A few weeks ago Dantonio made a throwaway comment during Minnesota game week about how the offense needs to "change with the times". I immediately put on my MSU underroos and began scratching out a speculative post about what the changes could be and started examining the Pat Narduzzi defense as a counterpoint to the Dan Roushar offense. What I found probably constitutes a quick post of its own.
Narduzzi's defense isn't brand-spanking new to football or anything like that, but, a little internet searching yields that the three Cover 4 Quarters defenses are MSU, Va Tech and OSU. There are a host of great posts all over the internet on how the Cover 4 works and how to beat it.
Here's the Reader's Digest version. The beauty of the Cover Four is that it doesn't require all kinds of different coverages against different formations. Each DB has their quarter of the field to defend deep, short out routes are covered by the linebackers, the defensive line is responsible for murderating the QB. The gem of the Quarters coverage is something else all together though, it's sneaky good at stopping the run. The key is that the safeties are able to play the pass or the run. So a formation is capable of turning into a nine-man front or a four deep coverage against four verticals in less than a second.
Lo and behold, lookee what I found on the internet.
And this guy's eating cheeseburgers and all of them can have fries....
Stunningly, Pat Narduzzi has elected to leave the guts of his pass defense philosophy off of youtube by showing us a fade against one Wide Receiver against Purdue or maybe even Western. You can glean a few things off of this though. The first is that MSU's corners will always be a bit susceptible to the deep ball, the corners are left in single coverage by design because the odds of even completing the pass are so low. Second, Narduzzi talks a bit about how by the tight end releasing the coverage snaps from a Cover 2 to a Cover 4 on that side of the field. This again highlights how the defense can morph in a second without changing alignment.
Glossary Of Terms
G Front - strong DE 9 tech, strong DT 3 tech, weak DT 1, weak DE 5 technique
I Front - strong DE 9 tech, strong DT 3 tech, weak DT 1, weak DE 5 technique
Over Jam Front - strong DE 6 tech, strong DT 3 tech, weak DT 1, weak DE 5 technique - the above illustration shows the 6 gap as lining up to the left of the TE. Duzzer is talking about them playing <sobchak>eyeball-to-eyeball</walter sobchak voice>. Obviously it's the job of the strongside DE to Jam the Tight End in the Over "Jam" front.
Over Cage Front - strong DE 9 tech, strong DT 3 tech, weak DT 1, weak DE 4 technique
Hiding the Gaps - Have you ever seen Bullough come up to the Defensive Tackles right before the snap and smack them on a hip and watch them move over a foot two? He's changing their gap. They still might end up coming through the A gap, but for whatever reason he wants them lined up a 2 instead of 1.
Red Bull- The currency used for barter in Narduzzistan.
I just thought this was a nifty insight on how the gap responsibility of defensive linemen works. Despite not changing A, B or C gap in some circumstances which shoulder you lineup on changes based on which side of the field they're running to.
I also found a bit of Roushar video.
I kid, I kid, but seriously, more on this later.
It gets better! Narduzzi has a DVD out on his defense. Yes, that's right you, the proud fan can learn the ins and outs of the Quarters defense. You can even do it while watching an MSU game on another TV in your house. Anyway, I just thought it was interesting and thought you might too.