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App State Film Review: Arkansas State First Quarter

Louisville v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

We’re finally getting to some of the better performances by this App State team. The first quarter was pretty bland but it gave a good look at some of the things that made the team so good. I hope to get more into the uniqueness of Bryan Brown’s defense but there’s a really good play in here that shows how it works.

By the way, I decided to double up this week on the reviews because there wasn’t much to learn from the GSU game.

Ark State Ball, 1st and 10

Louisville will see plays that are similar to this one and will likely see this exact play next season so it’s great to see how it’s defended by App State. It’s pretty common to see the corner abandon the outside receiver and get up the field to make the tackle on screen plays like this. It’s also common to see these guys beat blocks with ease because they sell out to get to the ball instead of trying to play off of the blocker. You can see that the outside linebacker does the same and the safety to that side of the field plays deep in case they throw it outside instead of hitting the screen.

ASU Ball, 1st and 10

I wasn’t joking when I said that I was going to post every one of these open field tackles. The closing speed from the free safety is just outstanding. As soon as the handoff is made, he takes his angle and doesn’t stop until he runs through the ball carrier.

I expect TreSean Smith to be in this role next year and we’ve already seen him make plays like this in limited time on the field.

ASU Ball, 3rd and 2

Some of the things you get with this defensive scheme are completely due to how the plays are called and designed but a large amount of what they do is effort. It’s the biggest question mark for me for how this defense plays in 2019. Does Louisville have defensive linemen that will give this kind of effort so that they don’t get blown off the ball? Do they have any linebackers that can make this type of play where they react quickly and then get into the running lane to make the tackle?

App State Ball, 1st and 10

I’ll try to post plays that are very different than what we saw out of the old offense even if I repeat them. This formation has been called “Diamond” by some but I’m going to call it the “PistolBone” because it’s more fun and I’m all about fun. They run a power triple option out of it which I love. I’m not sure who the starting quarterback will be next season, but I do think that they will have to have the ability to run the ball and run option plays like this to win the job.

ASU Ball, 1st and 10

Bryan Brown was on Mark Ennis’ radio show last week and described in great detail what makes his defense so unique. The main point that stuck out to me was that it is a defense that “slants and angles”. You don’t typically see that in a 3-4 defense because most 3-4 defenses are a “Two-Gap” scheme. Basically, your front is responsible for the gap to either side of them.

Brown’s defense will slant the entire front to one side like you can see in this play. Quite literally, it turns the 3-4 front into a One-Gap scheme and that is pretty uncommon. With everything slanting to the right, you can see that the two middle linebackers play it straight up and they both go untouched for the tackle. What I’ve seen in watching this defense is that the offensive lines have struggled to know who to block and they’ve struggled to get to their blocks. I’m not really sure how anyone prepares for it because it’s so unorthodox.

App State Ball, 3rd and 9

I have a feeling that if the offensive line struggles next year, fans will point to Coach Satt calling play action passes on third and long as an annoyance. I’m not exaggerating when I say that almost all of the pass plays that I’ve watched have had some sort of play action to it. This play shows the action that I’ve seen the most and I wanted to point out how it works.

The idea here is that you’re blocking with the same action as the outside zone run play that they love to run. That gets the defensive front moving and it kind of bunches everyone up so that there’s not a clear path to get through. Then you have the running back and the h-back blocking the back side of the play. They fail miserably on this play but you can see that everyone is accounted for. I really have concerns about whether or not UofL’s offensive line can execute plays like this. They’re not an agile group. So, this type of key play in this offense will have to be figured out quickly.

App State Ball, 1st and 10

I’ve noticed that the offense likes to run these corner routes a lot. They run them with slot guys as well as tight ends like they do here. It also seems like they really like working “levels” into the route combinations. You can see the receiver at the bottom of the screen runs a shallow cross. The receiver at the top runs a deep in. The slot guy at the top runs a post route. The thinking is that one of those three guys should be open because defenders have to pick which level to cover.

The post route is open here but the quarterback takes the sure thing for a first down. As much as I hated seeing him pass up the deep throw here, he made the right read and hit the open guy for the first down.

ASU Ball, 1st and 15

I’d bet that this play didn’t go over well during the film session this week. You can see that #24 takes on the blocker here instead of working outside to beat the block. The safety fills the inside alley because he expects the runner to be forced that way. Instead, he gets the sideline off the outside hip of his blocker and picks up a good chunk of yardage.

I pointed out above that this defense always works to beat blocks on these short throws and get guys down very quickly. That doesn’t happen here because the first guy to the ball doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do.