By Mike Kuchar with Sam Nichols
Back in 2002 when I made my first convention trip to New Orleans (gosh, I miss that place) I made it a point to make sure I recapped, then re-filed my notes on the trip. I usually did this on the plane ride back; as to make sure everything was fresh in my mind. Many of us know, those two to three days can be a whirlwind, pulling us in every different direction from reconnecting with old friends to habiting the local watering holes. As a coach, I have an obligation to myself and my staff (many of them could never make the trip) to make sure I reported back on everything I’ve learned. Now as a football researcher, I feel the responsibility to report back to our readers on the same issues. So, now we bring the best of Louisville to you. These notes are in no particular order and in fact are a reflection of the sporadic, streams of consciousness style of note-taking I adhere to.
What Coaches Are Researching:
- Defensive coaches are frantic trying to find ways to defend the 11-personnel 3x1 formations (with Y off the ball) that Ohio State has been exposing defenses with this post-season (Diagram 1).
- RPO concepts are running rampant in the minds of offensive coordinators. Aside from the traditional stick/draw, inside zone/bubble or outside zone/slant combinations, there is another thread starting to take shape. We’ve spoken to numerous coaches who are finding ways to vertical passing concepts like the shallow/dig with a TB screen concept (Diagram 2). In these plays, the play side inside linebacker being he movement key. If he works out to the screen (following the releases of the play side lineman) the dig is wide open. If he sits in the dig window, there is no feasible way he can work his way out to the perimeter to defend the screen. I can already hear those defensive coordinators offering their rebuttal on this one.