Mailbag question: Linebackers in pass coverage
Why was Obi Ezeh lined up covering the RB all the way out to where the CB usually is? We had both CB's on the other side and one of them wasn't even on a receiver I don't think?
Will the coaches ever learn that Obi cannot cover in passing situations? We have had 3 DC's in 3 years and all of them still rely on him to cover somebody and it has killed us for these 3 years.
I remember, what seems like many moons ago, in English's defense seeing our LB Graham covering one of the best and fastest wr's in the country against OSU because he was lined up in the slot position, and against PSU this reminded me of the same deal all over again.
Thanks for the question.
This coverage, which looks strange, is part of Coach Robinson's (any many other defensive coordinators) zone blitz packages.
The inside linebackers replace a safety or an outside linebacker in coverage if one or both blitz.
Coach Robinson is also a disciple of Monte Kiffin and his version of a cover 2 secondary coverage.
It is similar to the Tampa 2 where if #2 or #3 receiver goes vertical down the middle of the field the inside linebacker or middle linebacker in Tampa 2 goes vertical with them and has deep coverage responsibility.
Penn State took advantage of this several times and look for other teams to continue this pattern, especially if they have the right player to match-up against our linebackers.
Our linebackers, as we have been preaching for sometime are not very good in pass coverage, but it is what it is, and the fact is to fix the problem UM needs to recruit, recruit and recruit better and more talented defensive players and ones that can come in and help this defense right away.
The last statement here is a fact of life in defensive football. A zone blitz can look magnificent with the right calls and outstanding talent. The zone blitz, like any defense can be beaten with good calls and good match-ups.
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Written by CoachBt and ErocWolverine