Friday, January 1, 2010

Navy Employs Flex Defense vs Missouri Tigers, Tom Landry Lives!

Texas Bowl Replay

Click to watch!



Watching the ESPN 360 replay, the offense did roll up impressive numbers, but they were helped on the other side by an interesting defensive scheme. On more than a few plays, the Navy D had what was essentially Tom Landry style "flex" defense going.



In the flex, (a version of the 4-3, also a scheme attributed to Landry, although this is contested)there are two bonafide down lineman, (Navy had them on the outside) while the other two (or one in the case of a 3-4 (interior D linemen in Navy's case) line up off the line, and standing up, more or less as two additional linebackers.

Landry's scheme typically had a staggering of players, every other one lining up off the line as quasi-LBs. This allowed them to read and react to runs, but also drop back into pass coverage more quickly. Split seconds count.




Navy's scheme was different in that the one or two offset linemen were in the interior. They were willing to sacrifice the risk of allowing running plays up the middle and shorter pass completions in order to increase the chances of picks in both the short and long passing attack of Mizzou. Overall, it worked quite well, and, if not for turnovers, Navy would have built a lead more quickly than it did.

So, in effect Navy instituted a Flex D with the purpose of defending the pass. Innovative, in that the flex, as I understand it from the Landry days, was created to defend the run, more specifically, the Packer running attack of the 60s.



Result: An impressive shutdown of the vaunted Tiger passing game. That, coupled with the Mids' patented ability to run out great chunks of game time while methodically running the triple option put the Tigers in the position of having to play catch up in the second half. A prescription for losing when you play the Goat!

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