FanPost

The UCLA Defense's Great Weakness: Misdirection

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Bumped. - BN Eds.

There is no doubt that our front four (1st string and maybe even 2nd string) are good. With lots of NFL talent. But many are still upset about their lack of pressure/sacks/TFL.

I see this too. I also see a huge weakness that first showed itself during the Memphis game. I think the coaches watched the Virginia game and instantly knew they were outmatched. So they went with tons of misdirection plays. Left, right, screens, draws. It was constant and extremely effective.

Now everyone knows you employ this when you face a superior opponent. Basically, if you can't beat them man to man, you go around them. Memphis did this to perfection. And so has every team since then.

I haven't seen much improvement on this. Sometimes we pick up the screens but not always. When we push too hard the opposing team call a misdirection play. When we back off they get more time to throw. It's one of the oldest cat-and-mouse games in football.

It's the reason why (I think) backup QBs are able to exploit our defense so easily. If you feel the pressure do a quick dump to the flat. If you have time then find the player downfield. It's not that complicated and how coaches introduce new QBs to the starting lineup.

I'm not sure what Ulbrich can do about it. The players have to be able to recognize this in real time. Even if he calls the right play the players can still get fooled. Which makes me think practice is where we can solve this. Get the scout team to run constant misdirection - all day, all time.

And not just for the top players. Everyone in the defensive line rotation needs experience. I've seen some players pick it up, while another misses and the yards are given up. We could be talking about 10-20 players here.

I really think that if we solve this - the sacks and TFL's will come. To me those plays are always the result of good defense. Not the other way around. But my fear is that our players are going to try even harder for sacks - when that just makes the misdirection plays even more effective.

I really hope Ulbrich starts hitting this hard in practice.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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