Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Boise State OC on UConn's defense: "It's like watching the Notre Dame defense already"

I spent about 15 minutes on the phone with Boise State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford mostly because of his time coaching at Yale during the 2009 season and intriguing experience thanks to his incredibly understanding wife balancing preparing the Broncos to face Colorado State while preparing for the arrival of the couple's second child. There will be much more on that later.

However, Sanford spent the previous three seasons coaching at Stanford so he squared off against the Bob Diaco coached Notre Dame defenses and he had some interesting comments about what he has seen on tape from the UConn defense.

"I think they are a big physical front," Sanford said. "The things that you see on tape, I had a chance to coach against Coach Diaco when I was at Stanford. I know it is another program but when you see the defense they have, it reminds you a lot of Notre Dame. They have big, stout defensive linemen, big outside linebackers. It is very similar to Notre Dame. Obviously they are at a difference place program wise but you look at the body types and look at what they are trying to accomplish and they are very fortunate to have that scheme. Coach Diaco has a pretty good front with the three down (linemen).

"He has a really sound defense, they don't give you a whole lot. You kind of have to change your plan on them, you can't just run your basic DNA type plays over and over because you have a team that plays a very different style. Their defensive linemen aren't trying to penetrate gaps, they are trying to hold them (blockers) up and let the 'backer scrap over the top to make plays. It is always a very physical game when I was at Stanford and I think it will be very similar. They are very solid, very sound, they teach their fundamentals really well and it shows up when you watch them on tape. It is like watching the Notre Dame defense already."

We had a lot of explosive plays but they were 10-15 yards. We just kept getting first downs. We are a (versatile) team we are not going to be a team where all we do is go fast, we are going to do whatever gives us the best chance for success against the defense. Against Colorado State we saw a team that showed a lot of (weakness) against up-tempo play. We kept lining up, they like to rotate their defense a lot so we tried to utilize that as much as possible. The tailback had it going, he was able to see things and hit things. Everything was going well, 3 and outs and you are going to get a lot of plays in there and we didn't have any of those 70 or 80-yard plays in the first half so they are all long, methodical drives.

Probably his toughness. the kid, people here are talking about his overuse and we are trying to be smart but you get that many plays in and you don't even realize it until you get to the first half and we ran that many plays and the flow of the game is going. He keeps talking to you about what he is seeing, how he is feeling and he is smart, he sees things.


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