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Gongora
Alabama Fan
Member since Feb 2015
574 posts

Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
I’ve been seeing player groupings/depth chart from a base 3-4, but I keep reading that we’re not in base very often and are more likely to play nickel. When we go nickel (and dime too for that matter) who gets subbed out for the extra DB? Is it the NG? Is it one of the ILBs? Does it depend on the opponent and/or down and distance?

Forgive me for not knowing this, but I’m more of a basketball guy anyway. Wish I knew more about offensive and defensive strategy in football. Thanks!


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

I’ve been seeing player groupings/depth chart from a base 3-4, but I keep reading that we’re not in base very often and are more likely to play nickel. When we go nickel (and dime too for that matter) who gets subbed out for the extra DB? Is it the NG? Is it one of the ILBs? Does it depend on the opponent and/or down and distance?

Forgive me for not knowing this, but I’m more of a basketball guy anyway. Wish I knew more about offensive and defensive strategy in football. Thanks!


Traditionally the Sam linebacker (an OLB) exits the game to be replaced by the Star (Nickel back). It's certainly possible to play Nickle with a hybrid Sam, as Michigan did with Jabril Peppers. We did it years ago with Cory Reamer, but as the game has become spread out, the necessity to get Sam off the field and replaced with a defensive back is paramount.

Having said all that, that is an explanation of a simple transition from Base to Nickle. Frequently on obvious passing downs, we put in our Rabbit Rusher package in which our Front 6 would likely be comprised of a 1 DE and 3 OLBs and 2 ILBs, or 2 DEs, 2 OLBs, and 2 ILBs - basically getting the Tackle body types off the field.
This post was edited on 8/8 at 4:39 pm


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
Regarding going to Dime from Nickle, it's common for us to take the Will linebacker off the field and replace him with the Money position (Dime backer), putting us in basically a 4-1-6. However, it is certainly possible to remove a Dlineman and end up in a 3-2-6 look.


Gongora
Alabama Fan
Member since Feb 2015
574 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
Thanks! I thought in years past we had subbed out the Sam and Will spots. Do you see that trend continuing or would we leave in Moses as the ILB? I like what I’ve heard about McMillon so I’m not trying to knock him. At the same time I’m thinking coaches might prefer more athleticism and experience on passing downs where coverage or spying on a QB would be needed.


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

Thanks! I thought in years past we had subbed out the Sam and Will spots. Do you see that trend continuing or would we leave in Moses as the ILB? I like what I’ve heard about McMillon so I’m not trying to knock him. At the same time I’m thinking coaches might prefer more athleticism and experience on passing downs where coverage or spying on a QB would be needed.


You're certainly welcome.

There's actually a bit of confusion as to who our starting Mike is going to be. In Spring, Moses played Mike and spoke about being ready to call the defense. Then when Golding spoke the other day, he implied McMillon was calling the defense and directly stated that McMillon was stepping into Wilson's role from last year.

Despite that issue, I agree with your assessment of Moses. He's excellent in coverage and is our best coverage LB by a mile. However, if we were to go to a 4-1-6, the Middle LB wouldn't likely have coverage responsibilities - only run stop or blitzing responsibilities - and McMillon might actually excel at those things.

Having said all that, I bet the coaches agree with you and I, in that we think if the defense is on the field, Dylan Moses ought to be on the field.
This post was edited on 8/8 at 2:36 pm


pmacattack
Alabama Fan
Member since Oct 2016
1951 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
As a hypothetical, if McMillon was the LB in dime could Moses move down the the front 4 as a rusher?


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

As a hypothetical, if McMillon was the LB in dime could Moses move down the the front 4 as a rusher?


Certainly. CJ Mosely moved all over the field in a similar way. However, I'd wager that a few to several of our OLBs are better pure pass rushers than Moses, mostly because they've spent years honing their craft as well as being longer athletes on the whole.

But yeah, I expect Moses to do a fair amount of coming after the QB. Frequently, when we go to a 4-1-6, we bring all 5 after the QB as soon as Mike recognizes pass with no RB to dump it off to.
This post was edited on 8/8 at 5:20 pm


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
Speaking of the blitz, that brings up an interesting topic, the topic of how much heat does Golding want to bring, now that he's in full control.

I feel like Kirby blitzed more early in his Bama career, and got away from it slowly toward the end of his tenure. I thought we saw Pruitt bring back the concept of pressuring more via the blitz, which many fans were happy about, including myself. Regarding last year, I have no idea if we wanted to blitz more, as I don't think we trusted our secondary enough to do so.

This year, our secondary ought to be lights out, and so I hope to see us bring more heat. We'll see.


pmacattack
Alabama Fan
Member since Oct 2016
1951 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
Understandable on your wager. At full health, I agree which is why the rabbit rush package you mentioned is interesting. Could a front line of Lewis, Allen, A.Jennings, Moses situationally work without being too light against a potential run from a pass set?
I.e 3rd and 10+


pmacattack
Alabama Fan
Member since Oct 2016
1951 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
I loved the Pruitt called defense, Im sure it was a mix of players making plays and his calls being timely and well studied. The pair made for a lot of fun to watch.


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prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

Could a front line of Lewis, Allen, A.Jennings, Moses situationally work without being too light against a potential run from a pass set?


If you are asking if we'd run Nickle/Dime Rabbit Rusher with 4 LBs as the Front 4, I highly doubt it.

If we were to run that out of Nickle, then we still need 2 ILBs. Who will they be? McMillon and Lee, or McMillon and Benton? Or Moody? I don't think we want to get into too many situations where we're voluntarily dipping in to our backup ILBs while simultaneously keep future NFL Defensive Ends on the sideline.

If we trotted out that unit, then we'd likely have our entire front 4 in a 2-point stance, and we never, or almost never, do that. We'd also be super, super weak versus the run game (and maybe screen game, too).

Out of Dime, the same logic applies. Although if you know for a fact that there is no threat of a run, you could likely get away with it (Nickle or Dime). But if you keep doing it, any OC worth his salt will figure out a way to quickly take advantage of the fact that you don't have any DTs or DEs on the field


TideSaint
LSU Fan
Prattville - God's Country
Member since Sep 2008
56563 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

prevatt33


This is how you post, my dude.

Very nice.

ETA: I'm talking about every post in this thread, not just the last one.
This post was edited on 8/8 at 7:06 pm


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pmacattack
Alabama Fan
Member since Oct 2016
1951 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
yes i meant 4LB as the front and 1 LB behind them if the situation had ever made sense for it. Just a fun thought that came up during lunch that i did not think was sensible unless it caught a team off guard out of substitutions


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Gongora
Alabama Fan
Member since Feb 2015
574 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

when we go to a 4-1-6, we bring all 5 after the QB as soon as Mike recognizes pass with no RB to dump it off to.


quote:

if we were to go to a 4-1-6, the Middle LB wouldn’t likely have coverage responsibilities


Great stuff! Makes total sense.

If I’m reading this right then our front 5-6 will consist of a combo of the following players when we go to nickel or dime:

DE:
Davis
Ray
Eboigbe

OLB:
Lewis
Jennings
Allen

ILB:
Moses
McMillon
Kaho?? (Is he still on the team?)
Lee/Moody

Am I missing anybody?


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
I'm not where I can post at length, but regarding our Front players in Nickle/Dime, you can take any backup ILBs off the list unless someone is injured. A proper list of these players would probably have 3 more Dlineman and another OLB or 2, in addition to who you listed.

Remember, just because we have our Nickel or Dime packages on the field, does not necessarily mean that we have our Rabbit Rusher package on the field. It is perfectly reasonable for us to be in Nickel and Dime and still have our defensive tackles in the game.

The Rabbit Rusher package (take Tackles out and replace them with DEs or OLBs) is for obvious passing downs. If a team is in 3-wide on 1st and 10, we'll likely be in Nickle with the same Front 4 (3 DL and Jack) as Base defense.
This post was edited on 8/9 at 9:53 am


DLev45
Member since Aug 2018
59 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

I’ve been seeing player groupings/depth chart from a base 3-4, but I keep reading that we’re not in base very often and are more likely to play nickel. When we go nickel (and dime too for that matter) who gets subbed out for the extra DB? Is it the NG? Is it one of the ILBs? Does it depend on the opponent and/or down and distance?

Forgive me for not knowing this, but I’m more of a basketball guy anyway. Wish I knew more about offensive and defensive strategy in football. Thanks!



I would expect, based on our current projected starters, that the rotation would work as follows.

Base:
DE: Davis
DT: Dale
DE: Ray
JACK: Jennings
MIKE: McMillon
WILL: Moses
SAM: Lewis
CB: Diggs
CB: Surtain
FS: Carter
SS: McKinney

Nickel base - Ray or Lewis come off for Jobe, Diggs/Surtain to Star.

Nickel rabbit - Dale comes off for Jobe, Diggs/Surtain to Star

Dime - McMillon comes off for Mayden, Carter to Money.


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prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
A typical 3-and-out for us would go like this:

Offense plays 3-wide for the entire series:

1st down and 10: Bama defense plays Nickel with Base Front minus Sam. Play nets 3 yards.

2nd and 7: Bama plays Nickel with Base Front minus Sam. Play results in a 5 yard loss.

3rd and 12: Bama plays Nickel with Rabbit Rusher Front. Play results in incomplete pass. Defense forces punt.

We played Nickel 3 plays, but only used the Rabbit Rusher package once.

Regarding Dime, we honestly really don't play it very much. If we play Nickel 85% of the time, that only leaves 15% for Base and Dime combined. At this moment in time, Star is starting role and Sam almost doesn't exist.


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prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

ILB:
Moses
McMillon
Kaho?? (Is he still on the team?)
Lee/Moody


Kaho is still on the team, but sits at Third String at best. He's definitely behind Moses, McMillon, Lee, Benton, and Moody (at minimum) in the current ILB pecking order.


Commander Data
Alabama Fan
Titletown, USA
Member since Dec 2016
5621 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
Prevatt, do you think Lewis and Jennings can provide an elite pass rush or at least a good one?


prevatt33
Alabama Fan
Member since Dec 2011
2654 posts

re: Defensive Personnel Rotation Question
quote:

Prevatt, do you think Lewis and Jennings can provide an elite pass rush or at least a good one?


Not that my opinion is particularly important, but I believe that we could've had an elite pass rush year both of the past 2 years if we had stayed healthy at the OLB position. I think this year is no different. We have explosive athletes on the edge - there's no doubt about it, and Lewis and Jennings (in that order) are at the top of that list. I also expect to see Chris Allen off the edge, and maybe Davis or a youngster or 2. With Sal back coaching the OLBs , I expect them to be developed more than recent years past. I'm very excited about this unit.

Having said all that, we need to get to the QB from the DE and DT position as well in order to have a truly elite pass rush.
This post was edited on 8/9 at 5:36 pm


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