Forward of the 2019 season, Clemson’s protection coordinator, Brent Venables, traveled to Ames, Iowa, to check Iowa’s 3-3-3 protection. The scheme was devised by Hurricane Protection Coordinator John Hickok as an antidote to the widespread, high-powered crime that dominates the Huge 12, and applications throughout the nation have been gaining success for ISU. Venables is likely one of the many defensive tacticians who’ve met Hickok on a 3-3-3 crash course in recent times.
Venables didn’t undertake Hickok’s protection as a major alignment, however has been identified to publish it when the scenario requires it. Now the pinnacle coach in Oklahoma, a type of conditions arose final week when the Sooners visited the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Dodge the record-breaking four-way Venables, the Sooners lined up at 3-3-3 virtually solely in a 49-14 win. NU’s offense was speculated to be the one a part of the staff nonetheless working as this system continued to capsize, however the Huskers failed miserably to string the drives collectively for the whole sport.
So what did the OU’s 3-3-3 appear like in execution versus the Huskers, and when would possibly the Venables and defensive coordinator Ted Roof use it once more sooner or later?
3-3-3 will get its title from the truth that it typically begins with a stack of three linemen and three linebackers and there are excessive security spots in the midst of the sphere. They’re joined by two pillars, in fact.
The above picture from the primary quarter gives an instance of how vacationers line up. On the line of defense, nostril sort out Jeffrey Johnson has defensive finish Reggie Grimes and Ethan Downs on both aspect. Inside LBs David Ugwoegbu and Danny Stutsman play about three yards from the ball within the gaps between the NT gamers and prime gamers. About 5 yards deep from the road of scrimmage, the third LB, DaShaun White, traces as much as the sphere aspect of the offensive formation within the alley between the slim finish of NU and the broadly divided indoor receiver. As well as, the OU showcases three excessive safety factors for Cornhuskers: Billy Bowman performs in the midst of the sphere, and Justin Broiles and Damond Harmon construct store round hashtags on opposing sides.
However why use a 3-3-3 in opposition to Nebraska and never a staff like Kent State?
It is potential that Venables determined to make a large overhaul of the ISU’s protection as a blueprint for the OU going ahead. That does not sound like his type, particularly in the midst of the season. At Clemson, use 3-3-3 as a change, and we are able to assume that is the plan now.
One other chance was that Venables felt assured that the OU may deal with a NU floor sport utilizing three-man fronts and lightweight working chests. This frees up a spot within the squad for an extra defensive again instead of a fourth line participant.
One other issue value contemplating: offensive tendencies. Nebraska’s offensive coordinator Mark Whipple seems to be keen on journeys and formations with three receivers to 1 aspect of the sphere. for instance:
Such a formation normally forces the protection to handle the imbalance in passing energy in certainly one of two methods. First, it could impose a mismatch between the receiver and what’s normally a weaker passing defender. An inner LB is likely to be referred to as for the man in opposition to the WR slot, for instance. Additionally, if the protection has to overburden one aspect of the sphere by shifting cowl gamers to defend a three-receiver look, it could be uncovered on the opposite aspect.
The three-3-3 group helps relieve a few of this stress. Within the picture above, NU locations three broadly divided receivers to the sphere aspect of the configuration. OU matches three gamers with protection – cornerback, security and SAM LB – huge. In the meantime, the Sooners nonetheless have cowl help out there from the Center and Border Reservoirs, who’re speculated to have set off switches to establish them as effectively.
A sensible wager for tilting the OU on Saturday with Kansas State is that the 3-3-3 D can be again on the shelf. The Wildcats play tough soccer, and so they love 12 people (one working again and two tight ends). This means that the Sooners will want a fourth DL to assist with the trenches greater than the extra DB will cowl.
However do not be shocked to see a 3-3-3 comeback once more sooner or later within the following weeks in opposition to TCU and Texas.