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Double-T Nation Daily Diatribe :: 02.24.10

DTN Twitter Hacked:  If you received a direct message from me it wasn't me.  My Twitter account was hacked.  I've changed the password and hopefully that won't happen again, but please do not click the link.

DTN Decorum:  I think this is more of a request than a rule, but I would prefer it if we didn't post scantily clad women or be demeaning towards and/or mocking women.  I know, it was a snow-day yesterday and we all get a little stir-crazy on snow-days.  And yes, I've typically always said that I think we should act like we're having a conversation at a drinking establishment, but I think that if I don't say something now, DTN could quickly take a turn that I don't want it to take .  Not to mention, I received an email from a female reader pointing out that this may be a reason why more females don't comment, my mom reads DTN (she's so proud of me) and there's got to be some sort of balance between being somewhat professional (which is what I've tried to do) and DTN readers being able to be yourselves. 

Please help me out.

Tuberville Chat:  Head coach Tommy Tuberville will be joining ESPN Dallas at 1:00 p.m. today for a live chat.  You can go here to enter your questions.  Ask some good questions and let me know if Tubs answers one of your questions.

Defensive Concepts:  LAJ's Don Williams has some insight with Tuberville as to what to expect this year from a defensive perspective.  I'm still working on an article from this past weekend on OC Neal Brown, but there's some interesting quotes here. 

On what the defense will key on:

"The biggest key when you’re playing defensive line, that I’ve found over the years, is so many people look at the guy in front (of them)," Tuberville said. "If you talk to any really good defensive lineman who has been around it for a while, the first thing that they will key is the football. They want to move when the ball moves, not when the offensive lineman moves. I think that’s the biggest key to defensive line play is, when that ball moves, you’re gone."

On wanting the defensive line to turn to key on the ball rather than offensive line movement:

"We want our defensive ends and defensive tackles to be flying to the football," he said. "It goes back to one thing: Don’t worry about size. Worry about (having) guys that can run. Your defensive linemen will make more plays by doing this when the ball goes away than when the ball comes to them. If it goes away, these guys will have a great opportunity to make a play, because they are hauling butt down the line of scrimmage.

"One thing we always tell our defensive linemen: We’re forcing the ball, but we’re not worried about linebackers being free and trying to keep blockers off of linebackers. We want them to make the play first."

On how he wants the linebackers to going downhill at the start of every play, and will play 5 yards off the line of scrimmage:

"If you play an attacking-style front defense, you have to play your linebackers deep," he said. "I think that might be the biggest mistake people make is if you’re an attacking front that you play (linebackers) 2 to 3 yards off the ball and then, really, they have no chance."

What Tuberville’s defenses do is deploy the linebackers with their heels 5 yards off the ball. Then they don’t step laterally unless the ball goes laterally, such as on a toss sweep.

"Our first step is always downhill with the play-side foot," he said. "After that, we don’t coach them. We just tell them, ‘Run to the football.’ The one thing you don’t want to do if you’re playing an attacking front is over-coach a linebacker.

"If you’re going to coach anybody, coach those D-linemen. Coach them to key the ball and get their butt upfield on the snap of the ball."

Here's some questions that you might want to discuss in the comments:

  1. I think Tuberville's thoughts on over-coaching linebackers is interesting, it seems as if he just wants them to essentially run to the ball, as quickly as possible, do you think this is going to be an issue for technically sound players like Brian Duncan, but who may also be a bit slow?
  2. Focusing on the play of the defensive line is absolutely a key.  If there's anything that we've learned over the past two years it's that a defense is a better defense if there's pressure on the quarterback.  Do you think that with such a young and/or inexperienced defensive line it is going to be an issue for the defensive line to have the responsibility to make plays?
  3. With an emphasis on just being able to run, who's your extremely early favorite to make an impact on the defensive line and linebacker spot after not getting much, if any, playing time last year (possible choices:  DT Pearlie Graves, DT Myles Wade, DE Aundrey Barr, DE Ryan Haliburton, DE Kerry Hyder, DE Christopher Knighton, LB Dion Chidozie; LB Brandon Mahoney)?