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  1. #1
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    Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    At the risk of inviting responses like "pray," "hope they don't show up," etc. I am curious as to how you guys would attack Alabama on offense as well as defense.

    If you feel as though you know enough about NDs schemes, personnel and tendencies to speak to this specific match up, great. But that might be tough unless you've seen ND play a lot over the course of the entire year and have great familiarity with their coaching staff. Otherwise, I think fans, even highly educated fans, tend to form opinions on other teams based primarily on statistics, highlights, one or two games, things they've heard / read and what they believe about their own team - with the last item outweighing all others. While that's worth something, I'm not sure that yields the best results - as you've seen with Alabama breakdowns done by ND people.

    If you're like me, you tend to obsess over the negatives on your squad - injuries, players that have not developed as you hoped, areas where you've been hurt before, etc. - rather than sitting around and daydreaming about your strengths. For example, I spend a lot more time worrying about the right side of ND's offensive line than I do watching replays of jump balls Tyler Eifert hauled in this season. And that mentality can lead to an interesting perspective.....

    Anyway, you know more than I ever will about this Alabama team. What would you do if you had to face them? What are the keys on offense / defense to competing and giving yourself a chance to win?

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  3. #2
    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Quote Originally Posted by NDinNYC2 View Post
    At the risk of inviting responses like "pray," "hope they don't show up," etc. I am curious as to how you guys would attack Alabama on offense as well as defense.

    If you feel as though you know enough about NDs schemes, personnel and tendencies to speak to this specific match up, great. But that might be tough unless you've seen ND play a lot over the course of the entire year and have great familiarity with their coaching staff. Otherwise, I think fans, even highly educated fans, tend to form opinions on other teams based primarily on statistics, highlights, one or two games, things they've heard / read and what they believe about their own team - with the last item outweighing all others. While that's worth something, I'm not sure that yields the best results - as you've seen with Alabama breakdowns done by ND people.

    If you're like me, you tend to obsess over the negatives on your squad - injuries, players that have not developed as you hoped, areas where you've been hurt before, etc. - rather than sitting around and daydreaming about your strengths. For example, I spend a lot more time worrying about the right side of ND's offensive line than I do watching replays of jump balls Tyler Eifert hauled in this season. And that mentality can lead to an interesting perspective.....

    Anyway, you know more than I ever will about this Alabama team. What would you do if you had to face them? What are the keys on offense / defense to competing and giving yourself a chance to win?
    It's not like there're a whole lot of ways to attack Bama, so everyone seems to come down to the same plan - try to crowd the box to limit the running attack and do your best to keep from getting beaten over the top. I'd be astounded at any other plan, after seeing it so many times. Against ND's offense, we'll use our regular packages. I doubt we'll see many blitzes until it's dictated. Also, I look to see Milliner on Eifert as much as possible...
    "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Ellen Parr"

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame B1GTide's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    This Alabama team is so sound, fundamentally, in every aspect of the game that all you can do is play them straight up and hope to out-execute them. Gimmicks and schemes will not get it done. Just do all of the little things right and hope that the ball bounces your way. Let's take a worst case scenario and say that Notre Dame is only capable of winning 1 of 10 games against Alabama - you have to make this that one game.

  5. #4
    BamaNation First Team peariver's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Fast tempo with a quarterback named Johnny Football. It is the only way.

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame B1GTide's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Quote Originally Posted by peariver View Post
    Fast tempo with a quarterback named Johnny Football. It is the only way.
    That won't work again.

  7. #6
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Quote Originally Posted by NDinNYC2 View Post
    At the risk of inviting responses like "pray," "hope they don't show up," etc. I am curious as to how you guys would attack Alabama on offense as well as defense.
    Retreat and fight another day...like, say, in 2048...


    Seriously though, I would probably try to work a fast-paced offense with a lot of short passes, slants/screens, etc. to get my QB in rhythm. I would try very hard to avoid any WR screens where the receiver gets the ball behind the line of scrimmage (envisioning Madden say "You can't throw passes for none yards!"). We're too good against the run to work the inside run and then attack with play-action, so I'd go the opposite route. It seems to me that we've had the most trouble against QBs who have been accurate with short-to-medium throws on quick plays. Manziel had some ridiculously lucky slow-to-develop plays against us, but otherwise the plays that stood out to me were the 5-7 yard gains that came in rapid succession. If you have enough success on a drive to run 6-7 plays in rapid succession, any defense will get winded. The offense may be tired too, but they have the advantage of knowing the next play.

    On defense, I'd try to run some new blitzes early, hoping that my corners/safeties can hang on for long enough and try to rattle AJ (physically rattled; I'm not sure he'll get very rattled from a few scary moments, just from pain). I think the bend-but-don't-break tactic is a reasonable move against our offense, although we are more explosive than in years past. Alabama is going to get yards against anyone, so you focus on not giving up the big plays and substitute out as much as possible to reduce fatigue when Alabama is grinding out long drives, both early in the game and late.

    Perhaps I'm looking at things bass ackwards, but that's my casual-fan assessment of what I'd try to do.

  8. #7
    BamaNation All-American colbysullivan's Avatar
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    Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    I think you have to try to create a mismatch with Eifert. Early passing will open up the running game. Also, with Golson's ability to extend plays, he can create problems. The only team that's been able to do this is aTm. Is Golson as good as Manziel? That remains to be seen.

  9. #8
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    It's not like there're a whole lot of ways to attack Bama, so everyone seems to come down to the same plan - try to crowd the box to limit the running attack and do your best to keep from getting beaten over the top. I'd be astounded at any other plan, after seeing it so many times. Against ND's offense, we'll use our regular packages. I doubt we'll see many blitzes until it's dictated. Also, I look to see Milliner on Eifert as much as possible...
    I hear you on the first part. It seems like you have to try and contain the Alabama run with 7 (or 8 at worst) so you have help deep. Otherwise, you'd need two NFL corners. Even then, you'd have your issues with tight ends, the screen game, etc.

    I wouldn't blitz ND a ton either - I think it potentially creates an atmosphere for Golson to get creative with his feet as well as possibly simplifying reads (or at least it may simplify the play calls ND employs). I'd be inclined to try to confuse him with a variety of packages. In other words, I'd make him beat me with his decision making and accuracy as opposed to his athleticism.

    Milliner can obviously cover as well as anyone but is he big enough to deal with Eifert? Seems like he's giving up 5 inches and 50lbs to an athletic tight end. If Golson places the ball well, Eifert should be able to win a few of those battles, correct?

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    BamaNation First Team gman4tide's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Quote Originally Posted by B1GTide View Post
    That won't work again.
    May not, but i believe that is the recipe to beat the tide. If (big if) I had the personel, I'd go up tempo spread short passes. IMO, we don't do great vs that. When on defense, I really have no clue. As said, Bama is very sound. I would stack the box, hold my breath and make AJ and the receivers beat me. Either way...hope I lose!

  11. #10
    BamaNation First Team peariver's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Quote Originally Posted by B1GTide View Post
    That won't work again.
    Shouldn't have worked that day either. We should have ran the ball like we did in the second half against Georgia.

  12. #11
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Attacking Bama's defense-You must be committed to the run even if you're not having success with it early. The Bama secondary can be, and has been, beat deep in one-on-one coverage especially vs the safeties. Boot legs and roll-outs as well as screens and draws will bring some success vs our 3rd down blitz packages but you MUST read where the blitz is coming from correctly. You must be patient and be willing to play field position.

    Attacking Bama's offense-This is much tougher, imo. It begins and ends with stopping the run with your front 7 which virtually no one has been able to do yet for an entire game. Understand that our strength is between the tackle runs and force us to run outside where we have been less successful.

    What you have to hope for: We outsmart ourselves (sometimes we get away from the run too much, imo) and that you can get an early lead on us.

    What you must avoid: We get an early lead on you.
    Be Good Or Be Gone


  13. #12
    BamaNation All-American Matt0424's Avatar
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    Okay...

    Don't forget what got you here defensively. Keep the game "in front" of your second level by not crowding the box...but not to the point of getting beat by play action. Find a way to get pressure with your front 3 (or 4), but don't blitz too often...if so, screens will eat you up. If you think you have the depth, you want to force long drawn out drives out of our offense. The longer the clock runs, the better chance of a win you have. Don't play bend but not break between the 20's. If you allow us to get into the redzone, we'll score. You can't rely on having the best redzone defense in the country against such an efficient offense.

    Offensively there are a few things that you can do to try and neutralize our defense. First, spread the field. No, don't try and go to a hurry up "spread" offense...but to take advantage of the defense, I think you need to get us in our nickel package. Identify where our nickel back is (whether db or safety), and try to get your best receiver matched up with him. If Sunseri is in the game, he struggle in pass coverage (just watch the A&M game). Take advantage of the mismatch if you can create one. Get Eiffert involved early and often. Find ways to get him covered in the slot by anyone other than Milliner or one of our better cover safeties, and he could cause problems. Don't abandon the run, and ALWAYS take what the defense will give you. If you slow down the game on both sides of the ball, it has no chance to get out of control. Even if the running game isn't having GREAT success, you have to stick with it. Also, as I said, make sure Golson has it drilled into his head not to force things...every yard is worth it's weight in gold.

    Win the TOP battle, don't commit turnovers, and don't miss tackles...

  14. #13
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    Re: Self Scout - How would you attack Alabama?

    On offense:

    - Pass on first down within in personnel that would dictate the most ideal run-stopping defensive looks. Alabama's #1 defensive goal is to stop the run on first and second down. Establishing the ability to pass effectively on first down - even if it is nothing more than 4-6 yard gains - puts a constraint on the defense and will open up the running game down the stretch.

    - Move the pocket with bootlegs and sprint out passes. Don't allow the rush point to stay the same, force the defense to chase the passer and give him more time to find the weakness against blitzes.

    - Attack the use of man coverage with crossing patterns and deep corner routes.

    On Defense:

    - Cover the interior linemen to prevent the zone double team concepts from developing. I've noticed one of the best ways to affect our run game is to take away the middle with a T-N-T front you'd find in the old 46 bear defense. Some have used slants to good effect but slants risk the chance of mis-guessing the direction of the run and get washed out of the play. Texas attempted this in the 2010 BCSCG and got burned quite a few times.

    - Temper the rush to contain the screen game. Keep gap integrity and don't allow short passes turn into huge gains.

    - Be aware of Cooper's alignment. He's the only deep threat currently, safety help should always be to his side.

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