Charles Hanagriff Talks About Defensive Backs

I usually don't talk about articles found on premium websites here, but I think this one will be OK.  Radio personality and Tigerbait writer Charles Hanagriff has written something that has had me thinking for about 24 hours, ever since I read it.  If he's right, we have all missed something very important about how this defense will arrange its personnel and put together its defensive packages.

I think LSU's nickel, dime, and quarter (seven defensive backs) packages will really see a large rotation of players, designed for matchup advantages.

Harry Coleman, for example, might play in base and dime, but not nickel. Patrick Peterson might be a nickel or dime replacement for Danny McCray against certain groupings. Chad Jones may not be listed as a base starter, but might never come off the field.

The Tigers could put four corners or four safeties out in the dime and quarter groups, depending on what they're lining up against. McCray, who was put in some very difficult situations that were not all his fault last season, will be in more natural positions, like he was against Ohio State.

Part of a much longer article.

First of all, "quarter package"?  If this is real, and if it's more than a special package for when we're winning by 5 with 2 seconds to play and the ball on the far side of the 50 yard line, it's entirely new to me.  Perhaps this is the plan for dealing with spread offenses?  Have more defensive backs on the field.

It's an idea that is worth thinking about.  Who comes off the field?  I guess 2 linebackers and a defensive tackle, but I don't know that.  As offenses innovate and spread teams out, defenses have to innovate too to compensate.  Maybe this is what we've come up with to respond to faster, more spread-out teams.

Second, Harry Coleman may be listed as a starter, but if he comes out in nickel, he may not play all that much.  If the base defense has the 3 linebackers with Coleman and Taylor at safety, then I guess nickel has the two linebackers (Beckwith and Perry/Sheppard) along with Taylor, McCray, and Jones.  Or perhaps Taylor, Jones, and Peterson.  Could Taylor be rotated out too in some packages? Jones may never leave the field, so who's going to be out when he's in?  

But then why bring Coleman back in for dime?  

I really like the idea of putting McCray in more positions to succeed.  He was really asked to do things that he was not well-suited for last year.  I think his confidence ended up pretty shattered at one point as well.  By the end, he wasn't even blitzing effectively.  Let's hope this situation works out well for him.  We tend to forget that McCray is only a 3rd year junior.  He was still a young guy last year.

Four corners?  We never had more than 2 on the field last year.  Four safeties?  How many defensive backs are going to be part of this rotation?

If Hanagriff is right about all this, then this defense will be sophisticated, and we don't understand the half of it yet.

Far be it for me to give Hanagriff advice about writing, but talk about burying the lede.  This part of this one article alone is worth the price of admission to get on Tigerbait for this month.  This is the most important thing I've read in weeks, and it comes in the bottom 1/4 of a long article.  It's almost an afterthought.  

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