Random Thoughts: On The NU Defense

The Northwestern Wildcats may be ranked dead last in defense right now, but the statistic that leads to wins, points allowed, is creeping down - from 30 or 40 a game to just 14 last week. Coach Roy has noticed a trend among NU's young defenders and veterans alike - they're starting to just react to what the Offense throws at them...

Had a chance to talk a little defense Monday in Evanston -
Mainly about my youth team's antics with young Defensive Linemen learning how to run stunts. I guess teaching stunts is a problem all the way up through the pros, but...

Anyway, we agreed that what is now different about the NU D is that we're starting to just react to situations instead of trying to think through them and that's leading to fewer points scored by our opponents the last 3 weeks. [51, 29, 14]

To put this in the frame of reference with my 12 year olds, as the defensive coach, I have to teach them how to recognize certain plays and then react to them. The kids who have to do this, mainly our 3 D-Backs and middle linebacker, are still trying to learn two or three reads a play.

In a more complex Big 10 style defense, the kids behind the line have to pick up the WR's coming out while watching for sweeps, runs up the middle, and screen passes, essentially 4 to 5 [or more things] that they personally have to do to shut down another team's offense.

The more things an offense does, the harder it is for the defense, and the main thing that lets you stop most of today's multi faceted offenses is a fast read and reaction by the folks down field.

If there's one thing that our defensive backs are doing differently now is that instead of trying to remember all the different reads, they're just reacting to what is thrown at them.

The one second difference in that reaction time is why we're making the picks and getting what the pros call coverage sacks and keeping teams out of the end zone.

Yes, I'd like to see NU ranked higher in yards given up, but our points allowed number is heading down, and if we're going to win more games, including the one Saturday, that trend will have to continue.
-- da Coach

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