Defensive Post season thought

#28

pimo1

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#28
Agreed. I think the blitz options in each game were contingent on the health, experience, and availability of DBs, as much as on the ability to pressure with only four.

As our recruiting is increasing our athleticism at DE, I wonder if we'll see more zone blitz stunts over the next two years?
I think you bring up a point many people keep forgetting. Our secondary was banged up all season. Did anyone in the secondary start more than 9 games? EVERY week we had multiple starters out.
 
#29

hUTch2002

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#29
It’s the off-season, so it’s time to reflect. 11-2 was an incredible season and honestly, the. Most fun I’ve had watching college football in a decade…. At least!!

Defensive Thought:

Volnation, I noticed a trend with our defense this season upon further review. Throughout the season the defense was definitely the most up and down. I would say great games: KY, Clemson, even bama….. with horrible games South Carolina and Florida.

The trend I think I noticed, was the amount of aggressive blitz packages in the GREAT games vs the soft “make the QB beat us” zones in the horrible games. Anthony Richardson, was not a great QB but had arguably his best game against us… looking back it appeared that Banks implemented a soft zone QB contain gameplan, and Richardson made the throws. South Carolina, same thing. Rattler was not great all season… banks appeared to implement the same, soft zone, make the QB beat us plan… and rattler diced em up.

The Clemson game in my opinion, was a significant turning point for Banks philosophy moving forward. That was the type of QB, I almost expected banks to play soft and make him beat us with throws. However, Banks blitz the bejesus out of him and had him uncomfortable all night. It was also arguably one of the defenses best nights.

I’d love to see the analytics, but the eye test tells me…. Banks when he has the gas pedal down and applies pressure, we may have a top 50 defense.

Did anyone else notice this, or am I just orange tinted glasses this thing?
I personally believe you have some confirmation bias going. We blitzed a ton all year and did so to protect a bad secondary. At times we didn’t as you can’t blitz every single play but I heard on one broadcast late in the season they said we blitzed on about half our plays, which was second in the country at the time. You include Bama as a great game but outside of those first 3 Bama possessions where we got 2 stops, Bama scored on 6 of 8 possessions with one of those being the missed FG at the end. We got early pressure and then they started spreading us out more which made it a lot harder to disguise blitzes. SC did the same thing. The SC game we were getting burned when we blitzed and when we didn’t so that was an anomaly. I’d say Pitt was a pretty good defensive game, better than Bama for sure. The D gave up scores on 3 of the first 4 drives (the one stop was massive though as it was an interception in the end zone already down 10-0) but after that Pitt only scored on 2 of 9 drives while the offense sputtered in the second half. LSU was a great defensive game as LSU only scored on 2 of 9 drives and that score shouldn’t have happened as they benefited from a terrible 4th down penalty. LSU and Daniels got some yards but ultimately we got the stops when it mattered and that was the theme all year. It looked like all year we gave up underneath plays to teams and bet that, while they might get FGs from it and would rack up yards, it wouldn’t be good enough to keep up with our offense scoring TDs. I don’t think it was as simple as in our “good games” we blitzed more and “bad games” we didn’t. In fact, I bet there wasn’t a whole lot of difference except for maybe SC.
 
#30
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#30
If I remember correctly I believe Banks post game explained the Florida scheme as they were more concerned with Richardson's running than his passing and did not think he could beat them passing. But I also believe he underestimated how bad his secondary really was. As for the SC game, that's still a mystery we may never know what really happened. But even going into that game the SC O had sucked in all phases the last few games.
 
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#31

hUTch2002

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#31
If I remember correctly I believe Banks post game explained the Florida scheme as they were more concerned with Richardson's running than his passing and did not think he could beat them passing. But I also believe he underestimated how bad his secondary really was. As for the SC game, that's still a mystery we may never what really happened. But even going into that game the SC O had sucked in all phases the last few games.
And Richardson made some very nice throws that he typically didn’t make. That 4th down deep pass was something he completes I bet less than 10% of the time but he put that one in there beautifully. I’ve said it a million times and will say it a million more but that’s what tickles me. We usually get Florida’s best game and it’s enough to beat us even when it seems they shouldn’t. This year they played their best game, got some lucky breaks, their QB played the best he will ever play in a college game and it still wasn’t enough. I absolutely LOVE that!
 
#32

rocytop2624

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#32
I still believe our defense is one edge guy and one shut down corner from being really good. We dont have the secondary to blitz every play but we cant get pressure with 4 guys up front.

If we could eliminate one side of the field or their best receiver, that allows more guys to stop the run and hit the QB.

The Lenard Little type guy on the edge changes offensive game plans. He wasnt a generational type talent, but was really good at breaking plays down from the edge.
I haven't seen no one like Leonard little since him.
 
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#33

sechamp2012

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#33
I think you make a great point. I think not trusting his DBs was the biggest problem. When you blitz, you have to leave more guys in 1 on 1 coverage. But if you get home, it works.

I think we'll see some improved DB play next year. The DB development was highly stunted this past offseason when they were all hurt and couldn't practice. And the freshmen coming in will provide depth, competition, and perhaps start at some point.
I agree (injuries)with this, with so many different players in and out of groups communicating becomes jumbled and that can be devastating to a D backfield. Our Oline stayed healthy all year and grew as a group hoping that happens for the DBs next year. We will have some experience although some underwhelming results but that is still a factor in growth going forward.
 
#37
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#37
I think you bring up a point many people keep forgetting. Our secondary was banged up all season. Did anyone in the secondary start more than 9 games? EVERY week we had multiple starters out.
Plus, IIRC, our DBs were injured throughout spring practice. Note this post from after the O&W game was cancelled (emphasis mine):

Between Wesley Walker from GT, Dee Williams (JUCO), Christian Charles (converted safety that's done well), plus Turnage, Hadden, Rucker, Burrell, and Slaughter, there has to be at least 3 capable players in that group, right? Granted, only two of those players are actually practicing right now.
 
#38

DaddyChad

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#38
I still believe our defense is one edge guy and one shut down corner from being really good. We dont have the secondary to blitz every play but we cant get pressure with 4 guys up front.

If we could eliminate one side of the field or their best receiver, that allows more guys to stop the run and hit the QB.

The Lenard Little type guy on the edge changes offensive game plans. He wasnt a generational type talent, but was really good at breaking plays down from the edge.
Really have to have better safety play as well. Don’t get me wrong our corners were terrible but we had very limited occasional flashes there. Safety was freaking awful all year. McCullough had a play where he didn’t contest the reception then ended up tackling our own corner afterwards.
 
#39

pimo1

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#39
Plus, IIRC, our DBs were injured throughout spring practice. Note this post from after the O&W game was cancelled (emphasis mine):
Exactly. People are seriously overblowing the secondary issues. Honestly I think it was more health/consistency than anything else. If we have guys healthy next year we will be fine.
 
#40

KTrain

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#40
Count me as one who thought we were going to roll in there and beat them as bad, if not worse, than we did in 2021... In hindsight, that was not smart.
I remember flipping thru TV and stopping and watching a USCjr fan call in to Finebaum. His question was what chance to you give to USCjr beating the Vols. Finebaum's answer was slim to none. I think our fanbase coaches' players and media just let their guard down. Things went well for the Gamecocks early their fans got into it and as one poster said Rat got into a zone, Hooker gets hurt and unforced fumble that led to a TD on the injury adding insult to injury. It was just a perfect storm that probably wouldn't have happened 1 or 2 times out of 10 games played but that's why we play the game.
 
#41

sjt18

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#41
I'm still not buying on Banks. Still wait and see mode.

I agree that he didn't inherit an ideal roster. The losses on D in that first year hurt. Mitchell not being plug and play at LB hurt. Having to play safeties at CB a lot and especially this year hurt. That seemed to be especially true in the USCe game.

But comparable things could be said about the O and it has been stellar. The D just needed to be consistently "good" and could not hold up their end. On O, the Vols are exotic and ahead of the curve. On D... they're neither particularly creative nor really "great" at anything. There are teams that prove you can be a "great" zone coverage team without great DBs. There are high risk, high reward teams that do all sorts of exotic things to pressure the passer while taking a chance in man coverage.

The O immediately created an "identity". Can anyone actually say what UT's identity is on D after 2 full seasons?
 
#42

cherokeeeVOL

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#42
I'm still not buying on Banks. Still wait and see mode.

I agree that he didn't inherit an ideal roster. The losses on D in that first year hurt. Mitchell not being plug and play at LB hurt. Having to play safeties at CB a lot and especially this year hurt. That seemed to be especially true in the USCe game.

But comparable things could be said about the O and it has been stellar. The D just needed to be consistently "good" and could not hold up their end. On O, the Vols are exotic and ahead of the curve. On D... they're neither particularly creative nor really "great" at anything. There are teams that prove you can be a "great" zone coverage team without great DBs. There are high risk, high reward teams that do all sorts of exotic things to pressure the passer while taking a chance in man coverage.

The O immediately created an "identity". Can anyone actually say what UT's identity is on D after 2 full seasons?
To me their identity has looked kind of like the "high risk, high reward" option you mentioned. They rush the passer a lot and take the chance in coverage and they play off and really soft back there. They're very good at stopping the run and below average to awful in pass coverage.
 
#43

unfrozencvmanvol

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#43
It’s the off-season, so it’s time to reflect. 11-2 was an incredible season and honestly, the. Most fun I’ve had watching college football in a decade…. At least!!

Defensive Thought:

Volnation, I noticed a trend with our defense this season upon further review. Throughout the season the defense was definitely the most up and down. I would say great games: KY, Clemson, even bama….. with horrible games South Carolina and Florida.

The trend I think I noticed, was the amount of aggressive blitz packages in the GREAT games vs the soft “make the QB beat us” zones in the horrible games. Anthony Richardson, was not a great QB but had arguably his best game against us… looking back it appeared that Banks implemented a soft zone QB contain gameplan, and Richardson made the throws. South Carolina, same thing. Rattler was not great all season… banks appeared to implement the same, soft zone, make the QB beat us plan… and rattler diced em up.

The Clemson game in my opinion, was a significant turning point for Banks philosophy moving forward. That was the type of QB, I almost expected banks to play soft and make him beat us with throws. However, Banks blitz the bejesus out of him and had him uncomfortable all night. It was also arguably one of the defenses best nights.

I’d love to see the analytics, but the eye test tells me…. Banks when he has the gas pedal down and applies pressure, we may have a top 50 defense.

Did anyone else notice this, or am I just orange tinted glasses this thing?
Giving up 49 points is never a great defensive performance (Bama). Fortunately our offense won that game for us though.
 
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#44

sjt18

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#44
To me their identity has looked kind of like the "high risk, high reward" option you mentioned. They rush the passer a lot and take the chance in coverage and they play off and really soft back there. They're very good at stopping the run and below average to awful in pass coverage.
You may be right. But think about how much sense that makes. Our identity is that we're going to blitz and give soft coverage...? I really hope you're wrong about that being an intentional identity they tried to assume.

To me, it would have made sense to bring the heat and use the physicality of your DBs to prevent the easy stuff. But when a decent or even bad QB looks up and sees a 10 yard cushion then he has an easy play if he gets pressure.
 
#45

VOLINVONORE

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#45
I'm still not buying on Banks. Still wait and see mode.

I agree that he didn't inherit an ideal roster. The losses on D in that first year hurt. Mitchell not being plug and play at LB hurt. Having to play safeties at CB a lot and especially this year hurt. That seemed to be especially true in the USCe game.

But comparable things could be said about the O and it has been stellar. The D just needed to be consistently "good" and could not hold up their end. On O, the Vols are exotic and ahead of the curve. On D... they're neither particularly creative nor really "great" at anything. There are teams that prove you can be a "great" zone coverage team without great DBs. There are high risk, high reward teams that do all sorts of exotic things to pressure the passer while taking a chance in man coverage.

The O immediately created an "identity". Can anyone actually say what UT's identity is on D after 2 full seasons?
I am pleased with what the defense was able to accomplish the last two years, especially with the level of the available talent. There were a lot of holes which needed to be covered and I believe Banks did a very good job of doing it. We also suffered injuries on the defensive side of the ball which placed added burdens on our inexperienced players. We were fortunate that the D-line played as well as it did, and that the offense was able to score a bunch of points. With the defensive scheme Banks played, the defense was able to force some turnovers, and make a number of tackles for losses. Many of our defensive players played above their potential and we won 11 games last year. We were ranked as one of the top 10 teams for most of the last 7 games we played last year. I am also convinced we will have a better defense in 2023, especially when some of the new talent can gain some experience on the field. I look forward tour team in 2023 and their accomplishments.
 
#46

cherokeeeVOL

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#46
You may be right. But think about how much sense that makes. Our identity is that we're going to blitz and give soft coverage...? I really hope you're wrong about that being an intentional identity they tried to assume.

To me, it would have made sense to bring the heat and use the physicality of your DBs to prevent the easy stuff. But when a decent or even bad QB looks up and sees a 10 yard cushion then he has an easy play if he gets pressure.
I think the soft coverage was just the reality of the lack of speed on the backend of the defense. I'm holding out hope that he was trying to disguise that as much as possible by utilizing the strength he does have in the defensive line? Or maybe he's just not a very good coordinator and we'll be looking for a new one after next season. Either way this season should tell the tale.
 
#47

They

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#47
Giving up 49 points is never a great defensive performance (Bama). Fortunately our offense won that game for us though.
In general, yes. For that game I’ll have to disagree…. Bryce Young scrambled for his life and threw to spots and off platforms that were simply unguardable. The defense was very solid. 28 of those points bad d, 21 were just that dude being better than everyone else on the field
 
#48

sjt18

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#48
I think the soft coverage was just the reality of the lack of speed on the backend of the defense. I'm holding out hope that he was trying to disguise that as much as possible by utilizing the strength he does have in the defensive line? Or maybe he's just not a very good coordinator and we'll be looking for a new one after next season. Either way this season should tell the tale.
Agree on the latter part.

But if you have a guy who can't run with a WR then why not do it like Saban? Get on the LOS and put hands on the WR to throw off timing and prevent him from releasing at full speed? I may not understand everything but what they did much of the time doesn't make a ton of sense.
 
#49

sjt18

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#49
I am pleased with what the defense was able to accomplish the last two years, especially with the level of the available talent. There were a lot of holes which needed to be covered and I believe Banks did a very good job of doing it. We also suffered injuries on the defensive side of the ball which placed added burdens on our inexperienced players. We were fortunate that the D-line played as well as it did, and that the offense was able to score a bunch of points. With the defensive scheme Banks played, the defense was able to force some turnovers, and make a number of tackles for losses. Many of our defensive players played above their potential and we won 11 games last year. We were ranked as one of the top 10 teams for most of the last 7 games we played last year. I am also convinced we will have a better defense in 2023, especially when some of the new talent can gain some experience on the field. I look forward tour team in 2023 and their accomplishments.
Just not buying that he did as well as could be done with what he had. I'm not denying that they had less than ideal talent or didn't get hit with injuries. But the same can be said about the O. When the staff was hired, Banks seemed to have the most questionable resume. He had been the "co-DC" at Penn State but had not called plays.

I believe in Heupel. I don't think he will let a DC stop the Vols from success if Banks is the problem. But at this point... I just want to see proof that he can get it done.
 
#50

cherokeeeVOL

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#50
Agree on the latter part.

But if you have a guy who can't run with a WR then why not do it like Saban? Get on the LOS and put hands on the WR to throw off timing and prevent him from releasing at full speed? I may not understand everything but what they did much of the time doesn't make a ton of sense.
That's a good point and one that I don't really have a good answer for. Maybe he didn't trust their ability? No idea. Also, somewhat related, I'm not sure why our corners and safeties didn't turn around for the ball most of the season but that's probably more on the defensive backs coach than Banks.
 
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