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For myself, the '88 team will forever define 'Auburn Defense'. In terms of points allowed, mis-tackles, and 3rd down conversions, I share the same concern w/ many of you over our defensive play in recent seasons. At this point, I think Coach Roof has taken more criticism than he deserves. I could be wrong, time will tell, but I give credence to the comments that we need more depth and experience on defense in order to properly assess and evaluate the performance of the staff.
For weeks we've all read that the difference of philosophies between Chizik (Tampa 2) and Roof (Pass Rush) has contributed to the poor on-field performance and results. If I remember correctly, when Chizik was hiring his staff, he strongly went after Ellis Johnson as his first choice.
I'm curious... does Ellis Johnson's style/philosophy more closely align w/ Chizik or Roof? Or is it something altogether different? The answer could help clarify Coach Chizik's long term direction and desired defensive identity for the team.
Ellis Johnson defense/philosophy is a 4-2-5 defense. That is, four down linemen, 2 linebackers, and 5 defensive backs. Normally this would be called a nickel formation, but for reasons we will see, this isn't really a nickel defense.
The primary difference is that the fifth defensive back is more of a linebacker/strong safety hybrid than a typical nickel back. In a typical nickel scheme, the extra defensive back either plays a deep zone or covers the slot receiver one-on-one. In Ellis Johnson's scheme, the "spur" plays much more of a run-support/blitzing/underneath-coverage role than a nickel back.
So, in many ways you could call this defense a 4-2-1-4 defense: four down linemen, two linebackers, one spur, and four true defensive backs.
The most common defensive play-call in this formation has the four down linemen attacking the line of scrimmage and the two linebackers playing primarily run-support roles and covering backs out of the backfield. The "spur" covers the short/intermediate middle of the field in a zone defense, the two corners play zone schemes on the outside, and the two safeties play a two-deep zone.
I dare say both our safeties are always in "run-support/blitzing/underneath-coverage role ", but notsomuch coverage
1. We havent had a MLB since Travis Williams who could run the tampa 2 so I would call Chizik's philosiphy a deep cover 2 zone oriented defense as opposed to the tampa 2.
2. Ellis Johnson's defense more resembles Joe Lee Dunn's old dogback defense from his MSU days or John Tunuta's defense.
3. Roof's defense is similar to Muschamps playing press man on the edges and blitzing.
"Get in where you fit in." Life is, Too Short TL;DR
Great breakdown! Thanks. Sounds like a Darren Bates type would have been a superstar as a "5th DB" in this type of D.
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