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Can someone explain to me the benefits of running a 3-3-5 scheme? My takeaways from this particular defense at UNT is that you must have the right personnel to handle the complexities of it. I know for the most part that having extra men in the secondary have the benefit of disguising coverages and blitz packages but again, the only time that seems to work for us is when we have a skilled and mature secondary (i.e 2018 season). And in our experience, it is definitely not a forgiving system for players that can't measure up to it.

My main concern is that the CB position in a 3-3-5 seem to have a ton of pressure by holding down the corners of the field with little help. I always noticed last year how our Corners almost always give about 5-10 yards of space between them and the line of scrimmage. I attribute this to not having enough talent to disrupt routes by being physical and closer to the LOS and instead hedging to prevent any large chucks of yardage by getting beat at the line. Maybe that's just part of the scheme, idk.

Regardless, 3-3-5 is an interesting concept and I would hypothesize the main reason we have this defense in place is to make up for our lack in size and replace it with more available speed in terms of the players we recruit. But man, it drives me nuts that we never are able to consistently apply pressure in the backfield. It doesn't seem like a 3-3-5 prioritizes that, but rather tries to plug up as much of the field with as many bodies as possible while throwing in a blitz to try to confuse the QB/OL.

Idk... anyone else have thoughts on it?

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11 minutes ago, 97and03 said:

Difficult to recruit DTs. Easier to recruit LBs and DBs. I know there is plenty more to it but that has to be a huge part of it. 

aka we don't have the big boys, we use hybrid guys to run a hybrid defense.

You can also sometimes think of a 3-3-5 as a 3-5-3. Disguise and use specific personnel groupings with hybrid players. Sometimes can also think of one of the LBs as a DL because that's where they'll live depending on the play.

Easy to blitz from, disguise the gaps, and can defend against the run or against the spread, or even the spread option. Lots of options.

@aztecskin covers a bit of it here: https://meangreennation.com/north-texas-begins-the-pandemic-season-with-questions-2020-mgn-season-preview/

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I was really hoping our DL could make a statement against HBU. We had one sack by KD Davis and a couple of QB hurries according to ESPN stats but... where was our rush ATK? Novil is a beast but he seems to have his hands full clogging up as much of the line while theoretically given others an advantage at bursting through.

Not sure if the blame falls more on the system or the players but at this point we've had many years to form a sample size and my takeaway from it all is that we don't prioritize the pass rush and we try to disrupt the throwing game in different ways. I just don't know it works without having the perfect personnel fit

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I agree totally. It's interesting KD DAVIS gets Defensive Player of the week in CUSA yet the defense gives up a shit pot of passing yards. I hope the DC was holding back the real defense!

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4 minutes ago, Aldo said:

aka we don't have the big boys, we use hybrid guys to run a hybrid defense.

You can also sometimes think of a 3-3-5 as a 3-5-3. Disguise and use specific personnel groupings with hybrid players. Sometimes can also think of one of the LBs as a DL because that's where they'll live depending on the play.

Easy to blitz from, disguise the gaps, and can defend against the run or against the spread, or even the spread option. Lots of options.

@aztecskin covers a bit of it here: https://meangreennation.com/north-texas-begins-the-pandemic-season-with-questions-2020-mgn-season-preview/

Interesting article! I'll definitely read through it all later today.

One of the things you mentioned as a positive - "Lots of options". This goes back to my complexity concern. Do you think having lots of options debilitates our players to some degree?

I can point back to a lot of plays where we'd give up chunks of yards, specifically last year, where a coverage is supposedly blown or we got completely blind sided. I also worry about players coming out of HS and not being able to utilize the best of their abilities by having to learn this style of defense.

I understand the recruitment challenge with trying to beef up our team, but would a 4-3 system be that unsuccessful with the players we have now?

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38 minutes ago, eeeeagle said:

Can someone explain to me the benefits of running a 3-3-5 scheme? My takeaways from this particular defense at UNT is that you must have the right personnel to handle the complexities of it. I know for the most part that having extra men in the secondary have the benefit of disguising coverages and blitz packages but again, the only time that seems to work for us is when we have a skilled and mature secondary (i.e 2018 season). And in our experience, it is definitely not a forgiving system for players that can't measure up to it.

My main concern is that the CB position in a 3-3-5 seem to have a ton of pressure by holding down the corners of the field with little help. I always noticed last year how our Corners almost always give about 5-10 yards of space between them and the line of scrimmage. I attribute this to not having enough talent to disrupt routes by being physical and closer to the LOS and instead hedging to prevent any large chucks of yardage by getting beat at the line. Maybe that's just part of the scheme, idk.

Regardless, 3-3-5 is an interesting concept and I would hypothesize the main reason we have this defense in place is to make up for our lack in size and replace it with more available speed in terms of the players we recruit. But man, it drives me nuts that we never are able to consistently apply pressure in the backfield. It doesn't seem like a 3-3-5 prioritizes that, but rather tries to plug up as much of the field with as many bodies as possible while throwing in a blitz to try to confuse the QB/OL.

Idk... anyone else have thoughts on it?

5 DB's and they still lit us up with almost 500 yards passing? Something doesn't look right here.

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1 minute ago, eeeeagle said:

Interesting article! I'll definitely read through it all later today.

One of the things you mentioned as a positive - "Lots of options". This goes back to my complexity concern. Do you think having lots of options debilitates our players to some degree?

I can point back to a lot of plays where we'd give up chunks of yards, specifically last year, where a coverage is supposedly blown or we got completely blind sided. I also worry about players coming out of HS and not being able to utilize the best of their abilities by having to learn this style of defense.

I understand the recruitment challenge with trying to beef up our team, but would a 4-3 system be that unsuccessful with the players we have now?

I think the article covers some of it, but yeah there's always guys that will get lost on any given play. The hope is that there will be reduced complexity. A big part of it is maturity and we're rolling out some young guys. Talented, but young.

The last DC ran a similar system and ran lots of pass rushes and blitz. I am not as good talking defense, but you can use your OLB as a 4th lineman to purely pass rush, or a rover. We used to blitz with the corners often too.

We probably went with a vanilla base just to get our ducks in a row, and not show too much before SMU.

Just think of it has having 1 or 2 specialized players on the field (smaller OLB/hybrid safety/safety) that can either purely pass rush, rush or be run support, or defend against the pass (and yes maybe rush). 

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9 minutes ago, Aldo said:

I think the article covers some of it, but yeah there's always guys that will get lost on any given play. The hope is that there will be reduced complexity. A big part of it is maturity and we're rolling out some young guys. Talented, but young.

The last DC ran a similar system and ran lots of pass rushes and blitz. I am not as good talking defense, but you can use your OLB as a 4th lineman to purely pass rush, or a rover. We used to blitz with the corners often too.

We probably went with a vanilla base just to get our ducks in a row, and not show too much before SMU.

Just think of it has having 1 or 2 specialized players on the field (smaller OLB/hybrid safety/safety) that can either purely pass rush, rush or be run support, or defend against the pass (and yes maybe rush). 

We'll definitely get a full view into what our defense is made of against SMU.

The idea that the 3-3-5 reduces complexity makes me scratch my head, but I'll dive into that article you linked before I start opining again.

Regardless, I am very excited to see who we got in these last 2 classes on the defensive end. I'm expecting Gaddie to make some plays this year

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16 minutes ago, Mo Green said:

5 DB's and they still lit us up with almost 500 yards passing? Something doesn't look right here.

I think the game plan had a lot to do with that.  That defense was very passive.  

However, 3 man fronts while generally having more coverage, also restrict the pass rush.  

If the game plan was to make SMU's offense overconfident, NT did a good job. 

I expect the defense to be a lot different against SMU.   Different maynot be good enough, but we will see. 

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It's going to be another long season if we have 5 defensive backs and give up 500 yards passing to the likes of  HBU. Having a 3 man front to me means we just don't have enough big men with size and speed . I thought you usually ran a 3-4-4 so linebackers could be of more help to the D-line, but I do not pretend to know coaching so will leave it to those who do.

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1 hour ago, 97and03 said:

Difficult to recruit DTs. Easier to recruit LBs and DBs. I know there is plenty more to it but that has to be a huge part of it. 

this is the correct answer 

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Bowen mostly went with a 4 man front from what I can remember at Kansas, but could be mistaken there.  My guess is that the decision to run 3-3-5 is a short term one due to personnel.  As UNTLifer just mentioned we are attempting to load up on DT  in this recruiting class which I would guess is a good indication of what's to come.

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10 minutes ago, greenminer said:

I wonder how incredible of a 3-3-5 we could have put together when Booger was around.

Not DeLoach's thing, but it's fun to speculate what coulda been.

That would mean we’d have to take one of the linemen out though.  Who you taking?  Awasom?  Daniels?  Cardwell?   Although I guess Awasom was athletic enough to drop into coverage, so he could play Jack, like Demarcus Ware @ Troy.

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You guys don't have the defensive linemen to play a 4-3 and sure as hell cant play a 5-2.

You guys don't have the linebackers to run a 3-4 either.

A 3-3-5 is literally the only realistic thing y'all can run.

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3 hours ago, greenminer said:

I wonder how incredible of a 3-3-5 we could have put together when Booger was around.

Not DeLoach's thing, but it's fun to speculate what coulda been.

Why would you want to change those defenses?  Nothing with the 3-3-5 leads me to believe it would be incredible. 

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@eeeeagle good questions. 

@Aldo linked to the article I wrote and I noted in the game recap here one of the things I saw that sort of explains the passing yards issue. 

The very short and incomplete history of defense is this:

Early in football history defenses essentially put as many guys on the line as possible. It basically looked like goal line offense and defense everywhere. 

As offenses evolved — T-Formation, passing game evolution, and rules changes — defenses adjusted. More men were moved “back” to stop the pass game. 

Tom Landry developed the 4-3 FLEX defense based on some of that and to accommodate his players. 

Very genetically speaking the 5-2 defense evolved to the 3-4 and the 4-3 to the 4-4 and 4-2-5. 

The modern 3-3-5 was developed by Rocky Long for the same reason everyone invents something: necessity. 

Modern defenses (2005-present) are trying to stifle the offensive explosion by being more versatile and fast. NT is doing this 3-3-5/4-2-5 because Clemson and Alabama get all the NFL-caliber defensive lineman and we have to find a way to get pressure while also being solid in coverage. 

Gary Patterson at TCU has done an amazing job of finding “tweener” guys that got his system and can execute. He doesn’t get obvious athletes but still has produced great defenses over the years. 

Yes, Booger and other great players would thrive in whatever system — they make the system. Brian Urlacher played in a 3-3-5 in college and was also the prototype middle linebacker in a Tampa 2 (4-3) system. He was just a great player. 

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2 minutes ago, aztecskin said:

@eeeeagle good questions. 

@Aldo linked to the article I wrote and I noted in the game recap here one of the things I saw that sort of explains the passing yards issue. 

The very short and incomplete history of defense is this:

Early in football history defenses essentially put as many guys on the line as possible. It basically looked like goal line offense and defense everywhere. 

As offenses evolved — T-Formation, passing game evolution, and rules changes — defenses adjusted. More men were moved “back” to stop the pass game. 

Tom Landry developed the 4-3 FLEX defense based on some of that and to accommodate his players. 

Very genetically speaking the 5-2 defense evolved to the 3-4 and the 4-3 to the 4-4 and 4-2-5. 

The modern 3-3-5 was developed by Rocky Long for the same reason everyone invents something: necessity. 

Modern defenses (2005-present) are trying to stifle the offensive explosion by being more versatile and fast. NT is doing this 3-3-5/4-2-5 because Clemson and Alabama get all the NFL-caliber defensive lineman and we have to find a way to get pressure while also being solid in coverage. 

Gary Patterson at TCU has done an amazing job of finding “tweener” guys that got his system and can execute. He doesn’t get obvious athletes but still has produced great defenses over the years. 

Yes, Booger and other great players would thrive in whatever system — they make the system. Brian Urlacher played in a 3-3-5 in college and was also the prototype middle linebacker in a Tampa 2 (4-3) system. He was just a great player. 

This is the good stuff. After signing 3 d-linemen last class who all held multiple P5 offers, having 4 d-linemen currently committed, and our guys all getting an extra year of eligibility, I do wonder if Bowen has it in his plans to implement more true 4-down linemen looks. It does seem like this is what he wants to run and he’s not just sticking to it out of necessity, but that’s also a lot of scholarships to spend when you only have 3 on the field at a time.

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11 hours ago, aztecskin said:

@eeeeagle good questions. 

@Aldo linked to the article I wrote and I noted in the game recap here one of the things I saw that sort of explains the passing yards issue. 

The very short and incomplete history of defense is this:

Early in football history defenses essentially put as many guys on the line as possible. It basically looked like goal line offense and defense everywhere. 

As offenses evolved — T-Formation, passing game evolution, and rules changes — defenses adjusted. More men were moved “back” to stop the pass game. 

Tom Landry developed the 4-3 FLEX defense based on some of that and to accommodate his players. 

Very genetically speaking the 5-2 defense evolved to the 3-4 and the 4-3 to the 4-4 and 4-2-5. 

The modern 3-3-5 was developed by Rocky Long for the same reason everyone invents something: necessity. 

Modern defenses (2005-present) are trying to stifle the offensive explosion by being more versatile and fast. NT is doing this 3-3-5/4-2-5 because Clemson and Alabama get all the NFL-caliber defensive lineman and we have to find a way to get pressure while also being solid in coverage. 

Gary Patterson at TCU has done an amazing job of finding “tweener” guys that got his system and can execute. He doesn’t get obvious athletes but still has produced great defenses over the years. 

Yes, Booger and other great players would thrive in whatever system — they make the system. Brian Urlacher played in a 3-3-5 in college and was also the prototype middle linebacker in a Tampa 2 (4-3) system. He was just a great player. 

@aztecskin Thanks for the context and resources, feel like I've learned a lot.

Your content over at meangreennation is the type of long-form sports journalism I love diving into; especially for a smaller sports program like UNT.

Keep up the great writing

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