Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Willie Henry (69) and defensive lineman Chris Wormley (43) and defensive tackle Quinton Washington (76) stand on field between plays during the 1st quarter of a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Wolverines: The 4-3 Defenses -- Part II

GBMWolverine Coach's Corner2Posted ay 12:00pm — 7/28/2014

Michigan Wolverines: The 4-3 Defenses — Part II

The linebackers have gap responsibilities for areas called bubbles that are unattended weak spots not covered by the four interior linemen. The basic 4-3 Over defense has three such holes versus only two with the base 4-3 Under. In the 4-3 Over, the weakside backer has the B gap, naturally on the weak side between the guard and tackle. The middle linebacker is pretty much head up over the center and somewhat protected by the defensive tackles playing over the center. He has the strongside A gap bubble. The strongside Sam linebacker’s bubble responsibility is the strongside C gap.

Oct 12, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jake Ryan (47) prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

The 4-3 Over defense must have a true tough linebacker type in the middle. Spread and option teams can present a problem with the dive or reads that attack the middle of the line. If the defensive tackle over the center is adequate, a very strong middle linebacker can be very successful in stopping the inside running game. If either the nose tackle (0,1) or the strong side (3) technique tackle demands a double team by the offensive line, the middle linebacker becomes even more dangerous. In the 4-3 Under alignment the nose tackle better deal with a double team and the middle linebacker better be very good at avoiding or shedding a second level block, or the result will be easy yards between the guards.

The weakside or Will linebacker in many systems is a tough, bulked up safety type. The Will needs to cover the slot or be replaced by a nickel substitution, which likely is another safety type- just more mobile and faster.

The 4-3 Over helps plug the middle, an area that has been gashed at times the last two years by even the least of Michigan’s opponents. The 4-3 Over helps with the spread and read option if the interior defensive linemen get upfield and funnel the runner out of his hole to the outside. The two outside linebackers may be able to get away with some deficiencies, but both must have adequate speed and be very sound tacklers.

January 1, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins (56) against the South Carolina Gamecocks works out prior of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In contrast, when playing teams that use the I formation for iso and blast plays in the bubble areas, and two tight ends, the 4-3 Under is a normal choice. As mentioned, it is easy to shift from an under to an over set. Teams that use two backs and have success in the power game, love seeing the 3 holes, or bubbles, of the 4-3 Over versus the two bubbles of the 4-3 Under. Teams love to run power between the 3-technique tackle and the 9 technique defensive end on the strong side. Here comes the blast and isolation, plus a fullback looking to kick out a defender. As a result 4-3 Over defenses frequently either rely on one or two great players to blow up that package, or more likely make alignment adjustments.

Please comment on our GBMWolverine Message Board about this article and read what others comment and give us your thoughts, agree or disagree.

Just a reminder you must be a member to participate on the Message Board. Here is the link GBMWolverine Register for those people interested in becoming a member.

You can contact us at our e-mail address: GBMWolverine

Follow us on Twitter:
@ErocWolverine
@GBMWolverine
@Mike Fitzpatrick
@YostMeister

Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

Go Blue — Wear Maize!

Next Wolverines Game Full schedule »
Saturday, Oct 2525 Oct3:30at Michigan State SpartansBuy Tickets

Tags: Coach Brady Hoke Coach Greg Mattison Football Michigan Football Michigan Wolverines

comments powered by Disqus