Film review: A closer look at Syracuse’s run defense

first_img Published on October 8, 2018 at 11:46 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44 Comments For two straight games, Syracuse has been gashed on the ground allowing 293 yards to Clemson followed up by 265 yards against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Headed into the bye week, Syracuse (4-2, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) has had several holes on long runs.Below is a closer look at two long runs from Syracuse’s 44-37 loss at Pitt (all screenshots via ESPN).The touchdown run On this play, safety Evan Foster (circled) has moved down next to the two linebackers, Ryan Guthrie and Kielan Whitner, to form more of a 4-3 defensive front than the initial 4-2-5 the Orange started the play in.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFlipping to the end zone cam view, the opening of the running hole is more visible. If Pittsburgh hits this run play correctly a few things will happen. On the right, inside the red box, Pittsburgh has four blockers to cover four SU defenders. The most challenging blocks are Pittsburgh’s left guard (76) reaching Foster (14 in white) while also chipping Josh Black (85 in white) and Pittsburgh’s fullback kicking out linebacker Whitner (25 in white). On the left in yellow oval, Pittsburgh’s right guard will be tasked with blocking Chris Slayton (95 in white) before moving on to Guthrie. If both linemen execute their assignments and move on from their double teams at the right time, this play hits.Now using three elements, we can see the play forming. On the oval on the left, Guthrie is about to be blocked, eliminating backside flow to help the other side of the defense, which is in tough shape. In the yellow box, Foster has flowed heavily over the top, allowing for an easy block for Pittsburgh’s left guard (76). Foster goes so far outside, this play cuts up slightly and will hit where Whitner is standing as indicated by the blue arrow. He awaits a kick out block from the fullback, which will decide how much room the running back has in the hole.A few frames later, Guthrie (right oval) is getting held by Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen and can’t escape. In the yellow box, both Black and Foster are far outside and have opened the hole wider. Inside the large gap, Whitner takes on the lead block. Regardless of the outcome of the Whitner-fullback matchup, the defense doesn’t have many bodies available to fill the hole.Moments later, the end of the fullback pancake block on Whitner is happening, which eliminates Alton Robinson and Black’s ability to chase down Pittsburgh running back Qadree Ollison. With the second level (linebackers and defensive line) of the defense negated, SU only has its secondary left to count on.SU’s secondary had two opportunities to down Ollison in the open field, first by Andre Cisco and later by Scoop Bradshaw, but both failed. Overflowing on the strong side and not making it through blocks on the weak side led to an open hole. From there, missed tackles led to a 69-yard touchdown.The drive starterEarly in the fourth quarter, fresh off a touchdown to give itself a seven-point lead, Syracuse comes out in a 4-3 look, this time with outside linebacker Andrew Armstrong in the position Foster stood on the previously displayed play.Slayton (circled in red) has fought across the face of his offensive linemen, meaning he isn’t allowing his opposition to seal him from the outside edge of the line. As the play progresses you can see how far outside Slayton goes, creating a hole behind his back where Black (85) currently fights a double team.Here, Slayton has advanced further right and is now blocked off from collapsing into the hole. In the red box, Black attempts to break free of the double team, while Armstrong is kicked out, creating the path for Ollison. Syracuse will need its backside linebackers to make the tackle at this point. Whitner (yellow arrow) has already been negated by his offensive linemen, leaving Guthrie (red arrow) the most likely person to make the play.Fast forwarding a few seconds and zooming in, Guthrie has been picked up by the second offensive linemen, who once blocked Black. With this angle it’s hard to see, but Black is only close enough for a diving effort, which fails. Armstrong is still being sucked up by his lineman, and Ollison has a wide hole which he hits for a 29-yard gain, jump-starting an eventual touchdown-scoring drive.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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