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Grizzly Football: Montana (1-0) v. University of North Alabama (1-0) Game Thread

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  • Grizzly Football: Montana (1-0) v. University of North Alabama (1-0) Game Thread

    Sorry this is a bit late. Been running around with my head cut off all week.

    Offensive 3 Things:
    1. Bobby noted this in both post game and his weekly press conference, the RPO balance is sometimes going to be more skewed one way or the other. The USD put the ball in Sneeds hands more often, and I can see that happening again this week. Part of the intel from last year is that teams know they need to keep a box defender on Sneed. You saw a bit of that on Saturday, and it opened up a ton of the short to intermediate passing game. If there is that concession, expect big passing numbers again. it is hard to know how good UNA is, or conversely how bad WIU is. Its early. That being said, if Eastwood, Knight, JLM get 15-20 touches as a part of the pass game, things are going well.

    2. Really think teams have a problem in how to defend the UM. As Toure and Akem rack up yardage, there is going to be an increased effort to get Sneed uncomfortable in the pocket. More pressure and from different places. USD got its hands on sneed a few times on Saturday, but generally he was able to step up and press the ball down field. Keep a clean pocket and you can expect similar offensive numbers.

    3. Diversify the run game. Most of Saturday was RPO, but I'd expect a further expansion of the run game to help the OL and Sneed out. Eastwood isn't the best zone runner and has had more success in getting vertical quicker in the run game. I'd expect Knight to get more RPO touches because of his ability to shift direction.

    Defensive 3 Things:
    1. In their game against WIU, UNA was able to determine the pace of play. At times the UM defense, likely by design, made tactical decisions to force simmons into pass versus run options. This week, you'd think Olson would be let free a bit more to create havoc considering how UNA wants to run the football. You don't need to get pressure, or get to the point of the attack to be effective, but rather force the offense into bad decisions is just as effective.

    2. I'd think we'd see more this week of a traditional four front rather than the hybrid look that had Rice all over the place. UNA's strength is running the football and the game last week was played at a bit slower pace. Winning the line of scrimmage, however Baer chooses to do that, and limiting Humphery will be vastly important. If there was an indicator of success, it would be you'd be hearing Olson's name left and right early.

    3. Make Cortez hall work for yardage. He had two catches for 100 plus, only one receiver was credit with more than 5 catches (6). If you see UNA approaching 40-50 passes in the game, that is a clear win for the Griz.

    What needs to happen for a Griz win:

    ​​​​​​​1. Get above 80 in play count again. There are a couple explicit reasons for this. First UNA saw roughly about 60 snaps last week from WIU in what was a pretty slow game. Second the RPO improves in effectiveness when you can run 20 to 30 times a game. If you can't run the RPO on second and third down, you are in trouble. So within that 80 play count look for how often they can run RPO on second and third down.

    2. Improved red zone efficiency. Two missed opportunities against USD (I don't count the third), was a problem at times last year, it is one thing to miss field goals but to turnover the ball inside the red zone is killer. One way you avoid 4th quarter let downs is convert when you have the opportunities.

    3. 1st Quarter. Win the first this week. At home, a big start will help the tension drift away. After 3 straight home losses, getting out to a good start early will loosen guys up. Despite what BH had to say on the issue, it is an issue until it isn't.

  • #2
    Nice work as always, GF-24. I'll have my eye on the following:

    1. On D - Sims was hurt late in the game vs USD. If he's in, is he still as effective, or will the injury take a toll? If he happens to miss (no clue, just hypothesizing) this game, will the D be as solid up front and able to get pressure / penetration from the line as often as they did against USD?

    2. There were a few times when it appeared some defenders took bad angles / were caught flat-footed last week - will this improve, stay the same, or get worse?

    3. Run game - will it continue to improve? Agree with you on Eastwood - his strengths are when he can get going down hill right away - he appears to be more suited to power / iso / lead runs than he is to zone where he needs to be patient. i.e. Slow to, explode through.

    4. Kicking game - can the kickers keep build towards consistency?

    5. Return game - Flowers is FUN to watch on returns - he was a breath away from taking it to the house on at least a couple of his returns against USD

    6. Converse to the above, coverage on kicks and punts - will the solid tackling continue?


    • #3
      24 question for you. Last season, it seems to me our d ends are overcommitting on the pass rush to the point we lose contain or leave huge lanes for the quarterback scrambling. Your observation?


      • #4
        To make a short story long, this is mostly about philosophy.

        One of the hardest things for most to understand about the 3-3-5, and that included myself the first time I sat in on a seminar on it, is the fundamentals are so absolutely counter intuitive to anything that you’ve seen. The 3-3-5 philosophy is closer to the flex, desert swarm philosophy than it is a 3-4 or a 4-3. The DL isn’t a gap maintain scheme, but rather a disruption one.

        So while it might seem the DE’s don’t lack sound rush/contain principles, that heavy upfield outside shoulder rush is part of the general philosophy of the scheme. Think about a pack of wolves or lions in how they group hunt. The 3-3-5 is a spill/pursuit concept rather than a box one and it is based upon making schematic choices that create predictable out comes for the linebackers behind the DL. Best example was the pass rush in the first series against USD on Saturday. If you get a chance, watch the DL and then watch Olson on the 3rd down play. Olson delayed and spied until he saw a chance to attack.

        So I wouldn’t expect a lot of ‘contain’ in the classic sense because that generally isn’t what the DL is programmed to do. From a rules stand point, contain doesn’t fall to them but rather the OLB/SS .

        Hope that makes sense.


        • #5
          Makes sense. Thanks for the explanation!


          • #6


            • #7
              Without going too much into x’s and o’s In this space, there are a multitude of reasons why players like Dante Olson, Jace Lewis and even Ryder Rice could or should succeed in a concept like this. One of the reasons is that for the vast majority of college protection schemes are based upon a few hard and fast rules. First is that OL always takes care of DL, then OL takes care of whatever the front call is in regards to backers.

              Basically it is math: You have 5 OL. If you have 3 DL, you now have 2 LB’s to cover. So depending on the front call and the scheme from the defense, you’ll get a middle one (common with 4-3 schemes, why you here “Mike” call) but in a 3-3 or 3-4 concept you get a box call with a R or L call from the back. So most offensive pass pro schemes can handle 6 man pressure, (5 OL w/ RB). If your RB is in pass route, then the last guy goes to the QB. In a lot of schemes, you’ll hear them switch a call (running might yell “Vegas-(Vacating) and the OL will flip the protection so the man the QB is reseponsible for is in his face versus his blind side.

              Why does this relate? The 3-3-5 and the 3-5-3 are gap disruption schemes and they do a ton of 2 to 3 gap stunts and the goal is to move them around as much as possible. Your front protections get jumbled, so it becomes much more difficult to pass pro effectively when you get big stunts by your DL. One of the reasons why they like Sims inside versus on the edge is that he can cross face much better than a traditional 1 techniique nose. The 3-3-5 is predicated on lighter agile line rather than the classic anchor nose and strong end. They want to get the OL to change their eye line, and that gives them LB’s a gigantic advantage.

              It was less noticeable last year, but when the 3-3 has success as SDSU has had, but your ends and DL can register some big homerun sacks and TFLS because they are less likely to stay engaged with OL. But what it does do, because the two primary run LBs (Lewis, Olson)have pretty free reads. They are allowed to read windows and go. They don’t have a ton of run responsibilities (inside out for the inside guys) and the edge guys are spill/flow type players that allow them to be pretty aggressive in the run game. If my experience running it, was at all similar to that of othe UM last year, one of the biggest reasons why Dante was allowed to get so many clean run reads was in large part because of how effective the DL was in commanding the eyes of the OL.


              • #8
                Nice information here. That answers some questions I have had for awhile thank you


                • #9
                  My observations on the game in no particular order:

                  It was cool to see the depth and some of the local / regional kids get to the play the last 10 min or so of the game - was neat seeing Drew Turner score a TD.

                  The JLM punt return for a TD was executed perfectly. From where I was sitting, I could see the wall setup as the punt was going downfield. When JLM caught the punt all he had to do was make 1 or 2 guys miss, then get over to the right hash to the wall. TD.

                  On the 3(?) big plays by UNA - the 2 screens were executed really well against a blitz and if I'm remembering correctly the last safety (can't remember who it was) was a bit too aggressive with his angle. On the long pass down the field right before halftime, it looked like zone, with 3 deep safeties and it looked like they just didn't get enough depth with their zone and started to cover deeper as the WR was running full speed towards them and he ran right by. I'm thinking those were just execution errors rather than anything "wrong" with the defensive call - though maybe Grizfan-24 can give more info on that.

                  The first half felt like last year for the Griz - big plays, followed by inconsistent mental mistakes.

                  The second half was a different story - in some ways, to me, it felt like the inverse of the UC Davis game where the Griz got avalanched in the 4th quarter. This time, the Griz were the avalanche.

                  Sneed, Akem, Toure and Knight all had great games. It was good to see the Oline lean on UNA a little bit after half-time to get more room for the RB's to operate.

                  Crow sustained a pretty significant injury - I didn't see the play happen, but from where I was siting, you could tell he was in pain - not often they bring the cart out right away. Hoping for the best for him.

                  On to Oregon, hopefully the Griz don't sustain any major injuries.