How to Stop Arizona’s Zone Read with the Oregon 3-4 Defense

Oregon 3-4 Defense vs Arizona Zone ReadI don’t do fan stuff here, and that’s not changing. But I do it for other people. And I’m particularly proud of the article I wrote this week for the Oregon Ducks fan site, Fishduck.com.

So if you don’t mind sifting through some of the Ducks propaganda, check out this article on How the Ducks Will Shut Down Rich Rod and the Wildcats in 2014

Oregon runs a 2-gap, 3-4 Defense scheme with a lot of Cover 1. Most of their pressure comes in the form of Zone Blitzes.

In 2013 the defense was destroyed by Rich Rodriguez and his Zone Read attack. The quick summary is Arizona ran Zone Read and PAP of f Zone Read, when they wanted, where they wanted, how they wanted.

I like what Oregon does schematically, and when it is good, it’s good. When it’s bad, it’s bad.

And while I’m very proud of the article, I have a couple of things to add here, where we’re all football coaches and can kind of look past the fandom goggles…

  • I watched all 87+ snaps (including penalties) of Arizona’s offense during that game. I came up with 4 plays where Oregon executed. I broke down 2 in that article. From an Offensive standpoint, this was surgical. It’s the kind of thing Defensive Coordinators have nightmares about years later.
  • I do like the 3-4 Defense, I even like the concept of the 2-gap front. But it is hard, really hard, to coach. The mirror-stepping technique up front means it is difficult to get much pass rush unless you have a blitz called. And you’ll want a good football coach dedicated to working with those Outside Linebackers, who’s job often changes between Force and Spill player.

In other words… don’t dabble in this 3-4 Defense scheme. Don’t read this article and watch some Oregon film, or the many other teams running the scheme around the NCAA and NFL, and decide you want to throw it in with your Miami 4-3 Defense (which requires plenty of work itself).

Major in this defense, like Oregon does, or don’t run it at all.

I’ll be doing more articles down the road for Fishduck, so keep an eye out (read my last article on a Quarter-Quarter-Half coverage scheme here).

Okay now that I’ve added my Coach’s Addendum to it, go read How the Ducks Will Shut Down Rich Rod and the Wildcats in 2014.

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