Sure, Baylor put their safeties up to stop the run and didn’t worry about the pass. But, is that the whole story? Actually, Baylor’s defensive gameplan is one of the most brilliant that I’ve seen in a while!
- They knew that almost all of our runs are from certain formations and certain personnel groupings and almost all of our passes are from the shotgun and from 3 and 4 receiver personnel. That allowed them to play the pass more against certain formations and defend the run more against the rest. If you’ll remember, this is an observation I made earlier in the year and pointed out that this makes us very predictable. I suggested that we run a lot more play action out of the run tendencies and more running plays out of the pass tendencies.
- They pressed the outside receivers with their corners, which is something we’ve seen the last few teams do. The safeties can then come up because they don’t have to worry about Bell completing any fade routes which is how you usually beat press coverage. Versus a 2 receiver side the OLB or NB would play just outside the box and reads run or pass. If it’s run he can run into the box, and if it’s pass he can drop back and play underneath coverage on the slot as the safety is covering him man to man but trying to stay on top of him.
Because the OLB is so far inside the slot receiver it’s impossible for the receiver to block him except for outside running plays. We could run the run bubble and if he comes into the box the QB just passes to the bubble screen. But the way we run it the OLB is close enough to the box that he can really play both. That’s why Baylor lines their receivers so wide, so that the OLB must choose to either line up to cover the slot or stay near the box to help with the run. I explain this with diagrams in the video breakdown below.
- The biggest reason they were able to stop our running game is that they were incredibly aggressive! They noticed that we never run any counter running plays. So they had their LB’s (and the safety that lines up inside the box) read the RB at the snap and wherever he starts running they crash that hole immediately! The DL then slants aggressively to the strong side of the formation. They don’t worry about gap control, they just try to aggressively get as many people into the designed hole as possible. And the slanting DL really messed up the blocking schemes making zone runs very difficult to read and block.
This means that if we tried to run to the strong side both the DL and the LB’s (and the safety in the box) would be slanting/scraping to the same side, something that’s usually a huge no-no! But, it meant we had zero chance of running past the LOS! With the LB’s being so aggressive it’s impossible for our OL to block any of them. By the time the linemen release upfield they are already out of position to make the block.
Normally this would be incredibly risky, because a good counter play would get enormous yardage. However, they know that our gameplan is literally filled with brand new plays each week and that we never put counter runs in there. So, they don’t have to worry about it. Besides, having the safeties up to help would be able to stop a counter play from getting big yardage anyway.
- I think our OL were shell-shocked and confused by what the defense was doing and were being dominated. I believe this led to them being less aggressive and on their heels. Their defense played with a ton of confidence and aggression while our line looked timid. Not a good combination!
- If that wasn’t condemning enough of our Offensive Coordination, there were some plays that just didn’t make any sense. Several times we run right at unblocked defenders. This seems to be a trend. Why on earth are we not blocking the players at the point of attack??? Either the staff is not preparing the players well enough or the plays are just horribly designed!
Below is the video breakdown of the running plays which will help explain all this and more.
Click Here to Watch the Breakdown!