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New DC Johnson Tries To Speed Up His Defense At Auburn

AUBURN FOOTBALLThe biggest trend in college football today is the up-tempo, no-huddle, fast-as-lightning approach to offense made popular — in large part — by the success of Chip Kelly at Oregon and Gus Malzahn at Auburn.  By racing to the line of scrimmage between plays, offenses are able to dictate to defenses their personnel.  Forget sub packages, there’s no time to get guys on the field and get them lined up.

Could it be that a solution to this problem might emerge from one of the school’s best known for its up-tempo style?

New Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is building a defense this spring that he hopes can deal with Malzahn’s hurried offense on the practice field… and with offenses like Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Tennessee this fall.  According to Joel A. Erickson of Al.com, the plan is to put versatile players on the field who can be deployed in different positions based on down and distance.  In other words, there’s no need for substitutions on a play-by-play basis:

 

“But Johnson’s scheme, which keeps defensive linemen on the same side of the field against all formations, usually places the linebackers inside the formation and uses versatile safeties who can play either the boundary or the field position, matched the offense’s personnel by transforming from base defense to sub-packages while using the same personnel.”

 

Johnson’s new system also cuts down on the number of assignments for each player, allowing them to fly to the football faster.  Johnson likes what he’s seen so far: “They haven’t gotten a lot of brain lock out there on things that have been a little new that we’re doing or they see something the offense hasn’t done yet, see a new play or a new formation.  I’ve been really pleased with the overall performance of them from an assignment standpoint.”

No doubt, the solution isn’t perfect.  Players can still wear down over the course of a series.  And with fewer assignments, there’s the likelihood for a few more defensive breakdowns when facing an up-tempo option team.

Still, it is is fitting that one of the folks tinkering with a means to de-claw hurry-up offenses is a guy who has to face such an offense each day in practice.

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SEC Headlines 1/5/2012

headlines-satSEC Bowl Games

1. Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl features two 6-6 teams that had to win their last regular season game to become bowl-eligible. One is more excited than the other.

2. Rebels ran 70 or plays seven times this year.  Only three teams got above 70 against the Panthers.

3. Hugh Freeze: ”I don’t know how much of our stuff is done in the Big East.”

4. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart says the BCS Championship Game will be won in the trenches.  Nick Saban doesn’t totally agree.  “You could also argue that Texas A&M exploited us in a different fashion than that.”

5. What did Notre Dame learn from watching tape of the Bama-A&M game? “That we can take advantage of their secondary.”

6. Smart on beating Georgia and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo in the SEC Championship Game: “I’ll be honest, that was a really tough moment for me in coaching, because Mike is really my best friend, and we grew up together.”

7. Dallas writer: “If there was a playoff in college football now, nobody would want to face Texas A&M.”

8. Twitter roundup - Cotton Bowl edition.

9. Fox missed the kickoff of the game last night.

10. First championship game site in new playoff era could be announced within 45 days.

11. LSU vs. Clemson most-watched Non-BCS bowl game in ESPN history.

SEC Football

12. Gus Malzahn has stockpiled recruiting coordinators.  New staff has more than 100 years of SEC coaching experience.

13. Kirby Smart on interviewing at Auburn: “I respect the University of Auburn, and the opportunity they gave me to interview and talk to them.”

14. With Connor Shaw having foot surgery on Friday, what does that mean for the quarterback position at South Carolina in 2013?

15. Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says stability and relationships were key when he was at the school, but “with four presidents in six years, that has gone away. We’ve eaten away internally all the relationships to work together.”

16. Sensors in helmets could help answer the question – how many hits are too many?

SEC Basketball

17. Missouri vs. Bucknell.  Are the Tigers too dependent on Phil Pressey? Averaging a team-high 34.1 minutes per game.

18. Arkansas vs. Delaware State.  8-4 Razorbacks close out their non-conference schedule.

19. Oakland vs. Alabama. Tide struggling in second half, lost five of last six games.

20. LSU vs. Bethune-Cookman. Sophomore guard Anthony Hickey expected back in lineup.

21. Tennessee A.D. Dave Hart on the Tennessee-Memphis series: ”In what form and what will happen next year, nobody is certain of, but at some point we’ve got to continue the series.”

22. Florida plays Yale Sunday – only the second game for the Gators in the last 15 days.

23. The man who transformed basketball in the South – Pistol Pete Maravich. Died 25 years ago today at the age of 40.

Extra

24. Cleveland Browns closing in on Chip Kelly?

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Cowherd Says A Top 12 Program’s About To Get Hit By The NCAA… SEC Rumors Start Swirling

ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd set the rumor mill in motion yesterday afternoon when he said that he had received a tip that “a major program in this country is going to be outed very soon for major recruiting violations.”  He said the program is a Top 10 or Top 12 program.  (In last year’s polls?  In his eyes?)

The folks at CollegeFootballTalk.com have apparently heard a similar rumor, but neither Cowherd nor the website are revealing which program might be the target of NCAA sleuths.  At least Cowherd is saying who is not the target:


A major publication is about to unseat a major college football power on recruiting violations.  I will tell you from my source, it is not — it is not — Auburn.  I will leave it at that.  It is a major program and a major publication.


Immediately, fingers began pointing toward Oregon.  But John Canzano of The Oregonian reported that folks inside the Duck athletic department were “surprised” to hear of the rumors.  Head coach Chip Kelly said he was unaware of any violations.

At that point, SportsByBrooks.com jumped into the fray via Twitter and Facebook.  A few of the sites Twitter nuggets (or Twuggets):


Mult. ESPN sources have now verified to me Cowherd was referencing Oregon as school to be “outed very soon for major recruiting violations.


And — because a cheating rumor can’t exist without an SEC tie:


I talked to several sources today about LSU.  NCAA is absolutely not investigating LSU football program.


Of course, the last time Cowherd set off a wild internet free-for-all he was claiming to know the secret identity of Florida’s next football coach.  He used the acronym STAB to reveal the identity of the coach before he was hired.

What STAB ultimately had to do with Will Muschamp?  No clue.  (And feel free to clue me in if you’re a regular listener to Cowherd.  I am not.)

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SEC Headlines – 1/7/11 Part One

1.  Alabama’s Marcell Dareus, Mark Ingram and Julio Jones are expected to make their NFL decisions public at a press conference today.

2.  Can Anthony Grant’s basketball team compete in the SEC this year?  (Some high schools could compete in the SEC West this year.)

3. Ticket prices continue to rise for the BCS Championship Game.

4.  The defenses could steal the show on Monday night.

5.  Auburn’s offensive success starts in the trenches.

6.  Linebacker Josh Bynes says Auburn’s “not concerned at all” about the pace of Oregon’s offense.

7.  But the Ducks are counting on wearing down the Tigers.

8.  Nick Fairley has become a Twitter star (sigh) because people really want to know that he loves professional wrestling and Burger King.

9.  Auburn’s seniors are thinking about their fast-approaching final practice session.

10.  The coaching edge on Monday goes to Chip Kelly over Gene Chizik.

11.  The SEC’s streak of four consecutive national titles is a burden the Tigers must bear.

12.  Oregon’s players are actually having to spend time doing school work this week.  Auburn’s players are not.

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