Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
This is part 3 of my 3 part series on the Oregon offense. Please refer to any of my plays in the previous post.
Part 3: UCLA's Defense vs. Oregon
As I have said, it has been a challenge to find flaws in the Oregon Offense. Of course, that makes sense. So, since Oregon literally has not shown any "real" flaws all year, I can't even credibly cherry pick. The only thing I can offer is a diagram or two. But the scheme should make sense none the less.
When Bullough went to Defensive Coordinator School (if that even exists) he learned about the Scrape Exchange. Very well documented, as always, here at Smartfootball.com; but I'll just go over the basics for you:
Here is a simple diagram of the base zone read play.
What is going on here is that the defensive end, now anticipating being read by the QB, busts his was into the left B-Gap to cut off the tackle who's original assignment was the backside backer. Since the QB reads the end crashing down, he keeps the ball, right into the "scraping" linebacker.
Oregon responded with plays like the Midline:
and the Inverted Veer to avoid the mixup. (See Part 1 for a better explanation) So the scrape exchange could be used with moderation.
So how do you go about stopping what seems like an unstoppable force? The answer and more analysis after the jump
It's easier said than done (no doubt), but the answer to any zone blocking oriented team is to get off of blocks. Spend less time thinking which place to go, and spend more time thinking how to get to a certain place. Remember, "Clouded minds = clouded feet," spend less time thinking, and more time focusing on instinct.
That's the mentality you need to face a team like Oregon. But again, easier said than done.
Strategy is another story; we've already gone over how the literal numbers game leaves the defense at a tremendous disadvantage, but when it comes down to the "last laugh," Bullough has the upper-hand, especially against a no huddle offense. That might make no sense right now, but bare with me.
When Chip Kelly (or who ever) makes his reads for a run play in the no huddle, they assume quite a bit about the defense. They make their changes if they see something else, but Bullough, if he can get creative like he did with Case Keenum, can have the last say as to how the play can be run. However, that means Bullough will have to be creative, and at times, a little aggressive with his run support, but more on that later.
I have yet to see a more appropriate scheme against a (potential) spread offensive superpower: Monte Kiffin's scheme against Urban Meyer, and Tim Tebow's Florida Gators last year. Guess what, it was very well covered and documented at SmartFootball.com
The 4-2-5 look wasn't really a 4-2-5 scheme at all; it was a 4-3 look that put Tennessee's athletes in the place to cover the running game, and the passing schemes all at once; something that Bullough must do if he wants to avoid letting Oregon put up 50 points on them.
But what about actual execution?
UCLA has to do one thing (which I bet they have been practicing all week in practice) and that is get off of blocks. Stanford, sure as heck, couldn't do it, but guess who did a better job at that than any other team so far this year? Washington State (playing against a Darron Thomas-less Oregon BTW). Oregon has one of the top offensive lines in the conference, and it shouldn't be an easy task, but the Spread Offense is extremely academic, so missed blocks, assignments, reads, aren't accounted for without "true" double-teams across the boards.
When a team plays another, more talented team, the former has to make the most of the latter's mistakes. And when the talented team has adopted the mother-of-all-mismatches offense, and has groomed the recruiting and the team to fit that offense, no opponent has an advantage against that talented team.
So what do I suggest for UCLA to do?
Put your top athletes in the prime position to make plays- on all levels. Sometimes, that means putting Akeem on the weak side, and let him make some freakishly amazing plays in the read game
But, Oregon has the ability to check away from him, and essentially taking him out of the game. So, it's up to the other guys. Like Abbott (N), who will be responsible for outside contain against LaMichael James. Westgate and Larimore, should get a workout as well, shooting gaps and fighting off of blocks (or taking up blocks) will cause Oregon to resort to the pass game, where the playmakers in your secondary can get a shot.
Also, UCLA needs to do this;
What is it? A 3-2-6? No. It's a simple 3-4 modified look (similar to what Monte did in some situations against the Gators, but I made 7/8 defenders respect the run first (red arrows don't mean blitz, just keys), then get to their zones, the corners manning up, then have the safeties in the deep halves.
Disguising the defense is key against the Ducks, as it is against any team. A base, flat footed look on defense will be flat out disgusting to watch on Thursday night
Remember, easier said than done when it comes to scheming.