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  1. #1
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    Defensive philosophy question

    When I first heard that Jake McDonough was already being moved inside to DT, I really questioned the switch. I was really hopeful that Jake would give us that big pass rushing end we've needed in a long time.

    If you look at a lot of good teams across the country, their DEs are up around 260-275 lbs. Look at Iowa's over the years. We've had DEs that used to be LBs and are therefore on the small side. Kurtis Taylor was recruited as a LB, and Parker initially was thought to be a LB as well. Tyson Smith played DE and LB both.

    So when I heard that Jake was up to 265 lbs, I was thrilled to see we would be getting a big DE finally. The same for Cleyon Laing.... but he's already been moved to DT as well it sounds like?

    And then we go out and bring in a guy like Maggitt to play DE, and he wasn't even 200 lbs in his senior year in HS. I see he is up to 217 lbs now and hopefully he will be able to add some good weight because I think he can be pretty good.

    And then you look at our LBs. Some of our LBs we are getting would be considered safety size guys for schools like USC or Ohio St. I'm not saying they won't be good, but it just seems like our DE's are big LBs, and our LBs are big safeties?

    So then... here I am reading this year's Sports Illustrated college football preview magazine yesterday at the doctor's office, and they have a huge article in there about the "spread" offense and how it is dominating college football. They talk with Mike Leach of TT and he makes the comment that if you don't have speed on your defense... you cannot stop the spread offense. He comments on how they spread defenses out so much that you basically are getting one-on-one coverage all over the field and if their WR makes the catch and makes that one defender miss... then he's gone for the TD. And on their O-line, their linemen are spread out about 2-3 times wider than the standard offensive linemen would be. This means that the opponents DEs have a lot farther to go to get to the QB.

    So all of this leads to defenses becoming somewhat smaller and a lot faster. One guy they talk about is the DE Selvie from South Florida. I guess he was just a stud last year, but he's a 6'4" 245 lb DE. He's not the 6'4" 275 lb guy like Matt Roth was for Iowa. He's much more athletic and quick than he is big. So I think this may be the direction we are headed in as well?

    If Maggitt can get up to 240-245 lbs, then maybe he can become a dominant DE against the spread? And if our LBs are 215 lbs versus 245 lbs, then maybe they can cover the entire field better? Gone are the days of Big Ten trashmouth football where the biggest and strongest team wins. Look at how the undersized Applacian St and Oregon teams just destroyed the classic trashmouth Michigan team last season. Even the Big Ten is now becoming a spread league. Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, and now Michigan and eventually Ohio St with Pryor at QB will be running the spread. Iowa is behind the times somewhat... which I like.

    Is this somewhat accurate, or am I crazy?



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    I think you're right on. I just saw a special on ESPN a few days ago that is pretty much in line with what you stated. I kind of think we're seeing a second evolution of this. Years ago when Nebraska could get to the big game but couldn't win, Osborne went south and picked up the same basic philosophy with the defense - they downsized and upgraded speed - and won the NC game.

    The B11 is slowly making the conversion, but I also think you're right on that Iowa isn't. Nonetheless, as much as I hate it, my guess is that we'll see the B11 becoming more competitive over the next few years.


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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    Good post. I'd say that you're right on the money with your analysis. We'll just have to wait and see. Over the years, we've always had to take undersized players and beef them up to play a different position. I remember specifically that a Ames High grad who I knew fairly well, Charles Vondra, played weak-side LB and we listed him at 205, which was an extreme exageration. He played well, but got beat up badly almost every game.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    Highly interesting read, clonedude. For myself, thank you.

    I've wondered about the smallish size of some of our interior DLinemen, but maybe this is all in keeping with the essence of your post -- lighter defensive players in order to increase quickness and speed to combat the spread offense.

    On several occasions, no doubt many of us recall, Gene has talked about the need to upgrade the team's capabilities with quicker and more athletic student-athletes. Any coach wants to do this regardless of styles of play, but. . . .

    DT Chris Weir is about 270, and most of our other interior linemen aren't huge, either (well, Nate Frere is 300, and Michael Tate is about that big). Coaches Pelton and Bolt and Chizik talk about wanting to platoon the interior guys because they get hit a lot during a game.

    So, maybe the smaller DTs are by design, too, if that's what it takes to get the quickness necessary to attack the spread offense's offensive line splits and discombobulate the flow of the spread offense.

    Just wondering. . . .


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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    I think its a bit of a combination of the OP and what candg4ever said. There is a tendency towards smaller and faster, but at the same time, we don't get the pick of the litter at any position, so we end up going with undersized athletes and trying to bulk them up to the position we want them to play.

    Hopefully we can be successful at that, and then be able to get the more sought-after recruits that are already closer to the size/athleticism combo we're looking for.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    How would we defend a team that runs north/south? I've seen the Chicago Bears D struggle in this area; didn't Kent State and Oklahoma do this against us last year? We also should be able to defend short yardage running plays. Maybe there are specialists that could be called upon for certain games or situations. I just don't know if every 2-deep position should be recruited and manned to counter the spread offense.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    With more and more teams going to a spread and the D's getting smaller and quicker. It makes you wonder when the option will come back.

    A large powerful ground game could be dominate.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    A nice job performing analysis, however related to our specific situation and McDonough I think its way over thinking it. Everyone would love a huge fast defensive end, but related to our situation we have a much more pressing immediate need on the interior, since there are capable people on the outside with guys like Parker and Taylor.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    A nice job performing analysis, however related to our specific situation and McDonough I think its way over thinking it. Everyone would love a huge fast defensive end, but related to our situation we have a much more pressing immediate need on the interior, since there are capable people on the outside with guys like Parker and Taylor.
    I'll agree that there's some overthinking going on, but I think you're thinking in the wrong direction.

    I think the truth is partly that Jake isn't quite explosive enough to rush off the edge, and partly suspect that they expect him to be 285-290 after a redshirt--which wouldn't exactly make him quicker.

    Inside may be well stocked this season, but Wier, Tate and Frere are all upperclassmen. I'm sure that strongside end will be a huge priority this recruiting season (think "Delano Johnson"), but the position requires not only an anchor against the run, but someone who can get to the passer, and is quick off the edge.

    Hopefully someone like Alburtis or Slifka won't be forced outside next year. However, for right now, I think the interior is stocked quite well.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclonelifer View Post
    With more and more teams going to a spread and the D's getting smaller and quicker. It makes you wonder when the option will come back.

    A large powerful ground game could be dominate.

    Paul Johnson, the new Georgia Tech coach is installing his triple option offense there. I would imagine that if it works it will catch on.



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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    Quote Originally Posted by clonedude View Post

    So then... here I am reading this year's Sports Illustrated college football preview magazine yesterday at the doctor's office,
    Totally off-topic, but I think this is important. If your doctor has current magazines, be wary. I'm not sure he's a real doctor unless he has two-year old magazines!


    Dean Wormer was wrong. Fat, drunk and stupid was a great way to go through college (all five years of it).

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    Re: Defensive philosophy question

    Coach Pelton was just interviewed and said Maggitt was up to 230. Not sure how accurate that is though.

    Look at every LB in the big 11. They are 6'4" and 240lbs . A little too big to stop the passing that will go on in the big XII this year. If we had 3 Alvin Bowens...

    Berryman was about 220 lbs his frosh year and had about 85 tackles.

    Iowa might have 275 DE's, but their DT's are 280, not a lot of difference.


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