Saturday, August 27, 2011

Boise a lot like the Colts?

Yesterday morning on my way home from work I was listening to Mike and Mike and one of the guests (I don't remember which one) was talking about the Colts. They were basically saying the Colts built not only their offense but also their defense around Manning. They are a small fast defense that almost concedes that power teams can beat up their defense IF the Colts offense allows. The idea is for Manning to get them out to a sizable lead allowing the defense to then only have to play pass defense. Their run defense is their offense.

Last year Boise State ranked as one of the top defenses against the run. The question is how often that was a result of teams being behind early against Boise and forced into playing catch up. Boise has a disciplined defense that is also fast but undersized. The problem is very few teams have been able to take advantage of their size because they are often playing catch up and can't fully commit to the run.

Looking at Boise's stats against the run it they only give up a super impressive 2.93 ypc against. Compare that to Georgia’s 3.7 ypc allowed and it is a fairly significant difference. However when you take the sacks (and yardage lost which goes against rushing for statistics in college)for each team out of the equation it changes quite a bit with Boise giving up 4 ypc and Georgia increasing to 4.26 ypc allowed. That closes the gap quite a bit and when you consider the level of competition there really is no significant difference.

Even though Boise played a close game against Virginia Tech last year VT played from behind and therefore threw the ball much more often than is their style. The Oregon State game was not a blow out but early on Boise jumped all over them taking the Beaver's running game. Even in their one loss Boise State jumped out to a big lead when playing Nevada. The difference is that unlike other teams Nevada never gave up on the rushing game and when their defense started to get stops Boise was unable to stop the running game and gave up 269 yards rushing to Nevada (that is with the sacks subtracted). Every other game was a blowout from start to finish.

Does this mean Boise can't stop the run in a close game? No. It does show though that very few teams have been able to fully commit to running the ball against Boise for four quarters. To neutralize what Boise does best, rush the passer, Georgia needs to run the ball and stick to it even if they are down early in the game. It will be even more effective if Georgia can keep it close or even play with a lead early in the game. That will allow Georgia to mix in pass and run and force Boise's defense to do something it doesn't have to do very often, play the run. Georgia must test Boise with the run in order to truly take advantage of their size.

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