Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — What May Happen — Air Force vs. Michigan Wolverines
To some the Air Force option looks simple, but it is not. To combat this on the defensive side of the ball, technique, knowledge of the offense’s intent, and Discipline, with a capitol D is needed. While the major powers do not go to the well often with option football any more, it is still productive and teams like the Air Force have benefited over the years running this attack which can eat up clock and yardage.
Air Force will do what most options teams first do: check the oil up the middle for a leak. If this first option to the dive back cannot be contained the only hope for the opposition is turnovers or flat outscoring the option team.
If the middle is successfully plugged, the quarterback will attack the C gap (or the end). Motion, the lead back, and a good solid block from the tight end can accomplish this goal. Just like in the power sweep, if an alley can be developed at the edge (C gap and beyond) the quarterback can turn quickly up field for gains of 5-10 yards. Regardless, the quarterback is the straw that stirs the drink. And as he goes, so goes the day for Air Force.
To combat the first option Michigan will need the interior linemen to stay low and hold their position. Michigan cannot have the defensive ends charging down on the snap. The defensive ends must play with gap integrity and hold contain at the edge. This is an absolute must.
Air Force can of course pitch to a back on the perimeter. If Michigan holds on the first two options then it is the safeties or outside linebackers that will get the credit or blame.
Air Force will run multiple formations and change the formations with motion. Off of this action there will be counters and misdirection.
Do not expect a triple option every play. There will be double options where the dive back becomes a blocker. The slots or wings will be very important. But understand Air Force has conventional plays in the bag ready to go if the opportunity or need arises.
It might be fun to watch the tight end, lead back, and the free safety, as they will probably get to know each other throughout the day.
The passing attack is based on need or overreaction of the defense. What many call a waggle is a natural misdirection play from the option attack. There are outs and seam routes that are common. Like every other team a fade in the red-zone is a real possibility.Michigan should quickly test the Air Force defense on the ground. Look for the inside read to be tough against the Air Force. Look for coach Borges to put pressure on the defense by pocket passing enough to get the back seven off the line.
Quick defensive linemen like wide splits, so look to see if Michigan gets to the line with smaller splits, a strategy that might help the power and calls. Air Force is somewhat vulnerable to the passing game and speed. So, see if Coach Borges has game planned with those two variables in mind. Air Force may have difficulty on the edge if the Falcons come up the middle and Borges guesses right.
One thing for sure, there will be plenty of rushing yards on Saturday. But who knows, one big pass play may tilt the balance of power as the game progresses
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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