING. You (and your staff) should package your opponent based on all those fancy stats/tendencies. In doing so, your kid should associate certain plays / formations with specific tendencies.

If you approach practice by slapping shit together, the kids will play like they are slapping shit together, and consequently, it will look like the defense is being called like we're just slapping shit together.

Lastly, does the DC grade the performances of his players (quantify their assignment execution)? the bottom line is how efficient or practical is this concept for your predicament? Can you assess it on your own? What will it take for it to be effective?

How could you screw it up?

The 'coverage' concept is the basic premise a DC would use as an acid test to measure the practicality of kids in positions to do their job. It is what marries everything you are doing together, instead of a handful of ideas thrown together with none of the players working together.You have 8 gaps to defend - how are you going to shut them all down? If any one of those 8 gaps isn't defended, your entire defense is compromised. Do you want guys double-dipping in responsibility to ensure that these gaps are covered? If so, then what is your idiot-proof plan to teach these 5 defenders to read block reactions (to put them in the appropriate gap support)?

Ask yourself what is it (defense) going to do for you? That is the question that is most important. If offenses you face aren't multiple themselves, where is the value in being 'versatile' / multiple (on defense), if you never have to adapt to something different each week?

The front / blitz is just a delivery method....a tool to accomplish something specific - nothing else. What are the biggest weaknesses of this method, and how do you plan to account for it?Unbalanced? Option (or belly series)?....what is the "right" gap fit, when you get 2-3 threats on a given play? What are you looking to gain with your alignments? The only point is.....if you are relying on 3 stacked backers to make reads - how do you intend to teach it, because that might be a lot for MS kids to get 'right' a majority of downs. If you're just slanting and brining linebackers every play.....what are you really gaining, and does this do more harm than good for the future development of those players (because they really aren't learning any fundamental skills for the position)?

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