A decision has been made to switch the defensive scheme from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 for the 2005 season. This comes after allowing 4.2 yards per carry and 23 rushing touchdowns in the 2003 season. It got worse in 2004 giving up 5.0 ypc and 26 touchdowns. Coach Brooks knows there's a direct correlation of stopping the run to winning football games.
Offenses know there are three times in a game when they must be able to run the football; 1) on first down; 2) in the red zone; 3) and in fourth quarter with a lead. Opponents have done that at a high success rate. Obviously to high for Brooks!
Brooks said: "The biggest adjustment is that we are primarily going to be a 4-3 defense. We will play some over and some under and come college 4-3 and mix it up. Basically, we played some of that last year as well but that will be the starting point this year, not the three man front." He said they could still do many of the same things. THe 4-3 will include dropping a lineman sometimes in a zone-blitzing situation rather than an inside or outside linebacker. "But some of those defensive ends were outside linebackers, like Durrell White," Brooks explained, "and if we get in a problem at linebacker, he can always go back to playing linebacker because he was a very solid linebacker for us the last two years."
Coming from Rich Brooks, it appears as if a concession but being made that the personnel haven't fit the defense being played. He said they should be stouter against he run. "To me one of the problems was stopping the run," Brooks lamented. "We didn't always have the correct fit with our linebackers, inside and outside and sometimes linemen didn't stay in the gaps.
Brooks said that in the one sense, we didn't have a defensive end that could play the two technique and play head up on the 320-pound offensive tackles and ill fit for the 3-4, though Sweet Pea made a lot of plays.
Brooks said: "Now with a guy like B. Jay Parsons who's a similar high energy player only taller, who's quick and who can run and plays snap to whistle, he's going to be a lot better 4 down lineman defensive end than a 3 down lineman defensive end."
There will be much attention to the defense because it's obvious that's that biggest gap between a winning team and a losing team. Stay tuned!