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App State Film Review: SunBelt Championship Second Half

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t remember this game being close in the third quarter when I watched it live but App State’s offensive issues were on full display in this game. They are a run heavy offense and I have some concerns about how the offense adjusts when the run game isn’t working. I haven’t seen a lot of creativity to manufacture big plays in the passing game without play action.

The defense had one bad drive but it was off of a turnover. They pretty much held things together in this game through the end of the game. This was another rainy game, so I don’t know how much that played into the issues they had, but this game showed just how important the defense was to this team. The offense wasn’t always reliable.

App State Ball, 2nd and 10

I’ve been waiting to post a good cutback run by a running back and I finally found what is probably the best one they had this yer. Darrynton Evans sees this very well right off of the hand off and he commits to his decision once he makes it. Kudos to the h-back for getting a perfect cut block on the back side, too.

What bodes well for Hassan Hall is that he has this type of speed and burst where a cutback run will allow him to run away from guys who are moving the opposite direction. What we don’t know is if he can see this type of backside lane. I don’t know who the starter will be next year, but whoever it is absolutely has to be able to see these types of running lanes. It’s a big part of a zone run game.

App State Ball, 3rd and 5

This play probably would have worked if it had been blocked well but my god I hate it. Putting a bunch of slow guys on the field in a passing situation is just a bad idea to me. You’re asking those slow guys to beat fast guys to get open and it doesn’t work very often. You can see that the tight end to the top of the screen gets away with a push off and is wide open but he’s short of the first down if he doesn’t discard his man. This play is designed to get just enough yardage and those plays never make sense to me.

LA Ball, 1st and 10

In an earlier post I pointed out how Bryan Brown’s defense uses slants with their three man front, which is really unusual. It works because the linebackers work to the backside of the slant to fill. You can see on this play that the middle linebacker to the top of the screen immediately gets up the field to take on a blocker at the line of scrimmage. The other middle linebacker (#59) is there in the hole ready to make the play but he misses the tackle. He overruns it just a bit and the back is in the open field.

This play illustrates what I think UofL could struggle with. The linebackers haven’t been extremely instinctive over the last two years and they end up getting caught up in the wash. This is a very common play call for Bryan Brown, so I hope that it becomes second nature with enough practice. It’s typically very effective even though it wasn’t on this play.

App State Ball, 4th and 1

It’s not the exact same situation but I killed Petrino for going for it on fourth down in his own territory this year, so you can imagine how much I hated seeing this play. I remember saying “ugh” out loud when I watched it live. It was a desperate decision after Louisiana scored their first touchdown and it put the defense in a bad spot.

I’ve also realized that I haven’t seen any true power runs from the offense in any of the games I’ve watched. They always run with a h-back and have traditional “power” sets, but I haven’t seen them actually run three tight end sets like you normally see in short yardage. Not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s noteworthy.

LA Ball, 3rd and 5

Louisiana got down to the goal line because App State forgot how to beat blocks all of a sudden. They gave up a first down even though it was 1st and 25 to start the drive. So it was good to see guys get back to beating blocks and making the offense make a play to beat them. That obviously doesn’t happen here as the quarterback is forced to throw the ball away.

Bryan Brown has made it known that he will look to move outside linebackers down to defensive ends and I think Tabarius Peterson would kill it there. This is the exact type of play that he can make with proper coaching on hand usage and placement.

I also noticed how the defensive backs defended this in the end zone. It’s a common tactic for offenses to try to cause some coverage confusion by lining up two guys in a bunch. App State approaches this differently than most as the outside defender bails outside to take that throw away while the inside guy plays with inside leverage. They pass off the crossers and end up in perfect position to make a play if the throw is made.

App State Ball, 2nd and 10

I’m not sure if I’ve posted this play before but if not I wanted to throw it in to show a misdirection play that is in the offense. Louisiana plays this perfectly and blows it up but it’s pretty obvious how it works if the backside defender even makes one false step. I personally like this design because I think that all misdirection pays should do as much as possible to sell the fake of the play. This is about as close as it gets with just one blocker for the reverse.

FOURTH QUARTER

LA Ball, 2nd and 8

The defense really won this game for App State and plays like this are why. This is just an opportunistic play with great execution. It’s a basic “Tampa 2” type of coverage where the corner passes off deep routes to the safety. Only there isn’t anything short on this play so Tae Hayes (#17) sinks back and stays underneath the receiver. The pressure gets to the quarterback late and forces a bad throw.

App State Ball, 4th and 1

Here’s another wrinkle that uses orbit motion. If you read the post from yesterday you saw a similar play earlier in this game where they faked the hand off and threw it out to the tight end in the flat for a first down. Watch how the defensive back runs with the tight end here and clears space for Zac Thomas to get the edge. By the time the DB recovers, Thomas is by him and he runs for a long touchdown.

This is a class in offensive play calling. They set this up earlier in the game knowing that they would be able to come back and run something off of it. I haven’t been blown away by this offense but I can’t get enough of how everything Coach Satt does is built into or off of something else. That’s how good offenses keep the defense off balance.

LA Ball, 3rd and Goal

I want you guys to watch three guys on this play in a specific order. The left end (#47). The nose tackle (#92). Then the guy that actually makes the tackle (#9). Watch how the defensive line just forces their way into the backfield. That forces the back outside because he doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Then you see the safety shoot the gap that opens up because of that pressure and he uses his speed to get the backs legs. Textbook defense with three undersized guys on a goal line play. There’s no reason that UofL shouldn’t be able to do this with the size they have up front.