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Understanding the 3-3-5


VideoEagle

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I've finally had a chance to start reading up on the 3-3-5 defense. Someone - I forget who - asked me to explain why you use smaller linemen in a 3-3-5. Here's what I found from an article in the San Diego Tribune - "The defensive linemen in the 3-3-5 tend to be smaller and more mobile, their main objective not to rush up the field, but to tie up blockers so the linebackers and safeties can fill the gaps and make tackles." 

I found this from a primer on the 3-3-5 from Throw Deep Publishing. 

Quote

What Kind of Players Do You Need for the 3-3-5 Defense?

The 3-3-5 relies on faster, more athletic players that may be considered smaller in a more traditional defense. In a 3-3-5, some defensive coordinators will drop bigger linebackers down to the line of scrimmage to play the defensive line. This will allow for the defensive linemen to student and move, something typical in a 3-3-5 defense. To fill the void at linebacker, dropping bigger defensive backs down to linebacker allows for maximum speed and athleticism on the field. Faster linebackers to go with the more athletic defensive line are able to stunt and blitz

The primer is good and understandable for those of us not steeped in deep Xs and Os. You do need a base level of football understand to follow, but it assumes a pretty basic starting point. The primer is free, but the more in-depth training with videos is behind a paywall. Here's a link to the free stuff

https://throwdeeppublishing.com/blogs/football-glossary/the-3-3-5-defense-an-in-depth-guide

 

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2 minutes ago, VideoEagle said:

"The defensive linemen in the 3-3-5 tend to be smaller and more mobile, their main objective not to rush up the field, but to tie up blockers so the linebackers and safeties can fill the gaps and make tackles." 

I don’t see how a smaller DL can tie up blockers. Smaller DL would get blown out of the water. Many times, only one OL has been able to neutralize one of our DL. In today’s time of combo blocks, they are able to get to the second level and also neutralize our smaller LBs/S. 
Anyhow, it must work coz it’s been used plenty. However, we know where it doesn’t work

 

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I'm personally of the opinion you ALWAYS need one big-ass NT to at least sub in for some early downs, but just glancing at Syracuse, they seem to have similarly tiny linemen. But they've also been running that system for a while, under Tony White (who learned under Rocky Long) and now from Long himself. So they probably have the system down pretty well. 

 

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14 minutes ago, DeepGreen said:

Well, looking back at their football record over the past several years, if that defense is what they have been running call me unimpressed with a 3-man front.

https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/syracuse/index.html

 

They've had a top 50 defense while playing in the ACC.

Since Tony White came on in 2020, they went from 90 to 65 to 41 to 46. That was as they went from a multiple 4-man front to the 3-3-5.

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On 11/17/2023 at 9:26 AM, VideoEagle said:

I've finally had a chance to start reading up on the 3-3-5 defense. Someone - I forget who - asked me to explain why you use smaller linemen in a 3-3-5. Here's what I found from an article in the San Diego Tribune - "The defensive linemen in the 3-3-5 tend to be smaller and more mobile, their main objective not to rush up the field, but to tie up blockers so the linebackers and safeties can fill the gaps and make tackles." 

I found this from a primer on the 3-3-5 from Throw Deep Publishing. 

The primer is good and understandable for those of us not steeped in deep Xs and Os. You do need a base level of football understand to follow, but it assumes a pretty basic starting point. The primer is free, but the more in-depth training with videos is behind a paywall. Here's a link to the free stuff

https://throwdeeppublishing.com/blogs/football-glossary/the-3-3-5-defense-an-in-depth-guide

 

I assume Craponi only has access to the free content.

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20 hours ago, VideoEagle said:

After reading the article, I noticed several comments from the announcers more than I would have before. 

1. NT is not only blitzing some, they are showing a blitz often which is a feature of the 3-3-5.

2. NT is using smaller but faster linemen to tie up the blocking.

3. 5 DBs make it very hard for a QB to account for everyone. 

Of course, I notice multiple plays where we miss two, three, and at least once four tackles. I don't care WHAT defense you are running, you can't stop an offense if you can't tackle! 

Agreed.  Noticed a lot of the same things.  I do think that when Nakwassah is on the field the defense is improved. That, and these young guys are starting to get into the right gaps and positions more often.  Less diving at ball carriers in that second half than I’ve seen all year.

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23 hours ago, VideoEagle said:

After reading the article, I noticed several comments from the announcers more than I would have before. 

1. NT is not only blitzing some, they are showing a blitz often which is a feature of the 3-3-5.

2. NT is using smaller but faster linemen to tie up the blocking.

3. 5 DBs make it very hard for a QB to account for everyone. 

Of course, I notice multiple plays where we miss two, three, and at least once four tackles. I don't care WHAT defense you are running, you can't stop an offense if you can't tackle! 

However, no one accounts for the RB coming out of the backfield. Kryptonite of the 3-3-5 seems like

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On 11/18/2023 at 5:32 PM, VideoEagle said:

Of course, I notice multiple plays where we miss two, three, and at least once four tackles. I don't care WHAT defense you are running, you can't stop an offense if you can't tackle! 

I understand offense much better than defense, but I haven’t noticed a lot this year when I feel like Caponi has called a bad defense for the given situation.  One glaring exception was when we appeared to be playing man coverage at the end of the game against Memphis.  I think a lot of people calling for Caponi’s head probably don’t know defense any better than I do, but they see it’s not working so they automatically blame the coach.  I’d love for someone who really understands defense to give some examples of Caponi making bad play calls that are a detriment to the team.  Because he runs a 3-3-5 is not an example.  We knew when we hired him that’s what he’d run.

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17 hours ago, Okiefan said:

The issue is most people can't tell what they are actually running just by watching. Much of the scheme involves changes in gap assignments so you can't tell who busted just by watching. You also can't tell when someone in the box goes and does their own thing trying to maker a play and leaves their assignment which is the reason why some of the long runs have happened. The last two weeks you have seen teams putting hat on hat because we have been out numbered in the box when they have a H back in the wing on inserted on the line (6 blocking 5). The issue is getting spread out with minimal numbers in the box. This is why a safety has been the leading tackler the last few weeks. Its by design to fill gaps and spill to the outside.  The alignment against Memphis was supposed to have a high safety covering the middle but he bolted to the under cross route and let his spot open. We were man across with extra safety and it busted.  The late Tulane score looked like a blitz and 19 got shielded by the back and we were man in the back end so there was no response. It was a gamble when we just needed to play straight up on 3rd and 12. It looks like we have gambled less the last few weeks and have been better against the run. The defense was out there too long vs SMU since the offense had issues in the 3rd. This week, the QB made throws early and then started feeling more pressure in the 2nd half as we had more edge pressures on 3rd down. You can tell when a LB walks up off the edge. The new young safeties have had a lot of responsibility. The biggest issue has been that we need a 2 gap nose guard to eliminate the head up blocking. They need to draw a double team everytime or be able to beat the center and get in the backfield. When 10 has done that it has been successful.        

Yes. I think a lot of it actually comes down to experience and football smarts. The ONE thing I've been harping on is that 2-gap nose. At least for early downs. It also might allow us to push some of our other guys to the outside and give them a better chance at collapsing the tackles.

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On 11/17/2023 at 12:51 PM, Monkeypox said:

I'm personally of the opinion you ALWAYS need one big-ass NT to at least sub in for some early downs, but just glancing at Syracuse, they seem to have similarly tiny linemen. But they've also been running that system for a while, under Tony White (who learned under Rocky Long) and now from Long himself. So they probably have the system down pretty well. 

 

Syracuse is in next to last place in the ACC

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On 11/19/2023 at 8:48 PM, Okiefan said:

The biggest issue has been that we need a 2 gap nose guard to eliminate the head up blocking. They need to draw a double team everytime or be able to beat the center and get in the backfield.

This is definitely the biggest issue.  And it's not a coaching issue.

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