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Clinic Talk: The West Virginia 3-3-5 Defense

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What Miami can expect to see from WVU

Baylor v West Virginia Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The West Virginia Mountaineers are going to give the Miami Hurricanes a look on defense they haven’t seen all year. WVU runs a 3-3-5 that Tony Gibson was around Morgantown to install with Jeff Casteel back when Rich Rodriguez was head coach. The 3-3-5 has been written about for years, and hell, it’s even a staple up here in Oregon high schools where I’m coaching now. It’s from Joe Lee Dunn an eccentric defensive back loving defensive coordinator that after years of coaching D1 around the south is now at a D2 in Texas.

I think the 3-3-5 would be more difficult to adjust to going week to week but with 3 weeks to prepare Miami should be able to adjust. Coach Richt is going to have to use 6-7 man protection schemes with an immobile Kaaya and weak offensive line. If Kaaya has time we all know he has the arm to make big plays happen.

This is a nice base alignment of the 3-3-5 versus 21 personnel. Miami should come downhill at WVU and look to run the ball with inside zone lead, stretch, and split-zone while sprinkling in some shotgun 20 personnel stuff tagged with RPO’s.

Miami likes similar passing combinations (often off play-action) from 20 personnel. The WR runs stick while the H-Back runs a quick arrow into the flat.

Here you can see the pressure brought against 10 personnel. The WVU 3-3 puts 5 on the line of scrimmage, 2 ILB, and 4 DB’s. It looks like quarters coverage but they brought 7 on the rush. With only 6 in pro you have to get the ball out quick and crossing routes can do that for you, especially with no linebackers dropping into coverage. Miami can use crossing routes and 6 man pro.

Miami needs to incorporate split-zone against the WVU 3-3-5. When you’re unsure of where the pressure is coming from, the h-back can help pick up anything that comes free from the defense. Walton is ready to run the ball against a defense like this. With Herndon playing HB/TE and Njoku in the slot I think the Canes will be able to move the ball on West Virginia.

BYU had an easy RPO here against WVU on 2nd and 3. The leverage for stalk/bubble is there. Instead they run into 8.

Snag is a nice passing combination. Here BYU runs a slant-sit with #1, a corner with #2, and an arrow with #3. I use it as a change-up to find holes in coverage.

BYU’s #1 receiver runs a zero out to vert here to get the CB’s hips to flip down to cover the arrow then turns up field, which causes another hip flip. It’s difficult for CB’s to flip that many times. As you can see the WR is open but catches the ball out of bounds. He’s open because of the 1-high safety covering #3 up the seam.

Again, getting the 1-high safety out of position and the coverage guy to flip hips. The #3 runs an out and in which gets the CB flipping his hips twice and out of position too. This is a 6on6 rush and you have to get the ball out quick and trust your WR to be there.

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