Way back in 1997, as a defensive coordinator for New Mexico under head coach Dennis Franchione, Gary Patterson wrote a paper about the 4-2-5 defense, Multiplicity But Simplicity: Why the 4-2-5 Defense. This is a seven-part look at the 4-2-5 defense and trying to figure out how it all works. Patterson wrote a second paper, The 4-2 Defensive Package that goes into greater detail of the mechanics of the 4-2-5 defense.
Part I: Introduction.
Part II: Sizing up the defenses.
Part III: Create offensive confusion at the line of scrimmage.
Part IV: Play with great leverage.
Part V: Establish the eight man front.
Part VI: Establish a pressure package.
Part VII: The five spoke secondary.
When I think of a team establishing a pressure package I think of Texas Tech vs. TCU in 2006. It was one of Graham Harrell's first starts as a sophomore and the game was on the road. I was at this game and it was incredibly disappointing to see how confused Harrell was during this game. I don't fault Harrell too much for that game. Yes, it was awful to watch, but the reason I don't blame Harrell is that it was one of his first starts and TCU threw a ton of looks at a inexperienced quarterback.
Let's start with Patterson's first paper and what he says about establishing a pressure package:
Establishing a pressure package may be the most important principle for us to accomplish within our philosophy. This principle alone sets up the disguise movement thought process that we need for multiplicity. We feel as a staff that the threat of the blitz to an offense is oftentimes worse than the blitz itself. The possibility must exist that we can bring five to eight defensive players on any given down. This thought process makes an offense account for all eight players on all run and pass plays. This part of our package is designed to frustrate offenses and make them use their audible game plan.
If you remember the above-referenced game, the blockquote above sticks out in my mind as to what happened, at least in terms of a vague memory. What also stuck out in the memory banks was that the TCU secondary were just hitting the snot out of the Texas Tech receivers. I think that in the game, Harrell wasn't sure where the stunt or twist was going to come from along the line and he wasn't sure where the blitz was going to come from in regards to the rest of the defense. If anything, it was a learning process for Harrell.
Back to Patterson:
If possible, we would like to cause offenses to change from what they like to do best on game day. Many staffs do a great job with pressure within their schemes. Usually, the better the athlete, the more pressure that can be applied. We, as a defense, can’t assume that we will line up with better athletes. What we must do is find ways to bring more players to create mismatches. This is the only way, year in and year out, we can be consistent and successful. Our blitz package must be simple enough to handle all the different formations used in a game. Yet, we must be multiple enough to take advantage of an opponent’s weakness.
Isn't this the key? This sentence: "What we must do is find ways to bring more players to create mismatches." Maybe I'm reading too much into all of this simplicity and all of the other things I've read, but Patterson has a system that's easy to teach, that is easy to teach the linemen and linebackers and the secondary how and where to blitz.
Patterson also mentions being "multiple enough" to take advantage of an opponent's weakness. You hear Tuberville talk about being multiple last year and it's true from the standpoint that Tuberville liked to have multiple looks defensively and from what I've been able to learn about the 4-2-5 thus far, it's something that I think Patterson, and hopefully Glasgow, also believe in.
We've already talked quite a bit about how Patterson likes to keep things simple in Part III of the series, especially in the defensive line. Simple to learn doesn't always mean simple to defend. From the second paper, here's what Patterson said about game planning for TCU:
When an offense has to game plan for TCU, they must handle the twist game, slide game, and the double-blitzing scheme. The offense has to go to slide protection in their passing game. We don't play teams that try to man protect against us. If they try to man protect, they are going to be in a lot of trouble. The offense cannot grasp all those schemes. It is easy for us because we taught all those things in the first three days of practice.
After six practices we have put in everything that we are going to use. On the seventh day we go back to the beginning and re-teach the schemes again. That also includes our offensive line.
And Patterson isn't lying. I mentioned this early in this series, but much was made during the offseason about how now, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, installed his offense in three days. A lot of bloggers, writers, and fans raved about how Holgorsen can install his entire offensive system in three days. I haven't researched what other defensive coordinators are capable of doing, but apparently Patterson and Glasgow are capable of doing the same thing.
Visual proof . . . after the jump.
Click here for the full size.
That's six practices, two practices a day, and three days of installation of the entire defense.
Going back to the first paper, Patterson specifies why he likes blitzing out of the 4-2-5 and after looking at the 4-2-5 for so many weeks, it all makes sense.
There are many reasons that we like using the 4-2-5 scheme to blitz. Below are a few of the major reasons:
1. The simplicity of naming personnel (Mirrored players).
2. Natural alignment positions. The easy alignment against two-back or no-back sets (seven off-the-line coverage players).
3. Coverage simplicity
Mirror Alignment: Simple count system for the free safety versus the variety of formations we play against.
Item #1, when Patterson says that there are mirrored personnel, he's talking about the defense. If you were to split the field down the center, on one half, you'd have a cornerback, a safety, a defensive end, a defensive tackle and a linebacker. You'd have the same thing on the other side and to emphasize, the simplicity in the scheme is the fact that the calls are easily made to one side or another and theoretically, won't affect the other side.
Item #2, although it's painful, and yes, I realize that Texas Tech typially lines up with at least one running back, stop and start the film on what I think is one of the toughest offenses to stop. Spread offenses and Leach's offenses almost always had someone open, but whether it be pressure from a blitz or a stunt or some other method, watching this clip 10 times or so, those three things above make complete sense.
Item #3, not knowing what the coverage call actually is, it's tough for me to comment on this, but this has been a running theme throughout Patterson's two papers.
Up next: The five spoke secondary.