The string of weird tempo games continues. Only Drake played out in any sort of predictable form but UNI, WIU and SS had strange meter and tone to the games.

Some points from a coaches perspective:

On the Offense:
1. Again I noted this on twitter and if and when I have some time to blog, I'll write on this. Over the years a lot has been made about the zone read and its presence in the college game. Almost qualifies as omni-present at this point. I think it is super easy to over simplify the zone read, or try to categorize it. I have done that as well. In reality, it is very much like an option concept. When I started coaching some twenty years ago, we would spend 30 minutes a week defending option. Now coaches rep the zone read keys in the same way they repped the option game. This group has back, this group has qb and this group has the 3rd option. Anyway to be good at zone read, you have to make sure teams honor every option. Last couple of years because of injuries and otherwise we never saw the full playbook option of what zone read can look like. This week you saw a little bit of it, with the breadth and depth of what a mobile quarterback and a diversified zone read scheme can look like. Sneed scored once off a fake pitch inside counter, had another large gain and amassed 200 yards of rushing. Eastwood saw better holes this week than we had seen, and Sulser scored on a zone/read/fly sweep combo that went entirely against flow. The zone read/ RPO concept is really a modern adaptation of option schemes, we just don't call it that anymore.

On the Defense:
1. For as much as I love the 4-2-5 and the 3-3 concept, it has some glaring weaknesses schematically. As teams get more of the Baer scheme on film there are going to be some adaptations by offenses that create big plays. Last week it was the coverage weaknesses against trips, and this week it was the inside lane weakness. A lane that exists between the inside hip of the OT that projects away from the ILB but inside the SS. Our first couple of years running the 4-2-5 we were hammered with backside zone where the OT seals the DE and it looks like a designed counter. Sac state had a nice run design in the first half taking advantage of alignment of the third backer (who commonly plays outside the tackle in space away from strength) to find seams inside. They took advantage of flow and numbers. Inside backer gets sealed, the weak safety as well and then it is off the races as the rest of the secondary gets caught in the wash. I love the play and it is great on the boundary. In the second half there was some perceptable movement and adjustment up front (maybe from an under to an over or vice versa) and the ILB wasn't as quick to get to the front side of the play.

2. One of hte elements that takes a bit getting used to is the expectation of play of safeties versus what the scheme expects. In a 4-2-5 both the Free and Weak are alley players. Hauck is super aggressive (in the same way that Sandry was) down hill. They are expected to be the extra man in run support that is unaccounted for. In the 3-3 it works in a similar way. As we continue to see a blend of 4-2-5 and 3-3 concepts, those alley players are going to have a ton of pressure put on them. From my perspective the alley versus the mid field safety is the hardest position to play well in either scheme because the reads aren't like the 4-3 or 3-4 safety concepts that we are used to. Those alley guys don't back peddal, if any they shuffle step to the outside a bit, to diagnose. Really easy to get caught in that movement, and you aren't as reactive as you needed to be. We've seen that a bit the last couple of weeks with Hauck, where he might have either misdiagnosed or had been a bit slow on his read progressions. But it is really easy to make him look slow when you are caught in the middle. What makes the system so effective, is the ability to make reads in play, but that takes some time to get comfortable to be fast and right. We constantly harped on be fast regardless if you are right.

This is a huge test on the road this week. CP is always a pain to stop and in recent years caused significant fits for every UM DC. I'll be interested to see if Baer is up to the task.