1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

CL34's 2nd Half Oregon State Defensive Pressure Schemes (Gifs)

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Darth Snow, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

    Feb 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    As per some comments in the other thread, this post will examine a scheme that OSU employed in the second half to generate pressure and mitigate Liufau's scrambling ability.

    Throughout the early part of the season, Liufau when faced with pressure would tuck the ball and scramble out of the pocket. He would not be looking to throw and at times would miss open receivers for potentially bigger gains. In the first half of Oregon State, Liufau made some strides to break this habit. Instead of immediately resorting to running with the ball, he would elude pressure and then find a check down receiver. Here are three plays where Liufau escapes pressure to his right and finds an open receiver for a nice gain, the last of which culminates in a touchdown to Nelson Spruce.

    First Half:

    Quarter 1 Possession 1
    Down 1 Distance 10
    Formation Shotgun Twins Personnel 10
    Defensive Personnel 4-3

    This first play is from the first drive in the first quarter. Oregon State indicates that they will rush five and cover with six. It appears man to man on the outside. At the snap, the LBs appear to show they have underneath zones, which should indicate man to man through the secondary.

    Soon after the snap, Huckins surrenders pressure through the b-gap which immediately forces Liufau to evade and step up into the pocket. Instead of tucking the ball Liufau calming escapes to his right, re-orients his reads, and delivers a nice pass to Donovan Lee in the flats. Lee exhibits an elusiveness that perhaps demonstrates the game is starting to slow down for him, or perhaps that we are on equal or slightly superior athletic footing to Oregon State. He also picks up a nice clip from Spruce.

    The play results in a first down. To the original point, be aware of Liufau escaping to the right and making a play in the passing game.


    Quarter 2 Possession 3
    Down 1 Distance 10
    Formation Shotgun Twins Personnel 11
    Defensive Personnel 3-4

    OSU aligns in a three man front but walks a back into the B-Gap. They appear to be man to man on the outside. CU is in their standard 1-1-3 personnel group in shotgun. At the snap, Callahan assists Kelly with the DT which allows the rushing LB to come free. The LB does a nice job anticipating Lindsay on the cut block. However, Lindsay does slow him enough to allow Liufau to recognize the situation. Liufau appeared to be reading the left side of the play first before coming back to his right and seeing the rusher.

    This might be Liufau's best play of the year in terms of poise. My suspicion is this type of play exactly the sort of play that folks like (@moxon10 or @smash mouth buff) want in a QB, where the QB uses their athletically ability to take a busted play and neutralize the loss or even make it into a gain. Liufau and Lindsay alertly recognize that Lindsay has now become an option for a check down. Liufau extends the play just long enough to allow Lindsay to get into position to make a play. The throw is made with the right amount of touch and Lindsay turns up field, eludes one tackler and then spins out of a gang tackle (not shown) for a solid gain.


    Quarter 2 Possession 3
    Down 3 Distance 12
    Formation Shotgun Twins Personnel 11
    Defensive Personnel 4-2-5

    CU has managed to move the ball down into scoring position but face an unlikely third and twelve situation here. Predictably, they align with their core personnel grouping. Oregon State counters with 3-3-5 group and show that they will bring six rushers. The corner who has crept down from the boundary side as a rusher may signal that the coverage is a zone of some sort.

    At the snap, all rushers come except the MLB who drops into an underneath zone. Nembot does an impeccable job here blocking two guys. However, eventually one of those rushers comes free as he is not picked up by anyone else. The rest of the blockers, other than perhaps Huckins, do a nice job of mitigating the rush. Still Liufau is forced to again roll out to his right. Instead of tucking and trying to outrun the DE to the corner, he properly buys time and then throws an accurate pass to Spruce for the TD.

    The Buffs seize the lead.


    In all of these plays, Liufau is able to evade pressure to his right and create in the passing game. This is something Buff fans have been waiting all year to see and may signal some incremental maturation of Liufau. He has not made plays like this all season long instead often electing to hold the ball and running himself despite open playmakers on the edges.

    Oregon States Adjustment:

    At times in the second half, OSU used three man defensive fronts to combined with blitzes to generate more pressure on Liufau. This was in response to Liufau's ability to create positive plays under duress in the first half. More specifically, the Left DE in the three man front playing the three technique would slant across the face of the guard from outside in toward the A gap. It's not clear if CU runs gap protection or man protection but this slant causes several things.

    1. The slanting DE vacates space for new rushers to fill, giving that defender more area to work with against either the OG or OT. In this case, either or both a safety and LB fill the space which provides them with room to use their athleticism and quickness to outmaneuver the OL. This is an especially strong tactic to isolate a slower tackle against a faster defender. Lisella and Kronshage are targeted with this tactic more than Nembot.
    2. Depending on the protection scheme, this can cause coordination and communication issues between the OL, potentially leaving a defender unaccounted.
    3. It is not a coincidence that this pressure is applied from the left side of the defense, as this is meant to prevent Liufau from escaping to his right. The idea is to force Liufau to roll out or throw to his left, a noted weakness in his game.
    4. The left side defenders can now spy, mock rush, and attempt to tip passes in an effort to further disrupt Liufau knowing that their will be pressure forcing Liufau to stay put or to step up into their midst.
    These four gifs depict this tactic well. Again the left DE slants down to the A Gap, leaving a ton of space for LBs and DBs to manuever against Callahan, Kronshage and Lisella. Watch the right side of the DL try to time Liufau's actions. In defense of the OL, it;s hard to tell their exact assignments on this play, so it's difficult to surmise exactly where the breakdown is occuring.

    Liufau beats the rush this time with a pass to the area vacated by the blitzers.


    Nice play by Liufau to avoid the rush but the scheme limits his abilities to make a play down the field in the pass game.


    LB and DB pressure off of the edge coupled with a zone defense to eliminate the underneath throws results in a sack.


    Disaster majorly averted. This play should look eerily familiar; corner blitz against an unaware John Lisella nearly results in an interception. (hint: same **** happened against ASU on the second possession but was intercepted)


    This was a great second half adjustment by Oregon State, one that could have easily provided them with opportunities to win the game. It's not necessarily a novel adjustment, this is often employed against mobile or dual threat QBs to limit their effectiveness on broken plays. Still, it worked. It will be up to the CU staff to have a counter adjustment in their back pocket for the next time this occurs. The OL needs to improve on their communication and coordination on the right side as every team going forward will recognize this as an opportunity to get to the QB.
    BuffsNYC likes this.

Share This Page