From Georgia: Watch Dan Lanning’s ‘Simulated Pressures’

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Analysis

Coach Dan Lanning brought some Georgia blitzes with him to Oregon, and Duck fans are going to see more of them in action this next season. Because the 4-2-5 MINT defense that Lanning likes to run was in a transitional stage between aligning the right talent with the assignments in 2022, the need for applying pressure without leaving the secondary out on a limb was paramount. Let’s take a look at how Lanning and DC Tosh Lupoi put the exalted “Simulated Pressures” into Oregon’s playbook.

The classic five, six and seven man blitzes by Oregon were not creating the pressure hoped for, thus Oregon’s defensive coordinator opted for dropping seven into coverage and rushing four at a time. Where the ‘Simulated Pressure’ came into being was the surprise element of not knowing where the pressure was coming from. Thus overloading a side with four blitzers can seem like six rushers to an opposing quarterback as it is happening so quickly.

Hence the name, as the rush is from four defenders–who simulate more pressure than they are actually applying. At Georgia, the Bulldogs got a ton of sacks as they perfected this tactic and opposing offenses had no idea where the blitzing was going to attack them from. We have a superb example on a big third down in the Holiday Bowl versus North Carolina that contains all key components that Lanning relies upon.

The Ducks send four, but all on one side. (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

At the top of the screen above, we see the defensive back who is covering the slot receiver is looking at the quarterback, as he intends to be one of the blitzers. In Lanning’s 4-2-5 MINT defense, this fifth defensive back is called the STAR, and is one of the three freak athletes needed to make this defense effective. Between defeating blocks in the run game, and covering like a corner–this defender needs to be a superb blitzer as well.

You see three others above who have green dotted lines and arrows indicating their plans to rush the quarterback including two defensive linemen, and one inside linebacker blitzing. But note that one defensive lineman, (Lemon yellow arrow) is not going to blitz, but slide over on the line of scrimmage. (More on that in a minute) Then we see the JACK linebacker, (a second of those freaks needed in this defense) with the orange dotted line/arrow above who will also forgo the blitz, and instead will move back into the shallow-middle pass defense zone.

This simulated pressure was executed to perfection! (Screenshot from Fox Sports Video)

Good gosh, is that a perfect screenshot above for analysis or what? You see the four green arrows of the rushers who are making the timer in Tar Heel quarterback Drake Maye’s head go faster than usual. The orange arrow above points to the JACK linebacker who has gone into the hook passing zone, and is watching for the “hot” receiver the quarterback will be looking to zip the ball to.

The lemon arrow above is Brandon Dorlus, who is actually “spying” the quarterback, because Maye was sneaky fast and had already made some big plays running for first downs.  Pressure on the NC QB from the left, and have a spy waiting in the weeds on the right? This is a good plan!

Dorlus is an experienced, savvy player who read the quarterback’s eyes and made the play, but everyone gets credit for their part. The secondary had to hold up, the rushers had to apply enough pressure to speed up Maye’s decision, thus Dorlus was in position to make a tackle if the QB broke the pocket, or surprise everyone as he did.

The Ducks return a very experienced defensive line and have bolstered the secondary for 2023 through the portal. Hence I believe we will see a TON more pressure on opposing QBs this season, and I invite your thoughts on this in the forum-with-decorum.

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

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

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