| FTBL “Those boys look dead over there,” McCoy said. “No passion. It’s not the same....


Century Club
Not a big fan of TDA but they are the only one sharing Mike McCoy's comments:

McCoy played wide receiver at Alabama from 2006 to 2009. He was on Coach Nick Saban’s first BCS National Championship in the 2009 season. According to him, he sees ‘no energy or effort’ on this team, especially on defense.

“Those boys look dead over there,” McCoy said. “No passion. It’s not the same. I don’t know if it’s because you are at Alabama, and you expect people to lay down, but you have an X on your back. You have a target on your chest. To me, they have too many nice guys on the field. They have no dawg in them. None. I have not seen them bite yet.”

McCoy said he hasn’t seen energy or effort from the defense in two years.

He knows the Tide has playmakers, but McCoy said it’s the dawgs that ‘set the tone.’

Also he feels Freddie Roach should start calling the plays...

“We need Burton Burns, Bobby Williams, and Scott Cochran on the sideline. People talk about the injuries, but those were workloads. That was bound to happen, but you saw the energy. Freddie Roach, in my opinion, should be doing the play-calling. That’s just me. When you played and you’ve been where these kids are trying to go, and you know what it looks like, those guys are going to receive you a lot better. Representation is everything, and I’m talking about culture. If you don’t come from this type of culture, and you never played on that high level, how are you going to tell me to do something?”

Referenced Article


Scholarship Club
Has he never heard "those who can't, coach"? I don't think you had to have been a player at a high level to be a solid coach. It just means you see it from a different vantage point and can see the errors, mistakes, and the good parts of someone's game. I will say though, you need some testosterone flowing through them veins if you want to jack up some guys, because I don't think in college that laid back personality gets it done. In the NFL where the players get to run over you, it's fine, but in college when you're still trying to extract talent, get guys over the coddled stages of high school, and them no longer being the big fish in a small pond mentality, then you gotta be wired for it.


Jack of all trades!!
Crimson Tide Club
I may be wrong on this, but I believe he is talking about the energy these guys brought that really effected the players and commanded their respect. It sounds like he believes that kind of energy and respect is lacking.
I kind of lean this way too. We need someone on that sideline bringing as much if not MORE intensity that Coach Saban does. We need some ass chewers that will hold them accountable and hold their feet to the fire!


Ivory Club
I started knocking on this door Tuesday morning.

He loses me at Roach taking over play calling.
As a former player he's got a different platform than your everyday fan: I get that. (Constant does as well though I can't say his tee shirt deal sits well.)

After the Florida game the point was brought up about gap responsibility: specifically along the defensive line. After this game, we're back there again; at least I am. It's a tough needle to thread debating how much of this is on the talent on and how much is on the coaching end. It's a roster described as one of the most talented Bama's seen so I'm wary on one end but confident on another. We are not seeing the progression of defensive linemen like we've seen in past years.

BTW, do you remember when Pruitt was pulled out of the Mobile area and Saban reassigned Lance down there? JP was getting "pushed around" down there quite a bit. My impression of Freddie on the recruiting trail mirrors that of JP back then.

And then I weigh all of that against so much inconsistant play seen this season ... and immediately come back to inexperience and youth. 🤷‍♂️

On to State...


Sideline Club
immediately come back to inexperience and youth
I thought that about the offense but thought we would not have as much of that on D. I honestly do not see the physicality with some DL we are used to. Also tackling is an issue. To'o seems to try and run around blockers instead of go through them at times. Pretty sure that is not scheme or play call issue. That is a player being soft and also points to a physicality issue. Heck the guy spent time at the Viles hard to get that stank washed off.


Sideline Club
I thought that about the offense but thought we would not have as much of that on D. I honestly do not see the physicality with some DL we are used to. Also tackling is an issue. To'o seems to try and run around blockers instead of go through them at times. Pretty sure that is not scheme or play call issue. That is a player being soft and also points to a physicality issue. Heck the guy spent time at the Viles hard to get that stank washed off.

It's all a scheme and play calling issue. To'oto'o was great when they simplified it vs. OM. So was the DL.

The A&M scheme was broken down and dissected online about how bad it was. It was Florida part 2. If Golding keeps running that style, there's not another team on the schedule whose offense can't give the D fits.

Destiny's Child

It's Rolling Baby
Century Club
While I don't know about Bobby Williams or Hey Hey coming back or Roach calling plays I do 100% agree there is no fire. I have mentioned it but I was thinking back to 15, 17 and last year and one thing kept showing up to me when comparing. That fire/hunger to be great and team leadership. 15 had leaders everywhere Henry and the whole d line, In 17 Hurts, Damien Harris, Calvin Ridley and the crop of stud receivers. Last year it was Mac, Nahee, Moses, Dickerson and the receivers.

My point is the team leaders stuck out.. you saw them on the sidelines you saw them getting after guys on and off the field. They all had a fire about them.. some dog in them. This years team has been lacking that thus far I want to see it from Anderson, Jobe, Robinson, Neal, Egboygbe and crew.

Everyone always said that our Qb's would throw a 5 yeard pass for an 80 yard touchdown and yes our receivers were special but some of it was how hard they blocked for each other.. I mean they got after it. They shows up when your most skilled guys are also your toughest and most selfless.. We have yet to see that yet.

The best leaders lead by example and then hold you accountable for your best effort. I don't agree with alot of what McCoy said but he is right the fire and leadership isn't there like it normally is.


Sideline Club
It's all a scheme and play calling issue
I believe CNS thinks it is more about how they are preparing in practice. Details and intensity during the week matter on the weekend.

On play calling I do think CNS expressed in his press conference that maybe we did not challenging the other team with our running game on the goal line. In other words we should not have thrown 3 straight passes on the goal line.


Century Club
Not a big fan of Klatt, but good analysis on the 6 plays we ran inside the 5 that produced 3 points. (Definitely believe the bubble screen to Metchie was an RPO that BY should have obviously gone with a run.)

Klatt was right on the money good stuff. Notice that last 4 years of defense being outside the top 10? And who has been the DC for the most part? 🤔

I have no reason to think much will be done, especially defensively to make us a top 10 unit in points allowed.


Sideline Club

The path to a college football title ends in Indianapolis this season, but all roads must go through Athens, Georgia, and the best collection of 11 players in the sport.

Georgia's defense stands not just as the class of 2021’s college football season, but it also knocks on the door of historic greatness in an era of more space, yards and points than we’ve ever seen. The Bulldogs currently rank first in PFF defensive grade (94.8), pass coverage grade (94.9) and expected points allowed per play (-0.451).

Defensive GradeRun-Defense GradeCoverage GradePass-Rush GradeEPA/Play Allowed
UGA Defense94.8 (1st)91.4 (3rd)94.9 (1st)88.7 (6th)-.451 (1st)
The last decade (plus) of college football has been a case of trial and error in defending the advent of the spread. Many defensive minds have had their share of sunshine and twilight periods.

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For years, Gary Patterson laid claim to the most flexible defense in the sport, Brent Venables’ current tenure peaked as what looked to be the Alabama antidote, Pat Narduzzi’s old-school Cover 4 helped build Michigan State into a contender and Bud Foster was all but guaranteed to kick dust in the eyes of an ACC championship hopeful. Dave Aranda, Jim Leonhard, Todd Orlando, Jon Heacock and Marcus Freeman are all 3-4 coaches who have introduced their only flavor of containing explosive offenses in this wide-open era.

In these ranks stands Kirby Smart, a coach from the most decorated tree in college football. Before Lane Kiffin came by to revolutionize the way Alabama played offense, Smart worked on the stifling Crimson Tide defenses from the beginning of Nick Saban’s tenure until 2015.

Between each of these names are a variety of schematic approaches — from man-to-man to three-high zone safeties, even and odd fronts and disparate levels of talent. However, the one thing that’s almost universally held between each of these signal-callers is the ability to blitz the spread.

While no one would be foolish enough to claim that any of the Alabama defenses fell short of greatness, it felt that the best offenses were creeping closer to drawing even. By Smart’s own admission (at a 2019 coaching clinic), the sentiment in the coaching offices at Tuscaloosa was that they were “slipping.”

When Smart left to take over at Georgia, he knew better than to reinvent the defensive wheel. However, newer approaches to stopping newer offenses needed the space to be accommodated within his schemes. The way the staff recruited its front seven had to be changed, and the coverage concepts and the way the defense played up front needed tweaking.

Winning at the highest levels will always come down to having the right good players in place, but just rolling out 11 athletes can create issues (I’m looking in the direction of Columbus, Ohio). I think there have been faster, and outright better, defensive players at Georgia prior to 2021, but what we’re breaking down today is a scheme much more interested in attacking the spread than defending it.

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Nobody outside of the coaching world is much interested in hearing the axiom anymore, but a great defense beginning with stopping the run isn’t any less true today than it was three decades ago.

Shrinking the call sheet for an offense requires winning on “mixed” downs — first down and second-and-normal (1-7 yards in distance) — and forcing obvious passing scenarios. Nobody is better at winning early than the Bulldogs, ranking first in defensive success rate on early downs, at a 60% clip.

Defensive Success RateEPA/Play AllowedDefensive Grade
UGA, 1st & 2nd Down60% (1st)-.448 (1st)93.7 (1st)
In the era of the two-back offense, defenses tried to make plays in the backfield with blitzes called “fire zones,” attacking with five players but keeping zone eyes in the defensive backfield for run support instead of playing man coverage.

With spread offenses in general and the RPO, in particular, investments in sending five defenders can be expensive. Chances are a defense will find more tackle-for-loss opportunities, but it comes at the cost of a player in coverage to sit in the windows of high-percentage throws underneath. Taking those away while rushing five requires a defense to play man coverage, thus landing a unit right back at square one of the quandary facing Smart and Saban in Alabama.

How then can a defense, in the era of the spread, maintain exceptional production against the run without it coming at the expense of its ability to cover the pass?

A (somewhat) novel concept of the “creeper” has come to light as the 3-4 defensive structure finds new wings in this time of football. A creeper, by design, is using a player at the second level (slot corner, inside or outside linebackers) to be the fourth rusher by blitzing from “depth.” In some designs and out of certain fronts, a traditional-looking rusher can drop out into coverage.

A creeper, in essence, is the happy medium between blitzing to create pressure or tackles for loss without it coming at the expense of a defense's coverage flexibility. This, in my eyes, stands as a direct parallel to the run-pass option and play action on the offensive side of the ball, creating a best-of-both-worlds play call.


In this example against Arkansas, Georgia is giving the presentation of a four-down, old-school, Cover 4 defense. On the indicator that the snap is coming, the middle linebacker creeps down and blitzes through and across the center’s face, and the edge defender (the Sam, in this example) would be “dropping” out to wall the curl area if it were a pass play.



With the ball being handed off, the effect of a five-man pressure is there for the defense, and Georgia is able to get a run fit akin to what would be a typical Cover 4 call out of its base package. The middle linebacker effectively is running through his run fit similar to what the nose would do if aligned over the top of the center.



In the next example, Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning call to bring an edge creeper away from the trips side of the formation. Again, because the play is a designed handoff, Georgia gets the effect at the point of attack of rushing five without taking a player out of coverage, allowing the defense to play Cover 3 had it been a pass.

Mixing in these creeper calls with their ability to line up in even and odd fronts and play the run straight up is a major factor in this defense recording a defensive stop on 79 of the 114 run-down snaps it faced and a top-five average depth of tackle at 3.26 yards.

In these two clips, not only is the defense able to make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, but an important piece of playing elite coverage on early downs is protected, and that’s the disguise of a two-high safety shell no matter what the call.

This means quarterbacks can’t get a clean look at the rotation of the defensive backs or a man/zone giveaway until after the ball is snapped. With second-level defenders flying upfield as blitzers, creating the impression of pressure, quarterbacks are fooled into looking for their hot throws and finding nothing open underneath.




Defensive Success RateEPA/Play AllowedDefensive Grade
UGA, 3rd & 4th Down68% (5th)-.459 (4th)85.2 (3rd)
Using creepers on early downs against the run helps to puncture the “bubbles” in the defensive front (the areas defensive linemen aren’t occupying), but creating the impression of pressure pays just as many dividends in attacking pass protections, if not more.


In the first clip against UAB, Georgia is presenting two different worlds: an all-out blitz look (to the offensive line) and a two-deep shell (to the quarterback). The desired effect is to get the quarterback and offensive line looking in the same direction, where it appears all the pressure is coming from.

The defensive line stunt and the dropping linebackers will occupy the linemen sliding toward the bluffed pressure, buying time for the twist happening on the quarterback's blindside. This isn’t dissimilar from all the picking and twisting you’d see in the NFL, and college defenses need these bluff looks to buy enough time for the defensive line twists and slants to work into open areas.


A threat is only as good as one's ability to carry it out in reality, and against Vanderbilt, that loaded-up front wasn’t a decoy to bring pressure from the opposite side. The Commodores' quarterback and running back have a miscommunication on who the potential unblockable defenders are, and it results in easy pressure.



Masking safety rotation to throw some changeups in coverage behind these pressures is a great way to trap the quarterback into regrettable downfield throws. Georgia comes one stride short of intercepting a bullet from D.J. Uiagalelei on a simulated Cover 2 pressure, sitting right in the area of the intended route.


I think, too often, we discuss offensive innovations without giving much thought to whether a philosophical counterpunch even exists on defense. Offenses can change their cadence, and defenses can move/stem the front (something else Georgia is excellent at) and draw linemen offside. Different formations create additional gaps and spaces, and certain fronts eliminate them. There are a multitude of answers for the concepts you see from the best offenses in the sport.

For Kirby Smart, a coach who grew up, played and coached in an era of football tailored toward stopping a two-back offensive philosophy, the spread afforded offenses answers that defensive coaches simply weren’t prepared for. What Smart and other elite defensive coaches have found is a way to continue attacking offenses without endangering their coverage players.

Because of that, the Georgia Bulldogs are championship-ready, and their 2021 defense may become the new gold standard in stopping the modern offense.
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