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Friday, September 04, 2009

Maryland's 46 Defense v. Cal's "Utah" Offense Saturday

Yesterday I wrote that Cal has not seen tapes of Maryland's new defense as the Terps have a new defensive coordinator Don Brown. Maryland players expressed joy that Cal would be surprised by their new look system. It was also reported that Cal's looking at last year's Maryland tapes, for some reason.

But as it turns out, the new look is an old look: the Buddy Ryan 46 Defense.

According to this Washington Post article, Brown is bringing a version of the "46" - named for Chicago Bears Safety Doug Plank, who was a key rover in the Ryan defense - to Maryland.

Don Brown's defense, called "The Bear" reminds me of the kind of system Artie Gigantino brought to Cal when he was defensive coordinator under Keith Gilbertson at Cal: the linemen positioned opposite the tight end or the side with the most receivers, and both outside linebackers on the strongside of the offense.

Artie called his defense the "Split" 43. The Bear's the same thing, except that I'm concerned he calls it "The Bear" because it could mean he's trying to develop an approach that he thinks will stop the Golden Bears.

Makes sense.

But regardless of the name, the idea is to blitz, early and on every down. The concept is to overload the offensive line on the side with the fewest blockers. There's one problem: the Utah spread system is perhaps the best way to attack the defense and its elements of that offense Cal will use on Saturday.


Because Cal has first year offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig who came over from Utah. So while Cal doens't have tapes of Maryland's new defense, Maryland lacks video of Cal's new offense. I write "new" because my educated guess is that Ludwig has added formations and route combinations from the Utah spread, particularly the Shallow Cross pattern, which is a short crossing pattern calling for a receiver to start downfield two yards, then turn and run across the ball to the other side of the formation about seven yards downfield.

Cal has a pass pattern like that, but ran much deeper downfield, thus it's not a true Shallow Cross pattern. In the Cal offense of last year, the tight ends ran the short crossing patterns. Moreover, it's not something Cal ran as a steady diet in its offense last year. What's exciting is Cal has the speed receivers to make the Shallow Cross pattern work for big gains.

Because its a fast developing pattern, its the perfect counter to the middle linebacker blitz I expect to see from Maryland.

Urban Mayer created the concepts

Former Utah coach and now Floria Coach Urban Meyer developed the spread system of passing. This document below has an excellent presentation of Meyer's system that Cal's Ludwig learned and is bringing to Berkeley.

Urban Meyer Spread Offense Description

This game is going to be fun to watch.


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