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Nick Saban’s Alabama Pass Coverages

Posted by Cameron Soran on

Nick Saban’s success as defensively-minded head coach at Alabama is almost unparalleled. An official record of 218-62-1. Eleven SEC West titles. And, of course, six national championships. But perhaps what is equally impressive about his tenure at Alabama that his defenses have been consistently regarded as, if not the best, then at least top-5 in the country for ten straight seasons. It seems that no matter how many of players he loses to the draft or graduation, there is almost no drop off for the Alabama defense from one season to the next. And by all accounts, his defensive system...

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Clemson’s Brent Venables’ Base Defense

Posted by Cameron Soran on

If you were to poll members of the college football cognesceti who the best non-head coach defensive coordinators are in the game right now, you’d see a fairly short list. They would include guys like Bud Foster, Don Brown, and Dave Aranda. But probably the name that would come up most often is Brent Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator since 2012. Since taking up his post at Clemson, Venables’ defenses have ranked 34th, 12th, 1st, 6th, 6th, and 2nd in Bill Connelly’s Defensive S&P+ rankings. And he’s done that while losing about half of his starters every year – many to...

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A Worthy Rival: The Kirby Smart Defense

Posted by Cameron Soran on

Plato and Aristotle. Pompey and Caesar. Obi-Wan and Anakin. Hayes and Schembechler. The motif of the student-turned-rival is as old and recurring as any in human history. It is one of those rare tropes of fiction and themes of history that never quite seems to lose its luster no matter how many times we see it played out. And for the foreseeable future, the rivalry between Nick Saban and Kirby Smart promises to be another great chapter of this millennia-long refrain. My primary reason for studying Kirby Smart’s defense was in finding out how much he would keep from his...

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The Bay and the Bayou: Justin Wilcox and Dave Aranda’s Defenses

Posted by Cameron Soran on

Both Dave Aranda and Justin Wilcox run a lot of the same plays.  This should come as no great surprise to anyone who viewed the transition from Aranda to Wilcox at Wisconsin in 2016.  But are these common elements really all that effective? I will let the advanced stats speak for themselves. LSU – Before Aranda 2015 – LSU Defense – 34th in Defensive S&P+, 48th in Defensive Rushing S&P+, 11th in Defensive Passing S&P+, and 31st in Defensive FEI LSU – Aranda’s tenure as Defensive Coordinator 2016 – LSU Defense – 2nd in Defensive S&P+, 2nd in Defensive Rushing...

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Four Option Run Schemes from the Ravens Playbook

Posted by Alex Kirby on

I watched every snap of the 2019 Ravens offense, and here are a few of the things I learned... The biggest thing that stuck out to me is that, this "option" offense, isn't really running true option plays. In other words, most of the plays that look like option reads are predetermined before the ball is ever snapped, even if a defender is unblocked and being "read". Baltimore spends a lot of time on scouting and film study and picks out the matchups they want to attack. Just like Peyton Manning used to study to find the weak spot in...

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