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The Ingredients of an Oregon Defensive Masterpiece

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The Ingredients of an Oregon Defensive Masterpiece

Charles Fischer
Reported by Charles Fischer on September 25, 2012
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The Ingredients of an Oregon Defensive Masterpiece

How do you create a shutout of an Arizona team that averaged 46 points a game?  What are some of the subtle coaching points utilized by our Defensive Staff?  This game was subject-rich on the offensive side of the ball, and we saw the “Bennett and the Beast” backfield, we defeated the “30 Stack” defense, and yet we may never witness a defensive performance again that compares to this one.  There is so much to appreciate about our defenders, and this is the ideal opportunity to celebrate their amazing performance and learn from it, which will enhance our enjoyment of the rest of the season!

In my first Defensive Video Tutorial I described the differences between the One-Gap and Two-Gap techniques of our Hybrid 3-4 Defense.  Yet on Saturday it appeared that we played a Two-Gap attack nearly the entire time.  In the picture above we see our nose tackle and defensive ends actively engaging the offensive lineman in front of them instead of shooting through a gap as you would do with a One-Gap attack.  The strategy is to strike inside the shoulders of the offensive linemen and drive them back a bit, and then determine the direction of the play.  They then quickly discard the blockers, and run to the ball.  They are showing us excellent technique, and it is great fun to see freshman Arik Armstead implementing Coach Azz’s advice so well.

Arik Armstead has driven his man backwards and is ready to bolt to either gap side of the offensive lineman he has engaged above.   (Yellow Arrow)  This is why they call it  “Two-Gap.”

The picture above makes my heart sing!  Armstead has ejected the blocker and has plunged into the running back coming through the gap.  Arik has held the running play to a very short gain!

Arizona has driven deep into our territory with a fourth down and barely two feet to go.  (You can see the LOS black line above and the lime green first down line)  Look how Wade Keliikipi is driving his man back with superb Two-Gap technique.  The trick is to have your hands INSIDE your opponents; whoever has his arms inside has leverage and controls the other.  Note how Wade has his arms inside the Wildcat center and uses that advantage to move him.

It is a thrill to see both Keliikipi and Isaac Remington to the left both (Above) discarding their blockers at the same time.  Defensive linemen strike inside the shoulders of the offensive linemen, find the ball carrier, discard the blockers, and make the tackle!  This is textbook stuff that coaches everywhere teach…

Wade Keliikipi (Above) hit the ball carrier low and made him spin right into the wheelhouse of Remington.  Isaac drives his legs and feet to keep the RB’s forward momentum from passing the first down mark.  The question is whether Isaac can keep it up, or if the RB is going to make a last second lunge forward!

How about that for a thousand-word picture?  (Above)  The ball is clearly on the ground and short of the first down mark! Oregon gets the ball on downs!  What an incredible stop, and it does not happen casually or by accident; these young men have practiced their techniques and developed their strength for these big plays that make Autzen Stadium roar!

Arizona was annoying us (Above) with the now-common strategy of throwing short passes against our Cover-One or Cover-Three defenses.  We want to stop the run and the explosion plays, and because you cannot be everywhere on defense our Achilles heel is the short pass.

Arizona QB Matt Scott is about to release the ball, (Above) and he believes Oregon is in a coverage that will give up the short pass again.  (A Cover-One or Cover-Three)  His Wide Receiver (Red Arrow) has realized that Oregon is in a Cover-Two defense, which will have a defender in the short zone where the pass would be delivered.

The Arizona WR (Above) has correctly identified our defense, knowing that the short pass is covered by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, and moves to the open area as a target.  (Red dotted arrow)  He did not know that the QB had already thrown the ball, and Ifo dives to makes the interception to stop another drive!

All the Wildcat WR can do is watch the pick by Ekpre-Olomu (Above) and know that HE made the right read of the Oregon defense and the QB did not.  Yet kudos to the Oregon defensive coaching staff for taking advantage of Arizona’s tendencies to throw the short pass so often, and disguising our coverage to initiate the turnover.  So much strategy on the field that we fans rarely know of!  (Thanks again to the Grizzled Ole’ Coach who advises me and pointed out this extraordinary play.  Like everyone else—I love learning all this too!) 

As so many of my Oregon friends know—I can no longer make analysis videos due to the new Pac-12 rules, and this week’s segment would have been a terrific video with more information than I can provide in a short article.  It has been a little disheartening to turn away from video, but it has been thrilling to learn more about our beloved Ducks no matter what form in which it is presented.  I had as many Oregon fans learning from the last written article with screenshots and diagrams as I would have had viewing a video.  That confirms that is it not about being entertained, but that Oregon fans want to UNDERSTAND more about our team, as I do.

We have a wonderful two months of absorbing Oregon football ahead of us!

Oh how we love to learn about our beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer  (FishDuck)

 

About Author
Charles Fischer

Charles FischerCharles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...View all posts by Charles Fischer →


 

 

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  • Northrivers

    Thanks for the very interesting article. We will continue to enjoy learning about our Ducks even though it is not in video form. Keep it up!

  • oregon111

    for what its worth, I like the still picture format better for diagnosing plays since I can understand it better, but…

    aren’t we taking “homeland security” a bit too far — when we can’t have open practices, we dress guys for games who can’t walk down the street, and now there is no more short videos for the fans

    I can already see the next step…

    games played with no fans in attendance and stadiums covered by a large tarp – radio broadcast only

    • hokieduck

      This isn’t about Oregon secrecy (closed practices, no injury info). This is about $$$$… specifically Pac12 network $$$$. And it sucks. Thx for making do with the stills, CF. I miss being able to rewind and rewind and rewind the vids to see the “look” of the formation being discussed, however.

  • Central Ohio

    I miss the video, but you are still doing a great job!

  • Duckphil

    To paraphrase Charles’ end of article tag line: “Oh, how loved our beloved FishDuck videos.” While I would love to see the video breakdown of these plays, the photos are great and shows the technique and effect just as well.

  • FamousDuck

    The PAC12 ought to underwrite FishDuck analysis. Even hampered by having to use still photo shots, I understand more about how 2 GAP responsibility now, after reading your most excellent post, Charles.
    This is great stuff, given freely to Duck fans and other interested in becoming educated in other ways to look at our favorite game.
    I appeal to The Comish to allow and encourage this type of reporting; it definitely helps the PAC12 exercise its stated objectives.
    Further, FishDuck’s integrity in all things speaks ‘classy’ to all who would look.

    Good going, FishDuck!