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Why Chinander prefers the 3-4 Defense

What exactly gives us an edge in the 3-4 versus the 4-3 or other formations that is going to be specific to Nebraska we are trying to develop?
It's a Swiss Army knife defense: a tool for everything. It's dependent upon some very basic concepts that aren't complicated to learn, but how individual gameplans are developed to take away the other teams' strengths is incredibly cerebral. Coaches make calls based on risk/reward gambles, but all the players have to do is execute their part of it. Everything is built around lining up quickly and correctly while communicating and adjusting on the fly.

I can't say how it specifically fits Nebraska over specifically other schools, but I can say that it's going to be a fun, fast, big-play defense that gives every player a chance to showcase whatever skills he has. There's a place in this defense for super-freak athletes or overachieving hard-working guys. When the coaches have their scouting reports and gameplans in order, the players get to play fast and just do their job. I can't translate that into a catchphrase for you, but I can tell you that the simple summaries that you gave of the 80s or 90s Nebraska defenses are what we added after the fact. It wasn't like the coaches established a goal for an identity, and they recruited and coached to fulfill it.

In the 2019 season there will be a lot of discussion by BTN and similar media about the Nebraska defense and schemes, and they're going to struggle to describe it except to say that there's a lot that can be done with it (i.e. "it's complicated"), yet it's also fairly simple for the players to execute it, and they're going to have a hard time tying those two concepts together. The point that matters, though, is that it's going to be a good defense, and they're going to be talking about it, and kids as diverse as a NG like Nash Hutmacher from Chamberlain, SD, and a 4-star LB from Houston, Texas, and a 4-star CB from Atlanta, Georgia are all going to want to be a part of it.
 

MadRat

Recruit
2 Year Member
It's important to keep in mind Frost and Chinandler both talk the same language. The D scrubs get more reps against the top two offenses than anywhere else. You simply cannot burn precious time turning starters on D into scout teamers. So all of the coaches have to speak a common tongue so to speak. That 'Swiss army knife' approach is key for simulating other teams and deciphering the intent of opposing coaches. When top O goes against top D they run stuff for the benefit of both. You learn the language of the team as you play. So top O simulates a few looks using their common language. The top D returns the favor. Reps with the top units gives each a better look at their own weaknesses. An honest self assessment is absolutely critical to development.
 
It's important to keep in mind Frost and Chinandler both talk the same language. The D scrubs get more reps against the top two offenses than anywhere else. You simply cannot burn precious time turning starters on D into scout teamers. So all of the coaches have to speak a common tongue so to speak. That 'Swiss army knife' approach is key for simulating other teams and deciphering the intent of opposing coaches. When top O goes against top D they run stuff for the benefit of both. You learn the language of the team as you play. So top O simulates a few looks using their common language. The top D returns the favor. Reps with the top units gives each a better look at their own weaknesses. An honest self assessment is absolutely critical to development.
In addition to the personnel issues in the D-line, I think that this goes a long ways in explaining why we matched up poorly against the offenses of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, yet matched up very well against an Ohio State offense that was actually the best in the league. As I've mentioned before, I've done a lot of coaching at different levels over the years, and something that I noticed early on was that I was probably most useful as a coach running the scout teams because I took the time to explain the philosophy and concepts to the scout team players, so that they had a reasonable understanding of what they were supposed to do. What we noticed after a couple of years was that the guys who did the best job of mimicking what our conference opponents were doing were also the most adept at stopping it when they moved up to starting varsity. It will be to Nebraska's advantage to play against offenses that try to do some of what we do, especially if they don't have the depth or the speed to simulate how we do it. Once we crack the shell of stopping the ground & pound offenses, the burden will be on those teams' defenses to stop our offense.

Also, maybe it's come up in discussions somewhere here, and I've missed it, but the word coming out of the Michigan spring practices is that the new OC has scrapped everything from the past, and he's starting over with a spread, no-huddle look. I think that that is probably a sign of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy towards Ohio State, but it made me wonder what their practices look like. If you have an OC who wants to completely morph into something like what Nebraska or Ohio State or UCF is doing (I don't actually know what variant of the spread offenses they intend to run), but a DC who puts the "old" in "old school defensive coordinator" who probably doesn't want practices to operate the way that Nebraska's have been operating (full speed with most corrective coaching taking place by position during film time), it's going to fall on Jim Harbaugh to negotiate what the practice plans look like, and that seems like a wildcard. I expect more growing pains at Michigan, but I also expect that they'll finally match up better against Ohio State's offense by the end of the year. The irony, though, is that if Nebraska would happen to end up playing Michigan in the B1G Championship Game at the end of the year, they will have also made their offense easier for Nebraska's defense to defend.

There are a ton of online articles talking about the changes that they're making. Here's one: https://www.mlive.com/wolverines/2019/04/jim-harbaugh-remains-hands-off-with-michigans-new-offense.html
 

ColombianHusker

Throw the damn bones!
2 Year Member
MABC, awesome information. I feel we will do very well against the Blue and Bucknuts, as long as we beat the Ditch chickens and Cheese skunks. Would Frosty go old school on them and come out in old school I with a TE as a FB. I think they would brown their shorts!! Then switch back to spread and bury them?
Deep thoughts. Fun times!!
 
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jreb14

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
I think a traditional 3-4 is tough for colleges to run. You have to have a bull at nose tackle and lots of pressure is put on the defensive ends. I think we would be better in some gapping defense. I really think any defense works with good Jimmy and Joes. The defense is more about depth. You must be able to rest your dline or rotate you dline. Pressure can make any secondary look good and lack of it can challenge all but the best secondaries. I think we get pounded by the method we used to pound teams in the 90s. I like a power running game and a solid passing game. These high scoring spread offenses do not win championships. A solid defense will keep you in the game.
 

gardenjam

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
No, do you have a link? I've heard the explanation elsewhere, including by someone (possibly Chinander) on the Nebraska staff at the coaches' clinic a year ago, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to it at the time because there was so much else to take in.

It won't let me upload the specific episodes. I'm sure there's an easy way but I dont know how to do it. Scroll down in the link below to April 18, episodes 2 and 3.

http://www.1620thezone.com/unsportsmanlike-conduct-podcast/
 

gardenjam

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
In addition to the personnel issues in the D-line, I think that this goes a long ways in explaining why we matched up poorly against the offenses of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, yet matched up very well against an Ohio State offense that was actually the best in the league. As I've mentioned before, I've done a lot of coaching at different levels over the years, and something that I noticed early on was that I was probably most useful as a coach running the scout teams because I took the time to explain the philosophy and concepts to the scout team players, so that they had a reasonable understanding of what they were supposed to do. What we noticed after a couple of years was that the guys who did the best job of mimicking what our conference opponents were doing were also the most adept at stopping it when they moved up to starting varsity. It will be to Nebraska's advantage to play against offenses that try to do some of what we do, especially if they don't have the depth or the speed to simulate how we do it. Once we crack the shell of stopping the ground & pound offenses, the burden will be on those teams' defenses to stop our offense.

Also, maybe it's come up in discussions somewhere here, and I've missed it, but the word coming out of the Michigan spring practices is that the new OC has scrapped everything from the past, and he's starting over with a spread, no-huddle look. I think that that is probably a sign of the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy towards Ohio State, but it made me wonder what their practices look like. If you have an OC who wants to completely morph into something like what Nebraska or Ohio State or UCF is doing (I don't actually know what variant of the spread offenses they intend to run), but a DC who puts the "old" in "old school defensive coordinator" who probably doesn't want practices to operate the way that Nebraska's have been operating (full speed with most corrective coaching taking place by position during film time), it's going to fall on Jim Harbaugh to negotiate what the practice plans look like, and that seems like a wildcard. I expect more growing pains at Michigan, but I also expect that they'll finally match up better against Ohio State's offense by the end of the year. The irony, though, is that if Nebraska would happen to end up playing Michigan in the B1G Championship Game at the end of the year, they will have also made their offense easier for Nebraska's defense to defend.

There are a ton of online articles talking about the changes that they're making. Here's one: https://www.mlive.com/wolverines/2019/04/jim-harbaugh-remains-hands-off-with-michigans-new-offense.html

It sounds like it'll take time to implement the offense at Michigan.

“Contributing where we can,” Harbaugh said then. "He’s really good. He’s really good at explaining it and showing us how to coach it."
 
Thanks for the links. I listened, and, yes, that's what I'd heard before. It makes a lot of sense. It's probably the best way to do an apples to apples type of comparison.
 

Pops

I have squandered my resistance
10 Year Member
what ever he prefers. I hope it’s better than what has been shown
 
It sounds like it'll take time to implement the offense at Michigan.

“Contributing where we can,” Harbaugh said then. "He’s really good. He’s really good at explaining it and showing us how to coach it."
Between reading a bunch of articles on Michigan's switch in philosophy from a conservative ball-control offense to a no-huddle/hurry-up spread offense, and reading a lot of thoughts about Nebraska having done the same, it was striking to come across this article from the '83 season when we had the best offense in America, yet struggled to put a bad K-State team away in the 2nd half.

“We have to quit relaxing.” NU’s Keeler said. “We’re just a little too comfortable with leads. From a defensive standpoint, we might be taking the offense for granted.”

After the game, Osborne repeated a point he made last week: The defense needs to keep teams from controlling the ball against the Huskers.

“If we don’t stop people better than that, then we can’t afford to miss any scoring opportunities,” Osborne said.

Gill and his mates of the offense spent a lot of time on the sidelines waiting to go back in, but he said he can’t worry about the defense.

“I hope they get their stuff together,” Gill said. “We’re going to have some tough games down the line.”​

I hadn't remembered any of that until I read it again, just now. I thought it was interesting.

Read more: https://dataomaha.com/huskers/history/game/1983-10-29-kansas-state#ixzz5m1WB6f3L
 

MadRat

Recruit
2 Year Member
I never liked intentionally sitting on a lead and playing prevent. But no doubt it is also not a good feeling to be able to score quickly without controlling clock. When they added the 25 second clocks on scoreboards it really helped players visualize time. Otherwise we had a guy resetting his stop watch to guess. You really need to be able to control the opposing team's clock. 80% of the coaches are poor overall managers in some glaring way, with clock control being bad in most cases. These guys really panic in close games and we'd see many free scores at the close of the halves. Sometimes you squeeze clock to turn a 10-7 lead into 17-7. Sometimes they panic after that and in the last two minutes it goes 24-7. This is why I believe strategy from every imaginable angle is an edge. You want the other guy to crack under pressure first.

And 'oh, by the way', your defense controls clock. Tackling opponents in bounds during your leads can be as important as pushing them out of bounds when you want to stop the clock. I watch a half a game from 94 season last night and really appreciated how DBs and LBs shoved ball carriers out when it counted. It was beautiful seeing the guy plant both feet and power clean a wide receiver fifteen feet in the air to land out of bounds. That 94 defense had only two guys out there over 240 pounds, otherwise they were all long legged and quick fleet of foot. We haven't seen those little intentional feet movements yet out of Chin's D. But it was beautiful to catch a memory of how things used to be. The great plays came from everyone, because you could tell they drilled that behavior. That 94 team was so disciplined from so many directions, it was a true coaching work of art. The icing was how they slow played getting off opposing ball carriers to inhibit the hurry up. So dastardly! :)
 
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Uncle Buck

All Big 10
15 Year Member
It's a Swiss Army knife defense: a tool for everything. It's dependent upon some very basic concepts that aren't complicated to learn, but how individual gameplans are developed to take away the other teams' strengths is incredibly cerebral. Coaches make calls based on risk/reward gambles, but all the players have to do is execute their part of it. Everything is built around lining up quickly and correctly while communicating and adjusting on the fly.

I can't say how it specifically fits Nebraska over specifically other schools, but I can say that it's going to be a fun, fast, big-play defense that gives every player a chance to showcase whatever skills he has. There's a place in this defense for super-freak athletes or overachieving hard-working guys. When the coaches have their scouting reports and gameplans in order, the players get to play fast and just do their job. I can't translate that into a catchphrase for you, but I can tell you that the simple summaries that you gave of the 80s or 90s Nebraska defenses are what we added after the fact. It wasn't like the coaches established a goal for an identity, and they recruited and coached to fulfill it.

In the 2019 season there will be a lot of discussion by BTN and similar media about the Nebraska defense and schemes, and they're going to struggle to describe it except to say that there's a lot that can be done with it (i.e. "it's complicated"), yet it's also fairly simple for the players to execute it, and they're going to have a hard time tying those two concepts together. The point that matters, though, is that it's going to be a good defense, and they're going to be talking about it, and kids as diverse as a NG like Nash Hutmacher from Chamberlain, SD, and a 4-star LB from Houston, Texas, and a 4-star CB from Atlanta, Georgia are all going to want to be a part of it.
Man, you got me jonesing!
 
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