Bassa’s Perfect Blitzing Technique in Holiday Bowl

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis

Watching the development of players is one of the smaller rewards of college football that is satisfying and part of our overall enjoyment of the sport. We see players break-out each year, and while that occurred a few years back for Jeffrey Bassa, when he moved from safety to linebacker–it was fun to see his exciting sack from perfect blitzing technique in last year’s Holiday Bowl.

Let’s break it down, and while there are more screenshots than usual–this truly is an article that will take you only two minutes to read. (And perhaps learn something!)

The Blitz path for Jeffrey Bassa. (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

Jeffrey Bassa in an inside linebacker, the MONEY linebacker in Coach Dan Lanning’s 4-2-5 MINT defensive alignment he brought from Georgia. This is one of three positions in this MINT defense that requires a near-freak of an athlete. This MONEY spot is only one of two inside linebackers, thus he must hold up well in the run defense, yet be able to cover running backs out of the backfield step-for-step.

The final requirement is being able to blitz effectively, and we will see an example of that with the blitz path Bassa will be running shown above.

Tar Heel Guard makes an error to begin. (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

The sack is set up by the speed of Bassa approaching the offensive guard for North Carolina (above) and as he darts inside–the Tar Heel attempts to strike the shoulder pad of the Oregon linebacker, but uses his right arm to hit across to Jeffrey’s right shoulder.

Bassa pins the right arm inside as the first key element in the sack. (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

Bassa was wearing a club on his injured hand in this game, and thus could not grab anything. However he uses his left club hand (above) to pin the right arm of the guard inside, as this is the first major technique component that makes the sack happen. This is what defenders strive to achieve; get an arm pinned, and this is what offensive linemen are trying to avoid on every pass play.

A darn sweet swim move by Bassa. (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

Bassa uses his left club hand to pin the offensive guard’s arm inside, (red arrow above) and proceeds to sweep his right arm (green arrow above) over the top of the Tar Heel in what is called a “swim move” by pass rushers. This example is just perfect, and executed in a blink of an eye.

I first ran the play in the video above at regular speed to allow you to appreciate how quick Bassa was with getting to the quarterback. Then I ran the play slowed down in order to appreciate his pass-rushing technique, and the resulting sack.

This does not get any better, and is an example of not only great technique, but demonstrates the benefit of all the hours of practice. Remember seeing video of defensive players running by a standing dummy, and knocking it to the side with a strike of the off-hand from where the rusher is approaching?  That drill helps them to hone their skills to the refinement and speed of what you see above from Bassa.

Oregon returns a very savvy, experienced defensive line and linebacker corps, thus I believe you will see sacks like those above much more often in 2023. Let’s discuss in the forum-with-decorum, because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Screenshot from Fox Sports Video

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