On Monday, Missouri Offensive Coordinator David Yost took a few minutes to visit with ShowMeMizzou, and he shared some insights on opposing defenses, and the challenges they've been presenting to the Tigers' offense.
"(Kansas has) been real consistent, as far as what they want to do to the formations that we use," Coach Yost responded to a question about preparing for Kansas' defense. "We broke down the whole season on them. They have a way that they want to defend our formations. Now, the bigger question becomes, are they going to do that? Or, are they going to do what we've seen the last few weeks from teams that have made significant changes to defend us? In the way that, it's kind of a combination of the San Diego State, Colorado, Nebraska. Texas Tech did a version of it. Kansas State did parts of it, used it for a while. And then, Iowa State used it a lot, too. So, we plan for both of those things. And then, you always plan for all of the other things, too. If they come out and do things they've never shown, or no one else has shown."
"(Kansas) has predominantly been a four-down team, that uses some 30 defense," continued Coach Yost. "They're more of a zone cover team than a true man free team, that will match up and do the coverage that Nebraska is known for, and that other people have used against us this year. So, if they have that in their arsenal, we have to kind of expect that. But also, they could very easily go to the three-down package that we've seen the last few weeks from people, with a little bit more man coverage. That's not really been their thing this year, up to this point. But, it wasn't Iowa State's either, and they went to it a lot. So, we have to plan for that, and expect that."
Coach Yost calls the hybrid defense that teams have been playing against the Tigers, a "version of the Double Eagle defense".
"We call it Double Eagle," said Coach Yost. "It's a nose, and they play guys in the B-gap. The ends, guys playing B-gap. And then, they have some overhang guys. The old Double Eagle defense is a five-down, one linebacker look. But, what we're seeing a lot more is three-down, three linebackers, and it's kind of softer on the edge. It gives them a chance to drop eight, when we're not running the football. But, when you are running it, they have six in the box."
"It's an interesting (defense) that a lot of people went to," continued Coach Yost. "And, it's worked against us. What we've got to do, is we've got to do a better job of executing against it. We've had spots where we've been okay with it. The K-State game, we were able to get some things going, and moved the football against it. But last week, we were not nearly as effective, or as efficient, as we need to be against it. That was disappointing! And, they had a few more wrinkles with what they did, with some twisting out of it, which we didn't handle as well as we need to, or we can, or we should, or we will this week."
Coach Yost was asked if there are certain plays that work well against this Double Eagle defense.
"Oh yeah," answered Coach Yost. "What we try to do is build things that will handle any kind of adjustments they make within it. And then, there's always adjustments throughout the game."
Coach Yost explained that each team they've played has done different things within the Double Eagle defense, as far as how they line up, and how they fill the gaps.
"So, everybody has their own little variations," explained Coach Yost. "What you have to do, is you have to adjust during the game, and make those adjustments. The better we can make adjustments, the more that they have to try to change what they're doing. The better we do against it, the less they run it."
Coach was unwilling to say exactly which plays they will utilize, but he indicated that there are running plays and passing plays within their offense that work well against the Double Eagle. He did say that some of the variations in the Double Eagle that they've seen from week to week have contributed to their failures in execution. He mentioned the twists that Iowa State utilized as having given them some problems in executing their blocking schemes on certain plays. And, he said that when teams drop eight, they get extra bodies in the middle of the field, but that you can still attack the areas to the outside. He also said that they have had some success with some play action, when they have been able to hit them, such as the 51-yard pass play to Rolandis Woodland a couple of weeks ago.