Nice article. I posted some frame by frame pics last year of some situations where we lost gap responsibilities…guys initially doing their job but then decided to chase ball before they were absolutely sure that the runner wouldn’t cut back into their gap.
For some who aren’t very experienced…something I do when watching a game is to watch the strong side OG at snap…his first action or step will tell you where ball is going 95% of the time. This is what ILBs read initially…then through to backfield to locate ball.
The reason you need to pickup the ball is because of the other 5% or 10% of plays where the offense runs a draw, screen, reverse, counter etc. Offenses know that players on defense read keys…so they periodically run plays that mislead the defense…like pulling an OG in order to have the ILB follow him…most of time the ball follows pulling OG…but every once in a while the ball doesn’t follow pulling OG. Instead, ball is run back to gap the ILB vacated when following pulling OG…or offense play fakes and passes into zone that would have been covered by ILB . Tulane took advantage of Adams last year by using his aggressiveness against him. They had OG show block down to double NG and Adams filled inside B gap quickly only to have Tulane run a quick slant into area Adams would be covering. So ILB needs to make initial read and as moving based on that read, look to QB for ball…does he hand off, play fake etc.
My next comment will probably get me yelled at as I’m about to somewhat criticize Big Ed. This needs be taken in context. He is an amazing athlete and plays all out every play sideline to sideline. So why is this occasionally bad for the team?
Because Ed wants to make every play…and sometimes the D has it all covered and just needs Ed to hold his gap…because the D has covered every gap and Offense has no where to go. I’ll give you a specific example…
Score Tulsa 24 UH 17…10:30 left 4th quarter…Tulsa has 3rd and 3 on own 27. They run straight up middle. UH is in 4 man front …Ed head up on RG…on snap Ed steps into B gap and gets doubled by RG & RT but holds the line of scrimmage. The OC blocks other DT Chevis who is in A gap on opposite side of OC. Che is holds his gap as well. Both ILBs are unblocked and both come up to fill quickly.
So what could go wrong? If you follow me so far, this created a open hole between the OC and RG or the A gap on Ed’s side. Both Hines and Adams are gonna fill it unblocked and make tackle for 1 yd gain and force a punt. Ed is fighting double but looking for RB …he decides to spin…turning his back to los. The RB sees this and runs up where ED was…he and Adams are now in same gap. Hines makes tackle for 3 yd gain and 1st down.
Next play Garret Davis has WR held for no gain on quick pass and lets him go before whistle and he goes for 79 yard TD. We should have had ball back down 7 with 10 minutes left.
Ok let the attack begin lol.