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Five Plays: NC State Third Quarter

NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

This didn’t happen much in this game but Louisville can’t allow this type of pitch-and-catch third down. The defensive line runs a simple twist but there is no number advantage, so the offensive line passes off on the rushers. Each defender just ends up running into a lineman. They got home a good amount in this game, but when they didn’t, it was a bit too easy for me.

During spring practice I really liked seeing how Ron English would blitz the safeties. They mostly walked up into the box and showed their blitz. That’s not a complaint but disguising pressures is always a plus.

On this play, we can see that Devin Neal doesn’t show his blitz which works out well because there is no one to block him once he gets to the line of scrimmage. The blitz also has the linebacker filling the gap which leads to the running back taking him on as he is the inside threat. Neal gets a free run and Brennan Armstrong rushes his throw and delivers an overthrow to Cam’ron Kelly. This is how you draw it up.

The dummy blitz works again here as NC State goes with a screen against what looks like a blitz. Instead, UofL backs out and drops into coverage again. The ball goes to a player who has an entire defense with eyes on him. No one is running away from the play because the call has the defense containing the play and keeping things in front of them. Everything is executed to plan and the defense makes the tackle.

This was such a fun play in real time that I made an audible noise. This is a simple five-man pressure with man coverage and a single-high safety. But English mixes in a twist with his stud defensive end looping around for the sack.

Ashton Gillotte is good enough that any passing situation should include help to get him into the backfield to at least get pressure on the quarterback. He can get home on his own, but teams will start to give blockers help as the season goes on. This simple twist with a fifth rusher was so good to see.

We really need to see stuff like this against Notre Dame. Sam Hartman obviously struggles against pressure and he doesn’t have a group of receivers that have shown they can consistently make plays. Ron English should trust his secondary to handle coverage while he brings pressure.

I really liked how Cam Kelly played this. NC State uses motion to empty out the box but they had done this earlier in the game as well. Kelly keeps his eyes in the backfield as the Wolfpack threw the screen earlier on and once he sees Brennan Armstrong keep the ball he closes.

I think the veteran additions for Louisville have gotten some notice but I’m not sure it’s been enough. This is a veteran play from Kelly that you don’t always see from young guys. The formation and motion were recognized but Kelly also knew what to key on. If Armstrong throws the screen again, he is in position to recognize it and get to the ball. He essentially splits the difference but the way he closes here and makes the big hit really stood out to me.

I’m not even sure what to say about this play other than it is so intricate that I can’t believe Brohm called it with NC State putting so much pressure on Jack Plummer throughout the game. The fact that the ball goes back to the player that intitially gets the handoff is so cool to me. There is too much for any defense to keep up with and the defense ends up takling the wrong guy. They then pause because the player on the reverse is running right at them.

Kevin Coleman also does a great job to turn this into a big play. I can’t clip the full play but he makes multiple people miss on this play and UofL ends up getting a field goal on this drive because of the run after the catch here.

You can’t play this any better than Stephon Herron did. This is clinic tape stuff from him as he reads the quarterback as opposed to the quarterback being able to read him. Herron comes off the ball and quickly recognizes what is happening and he just slows himself down to read the play. This is another veteran play from a transfer. It may not be a play that ends up on the stat sheet but it’s exactly what this defense needs.

The NC State game showed me that Ron English’s defense can be effective when his players can let loose and play aggresively. This play is a good depiction of the approach the defense had all game long. Jarvis Brownlee sees it quickly and he attacks quickly. There’s a phrase in football that I love. “Solve your problems with aggression”. UofL didn’t really have problems last week, but they need to live by that motto this year.