Replay Film Review: Defensive Backs and Pressure

So I was finally able to re-watch the game, and I watched it specifically focusing on the DLine and DBs the entire game

It’s a long post so I’ll just give a super short summary::

  • Watkins for CB1 -but I think that already happened

  • We brought pressure all game, stop saying we didn’t

  • We just couldn’t handle the pace; our defense wasn’t as bad as it looked

  • Our O-line played great but collapsed in very crucial moments

  • Offense played into the loss (read the “missed opportunity” part before you attack)

General notes:

Pass Rush

This game our defense played over 100 plays, I counted how many times we brought less than 4 players, the answer is 3…yes, 3 out of a 100 plays (edit: manster54, noticed a few more i didnt notice, but the point still remains, it was rarely ever less than 4)

We brought pressure and it was actually effective in the 1st half. Turner collapsing on techs qb (who is super tall) made him overthrow twice, and Turner even deflected a pass. tech had 2 holding calls on Ed Oliver all in the 1st quarter alone because they couldn’t stop him.

  • note: Tech had 4 punts in the 1st 6 drives. We were only a minute into the 2nd quarter at that point to elaborate the insane pace, and to show we were actually effective until we got tired

  • I also want to note in Kingsbury’s post game presser, he notes that our D-Line was owning them, but they had run 58 plays in the 1st half alone and that he knew we couldn’t keep it up. Also, tech released a “sights and sounds highlight” of the game, it shows Kingsbury screaming that “tech’s sideline is in the shade and Houston’s is in the sun and to push the pace and ware them out”

Lack of pass rush in the end was tiredness, not scheme

Missed opportunities and we played into their hand

The longer you play an air raid, the better their offense gets (wearing defenses out). This was evident in the keenum years, we’d have 7 points in the end of the 1st quarter and finish with 72…

We have a better defense than tech, so they pushed the pace to ware us out, and then we also pushed the pace to score…

With our better defense the time for us to win was in the 1st half, with fresh legs on defense but we never took advantage. They punted 4 of their 1st 6 drives, but we kept them in it till the point our defense got worn out. and crucial breakdowns in the o-line played into it

  • the 3rd down and short with bryson and the wildcat (zero run lanes), on 3rd and 5 tech only brought 3 vs our 5 oline & TE and still collapsed the pocket & almost sacked king (forced a rushed throw). Couldn’t covert on 3rd and 2 on a run, on the next play Corbin dropped the ball on 4th. We were moving the ball but failed to covert on 3rd and shorts.

Had we slowed the pace in the 1st half, or scored when we were forcing them to punt (putting them in a big hole) this would have been a completely different game

Pace

The defense honestly didn’t look bad till the last 2 tds in the 1st half. Tech’s pace , which was insane killed us, and it was obvious we were tired at that point. We weren’t even lined up properly for most of those drives, there was always just someone wide open. It was for sure pace as both drives stalled late (an injury in the 1st and a chain malfunction in the 2nd) literally after the little break tech struggled to move the ball (second wind), and only scored on both because of penalties

The Defensive Backs: A Film REVIEW

Alex Myres – who is 5’10 and has limited speed, was covering Vasher 6’6 all the 1st half. That was a HORRIBLE IDEA. they ran 1 identical play over and over on crucial short yardage plays, and myres could do nothing (listed below). Vasher ran a quick slant and they just threw the ball in front of vasher where only his 6’6 hands could reach. It was pitch and catch

  • Many hits to prevent long yardage
  • 3rd down conversion on vasher (early 2nd) /4th down conversion mid second/ end of half TD
  • Myres had a Huge hit on 3rd down to force a drop
  • injured at halftime, comes back in the 4th
  • Misses a WR tackle very badly (slides far away) on a play for a 3yds, that ended up being 12 yds in the 4th

Kadarian- him and vasher were yapping all 2nd half, The youngster has some spirit

  • Came in after myres was injured
  • Slipped while covering vasher, 25yd gain
  • defended vasher all the 3rd & 4th. Vasher wasn’t targeted at all after the switch (besides the slip and when he first came in). not sure if that means anything

Johnson- Wesley was way too skilled of a WR for the inexperienced Johnson, Wesley caught him with footwork so many times

  • Caught on a move by Wesley 1st quarter for A big play
  • Pulled WR jersey for PI (early 2nd)
  • Caught by Wesley on a move for a td
  • PI call Johnson on a crucial red-zone play at the end of the second half, put ball at the 2
  • Did not see him play from mid 3rd to the end of the game (was demoted or injured)

Anderson- I guess not being noticed much in a film study critical of DBs is a good thing

  • Personal foul on crucial 3rd down stop (responds to some trash talk with a shove), gave them a 1st and goal

Watkins- I like Watkins as our top CB even though he migh not have top end speed. even when he was scored on, you could tell it was the WR just making a great play and not just pitch and catch (like the last td, his hands were in front of the WRs hand and it was still caught), and he makes a lot of plays

  • Missed tackle on the 60yd td on what should have been a 5yd play (1st)
  • A Failed set up- he purposely let the wr run by him in short yardage and was staring right at the qb like he knew he’d take the bait (which he did), but he couldn’t make up the ground when the pass was thrown
  • Watkins was beat by vasher for a TD, but stopped vasher twice the 2 plays before the score (early 2nd)
  • Big time pass breakup on 2nd and goal at the 2
  • Beat on a 50yd bomb early 3rd quarter
  • Huge PBU in early 3rd quarter on 3rd down (tech could have gone up 3 scores)
  • Deflected pass, but the wr still caught it (early 4th)
  • Was scored on for the last td, but he had great coverage
  • Might not be elite but he’s the best we got

Joeal

  • big 3rd down break up in the 4th quarter

Sprewell

  • Stopped a run for negative yards
  • Missed tackle on the 60yd td on what should have been a 5yd play (1st)
  • Lots of tackles

Linebackers

  • Emeke- pretty good in coverage had a nice pass break up
  • Robinson had a bad missed tackle early 3rd that should have been a 3yd loss on the rb, that ended up a 15yd gain (That led to a 2 td lead)

Overall: our defense isnt as bad as we looked, we tried to out pace a team built for the pace, on a roster who has never played a game like this before, and it bit us…

I want to see our pass rush versus a team that isnt dinking and dunking who holds the ball (reading progressions). Ill get hate for this but it honestly felt like we were getting to the qb kind of quick (the 1st half), he was just getting rid of it quicker

Our DB unit isnt good, that isnt changing this year, but adjustments can be made. I like Watkins at Cb one, I think he already is from the end of the Tech game, but the Texas Southern depth chart doesn’t reflect it (but that depth chart also says Stevenson isnt the full starter, so not sure to believe that)

There is only 1 team in the aac that pushes pace like tech (not including us) and that is UCF, so I don’t expect many replicated performances

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Awesome breakdown. Also wondering if our quick scoring offense plays into tiring out our defense. If we’re scoring within 3 plays, doesn’t give much time for the defense to rest or regroup. Maybe they can take it down a gear or two? I think you noted that but it is point worth repeating.

Tech’s WR height was a killer too.

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pesik, thank you for your analysis. We did play t-tech last year. As you mentioned if there is one offense we know in our sleep it is Kingsburry’s. The way to stop this offense is to slow it down (as you mentioned) or disguise our pressure(s) That goes obviously with tackling. We did not do either.
We knew that trying to match up their offense was going to come to strength & conditioning. Again we did not match up. We had this game penciled a year ago. This is then telling me our Team was not prepared enough. Trying to engage in a track meet was not only the wrong idea but it also exposed major miss matches. You very clearly pointed them out. I took the Iowas State game as an example. Against us t-tech knew what we were doing all along. How much did D’Onofrio try to tailor his defense for the t-tech plays? He only knows. That clearly was not enough. That is probably the most disappointing point for me.

If you listen to Major’s press conference this week, he gets asked this question. He says point blank that it’s the offenses job to score points. He basically implied its up to the defense to stop them. So there’s that…

if we played ucf that has to be the game plan…but every other team we might play this season. pace benefits us more than them…

tech regularly does 100 offensive plays a game, this pace benefits them more than us, they were very accustomed to it…i checked, everyone else on our schedule is closer to 70, for the rest of our schedule pace benefits us more than them

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Slowing down too much is a risky proposition. Our offense is built on pace, which is predicated on not giving the defense a lot of time to figure out what you’re up to for the next play. I do think we can afford to slow down some in certain situations. I’m thinking mostly 3rd and short. I just don’t see the need to sprint to the line and snap the ball as quickly as possible in those situations. This year we have the athletes on offense to beat defenses straight up without having to rush plays like that. So, in those situations, let’s get to the line quickly, but give DK a chance to read how the defense is set up and run a play that will get the 2-4 yards we need for a first down.

As far as the defensive analysis, great work @pesik. This is somewhat encouraging. While I don’t disagree about sending 4 vs 3 guys, the way we sent the 4th is what I take issue with. It was often a linebacker or safety beginning his blitz from 7-10 years off the ball. I haven’t gone back to watch the game, but I remember very often that delayed blitzer just running straight into an offensive lineman or not getting there nearly in time to cause the QB any angst. To my layman eyes, that is completely pointless. Not only are you not causing any chaos in the backfield, but you’re also completely removing a guy from coverage. If you’re going to send that guy in, put him on the line or out wide instead of from his normal position on the field.

With that said, we need to use any garbage time available to us the rest of the year to get our backups in the secondary game time reps so they will at least be serviceable enough to give our starters a breather occasionally. We will certainly need it for UCF at the very least.

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He is brilliant !!

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Of course the front 4 brought pressure.

We need some pressure from some of the back 7 and tighter coverage from the corners.

Bringing pressure and leaving the receivers uncovered for 10 yards equates to NO PRESSURE !!

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This all tells me we just didn’t have the depth.

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Pesik,
Great job!!! I have been watching game over and over and you are seeing same things.
I get that most on the board don’t have the time or patience to rewatch these games. Or maybe just not desire to do so. Or are casual fans and don’t get X and O’s.
You can’t go by what you saw watching live! Because you are following the ball…we all are…and because someone was open doesn’t mean they played soft.

Pretty much spot on. I did what you did play by play and wrote notes. I was hesitant to post because don’t feel like arguing with people who are angry and don’t really care why.

Did you notice how bad TT holds???
How many not called? They called a bunch.
There was a late one where Kad Smith was held by WR…they called it…TT had 2 other guys holding on same play.
I’m thinking that they are teaching it. And realize that refs will only call so many so they deal with it. Benefit of holding each play outways few actually called…thoughts?

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Spot on! I watch games several times and slow mo, rewind. I come on here and actually start doubting what I have found because of the anger and people just don’t care why…so easy to just say coaches suck.
Don’t get me wrong coaches need to fix it and need take responsibility, but it’s not just a scheme thing.
250 to 300 yards is missed tackles and blown assignments.

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This is big issue. I read a whole study of the affect of Offense pace on your own defense. It was done by UT sight few years back when Strong increase UT off pace and defense regressed.

As I stated in another thread…Baylor DC Bennett gave up 37 pts per game in 2011 and 2012…first two years under Briles’s .

I heard UH D was getting IV’s during game…anybody witness? Never showed on TV…were they in tent…going in and out?
These first 3 games all been in Texas Sept heat and over 90 plays each for D.

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@manster and @pesik, interested in your take on this. Were my eyes deceiving me or was this really happening?

The issue isn’t scoring in 3 plays, it would be the 3 and outs. If you score, then there will be the extra point, most likely commercial break, then kickoff (although some starting D players may be out there). As another poster mentioned, the rushing to snap on 3rd and short is not smart unless we clearly have an advantage. One thing I think we will see King get better with is being able to read the defense and audible out of plays. More plays where we line up fast to prevent subs, but take time to read the weak spot and either have King or Briles call a new play.

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Pesik thank you for the review. Lot of factors went into this loss you summed it up well.

CMA mentioned in the Monday presser the pass rush was doing its job more than it looked. Bowman was just getting rid of the ball very fast so he must have saw that on film too.

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not counting the 1st quarter, and the chambers sack, honestly non of the blitz were effective, he gets rid of the ball so quick…and our guys started to get tired

i agree that the delayed blitz made no sense with him throwing the ball so quickly. but at the same time i dont remember a play where it bit us (he attacked where the blitzer came from). and with tech scoring at will and that point trying different things isnt as big an issue

like i said i really want to see our pass rush vs a non air raid offense…i honestly felt we were getting to the qb kind of quickly, a recurring theme i remember when watching was “if he had held the ball a second longer thats a sack”…and the only sack in the game was probably the only time the qb second guessed himself, he wanted to throw it someone started his motion, changed his mind and the moment he locked he brought the ball back down he was sacked

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i agree, the 1st half they were just holding the oline, it honeslt didnt feel like they were blocking, but simply stalling enough for the qb to get it off

and a notable hold that i noticed, in the mid 3rd quarter, when henry (Their rb) scored the to put them at 48

it was a 15yd td run, that should have been a 1yd run, robinson should have tackled him at the line, but their oline #73 pulled robinson back by him arms

you cant block from behind without holding,…its at the 2:15 mark…

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When 4 go it is usually either Egbule or Godfrey. Parrish played a bunch and got good pressure and forced a hold which was called in first quarter.
When he brings 5 it is usually one of OLB mentioned above and an ILB.
Or 3 DL plus Godfrey who is on los and then say Egbule from slot.
He will also bring 5 as follows…3 DL along with OLB and a slot defender from same side…usually Joell Williams. So over load. We got good pressure with this.
I am going to post some screen shots of holds that weren’t called…I’m not making excuses…I have never seen such blatant holding…the refs called a bunch but a lot were missed or ignored because they don’t want throw flag every play.
Other games I have seen CMD zone blitz. Chambers actually got his 3rd sack vs Rice when he was covering flat. QB got flushed and Chambers chased him out bounds…easiest sack he will ever get.
In regard to “slow delay blitz” you reference…I will give best explanation I can think of based on seeing it past 2 seasons.
First CMD does often bring a safety off edge as run defender. I saw Anderson make adjustment…we were in Cover 2…he called Cover 1 and Sprewell creeped up…missed TFL in backfield. Anderson was used very heavily for this case Rice…tight formations and run a lot.
Back to delay…he used T Williams in this capacity last year.I think it is as a flat defender primarily with an option to continue off as edge if no receiver or RB comes out to that side. Also as defender vs QB getting out of pocket. My best guesses…I don’t think it’s intended or thought that he’s gonna get there for sack. It’s more a switch in coverage…safety kinda drops like in Robber coverage. Always seems come from side not up middle.
I will give you example from TT game.
UH is down 42-35. TT has 1st 10 own 30. CMD calls Cover 3…So both CBs are playing bracket cover on #1 WR to their side. Anderson has deep middle. CB has play WR man if goes vertical. UH was in Cover 2, Anderson change to Cover 1 when sees formation change. Sprewell starts creep down toward box on field side or wide side as ball is on hash. TT has Tripp’s to field or wide side. Single WR boundary side #4 vs Watkins who is in press right on los.TT runs play action faking run into boundary . Sprewell has no one to cover as QB starts rolling to him…he never comes up…he’s looking side to side like he’s seeing if receiver comes into his zone. Watkins runs 60 yards with WR to other side of field but gets beat for 57 yards. He can’t be blamed for this. Sprewell could have forced throw away.

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They held Robinson and Anderson on that same play!!! I’m gonna post some shots later.

2002Coog…this cut up of above situation i described. Its a little different than the “delay blitz” you asked about yet a great example of UH being in a good call but lack of execution hurting the D.
IMG_1419
So Sprewell has just moved up after Anderson switch to Cover 1 from Cover 2
IMG_1420
Ball is snapped and run action to boundary
IMG_1421
QB rolls right and Sprewell moves up…he needs be rushing him!!!
IMG_1422
He is actually looking to his left…his head is turned
IMG_1423
Now looking back to right…you can tell progression frame by frame as WRs get further downfield. Sprewell is on TT 32 yd line
IMG_1424
As Bowman releases under pressure from Robinson, Sprewell has actually backed up!!! he’s on TT 34 yd line.

This is what happens when you have a young guy whose afraid of getting beat around corner…Davis would have attacked this instantly and sack or thrown away. Hopefully 21 will handle it better next time he sees it.

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