Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mailbag question: The 3-3-5 defense

Posted at 4:00pm -- 3/25/2010

Mailbag question: The 3-3-5 defense


Thanks for your always-insightful analysis! I would like to hear your opinion of the 3-3-5 defense. Is it an effective way to take advantage of Michigan’s team speed on defense and make up for a lack of size? Or is it simply a gimmick that will not work against Big Ten power running attacks? Or is this something in between?


Fairfax Station, VA


Thanks for the question and comments.

Any defense can/will work with proper personnel and strong fundamentals.

Readers, please check out the three recent articles cited below by GBMW. Combined, the articles will provide you a more detailed plan and underlying tenets of the 3-3-5 defense that GBMW discussed.

Coach's Corner: Different Defense's -- The base alignment rules and personnel -- 3-3-5 Odd Stack. -- 2/24/2010.

Michigan Football Tidbits: Practice 2 Report. -- 3/19/2010.

Mailbag question: Defensive questions. -- 3/22/2010.

Defense is about controlling gaps, using proper technique, tackling, and pressuring the quarterback. A defense that can be successful in the above four tenets can be successful regardless of scheme.

The catch is some schemes are just not as effective against certain offensive schemes in general. There is no universal anecdote (one scheme) to counteract all offenses. A particular scheme may be necessary, but not sufficient in and of itself to be successful against all comers. In short, there are other factors that determine overall defensive success besides scheme, namely talent and great teaching.

The 3-3-5 is a fast defense, if a team does not utilize speed and play fast; the scheme stands a clear chance of failure.

Going to a three front makes a lot of sense to GBMW, Michigan has not successfully recruited the superior/elite level edge rushers necessary to be successful playing a four front. To play a 3-3-5 successfully, a team must play aggressively. It is the blitz packages and stunts that will serve to overcome the size and power Michigan will see in the Big Ten.

If one looks at Michigan's schedule, half the teams play a spread style offense. So having a 3-3 as a primary defensive component in the overall package makes a lot sense.

What will be interesting to see is if Michigan uses the 4-3 (front) under they used last year as the base and the 3-3 (front) for the nickel or dime package. Or will Michigan use the 3-3 as base and the 4-3 under as the change up?

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!


Anonymous said...

I agree that the D depends on the personnel and that there is nothing inherently wrong with any defenses per se... but hey have to be adjusted to the offense and personnel.

I do, however, disagree with this statement: "Going to a three front makes a lot of sense to GBMW, Michigan has not successfully recruited the superior/elite level edge rushers necessary to be successful playing a four front."

You make it sound like the 3 front is okay because of unsuccessful recruiting. Has it occurred to you that Michigan may have somewhat changed its recruiting strategy to fit the scheme it wanted. That maybe it more heavily pursued kids that were good for the 3-3-5 it had PLANNED on.

As a writer, your choice of words is really important.

GBMW Staff said...

Over the last few years, even predating Coach Rich Rod, UM has missed out on several potential high level edge rushers. Nick Perry comes to mind immediately. Plus, UM played a 4-3 under tackle majority of last season when they had an elite level edge rusher in Brandon Graham.

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