Defense 101

As predicted (by me and everyone else) the WVU vs James Madison game was an easy and mostly boring win for WVU. I couldn’t even come up with a whole post about it, but here are some highlights.

  • Geno Smith became WVU’s all-time leading passer and thanks to Stanford upsetting USC, he’s officially the frontrunner to win the Heisman.
  • WVU is now ranked #8. This is also thanks to Stanford beating a team that was ranked above us. Well, that and the fact that we didn’t lose.
  • How about Stedman Bailey? I know I was talking up Shawne Alston last week, and he did a fine job against James Madison. But Stedman had 13 receptions, 3 touchdowns, and now leads all of college football in receiving yards per game.
  • Once again, I have some complaints about defense. Honestly, we shouldn’t have allowed the Dukes to score 12 points. But, that being said, I have no complaints about linebacker Isaiah Bruce. Remember I was saying someone needed to step up? Well, he did, with 9 tackles this game. Come to think of it, he did pretty well against Marshall too – he was the one who ran that fumble back for a touchdown.

Speaking of defense, let’s get to the real point of this post. As you know, (or maybe you don’t… in that case go check out the gridirongirl main site), our goal here at gridirongirl is to get ladies who don’t like/understand/care about football to come to their senses learn more about it so they can see how awesome and fun football is. It really is easy once you understand the basics, I promise.

If you break it all the way down, the defense has one job, and that is to keep the other team from scoring. This can be accomplished by tackling their quarterback before he even has a chance to throw or pass the ball (called a sack), by stopping a receiver from getting the ball once it’s been thrown or passed, or by tackling the fella with the ball after he’s received it, hopefully before hasn’t had a chance to run very far.

Unless you have a psychic on your team, you don’t know what sort of play the other team is going to run. Are they going to throw the ball? Will it be a long pass or a short pass? Is the quarterback going to hand it off to a receiver?

The idea is to be prepared for all of those scenarios. The defensive line is made up of defensive tackles and defensive ends – big guys who line up on the line of scrimmage. Their main job is to try to get to the quarterback. Next you have linebackers, who are basically more big guys who line up in the middle. Their job is tackling, preventing rushing plays, and preventing receivers from getting into a position where they can catch the ball. Then you have the secondary, which is made up of defensive backs (cornerbacks, safeties, and in some cases nickel- and dimebacks). Their job is to defend against pass plays, and they are usually smaller and quicker than the linebackers.

Remember when I was saying WVU is moving from a 3-3-5 defensive formation to a 3-4? Those numbers refer to how many players are at each position and where they are lined up. Without getting too complicated, it basically means some of our players have either changed which position they play or their position has stayed the same, but the players around them have changed.

The concern I’ve expressed about our defense isn’t necessarily about the change in formation or even the change in defensive coaching staff. It’s all of that change put together. Not only that, but the Mountaineers are going to be playing teams, good teams, they’ve never played before. That’s a whole lot of new and different going on for WVU this year.

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