Such a Tease: The History of the 3-4 Defense and AnotherPreview Shot
byToddonJul 1, 2009, @ RollBamaRoll.com
In writing the 3-4 defense primer for this year's edition for Yea Alabama, I was forced to cut a lot of the"history" aspects due to space limitations (and the fact that OTS's O-Line article went twice as long as originallyplanned, with sexy awesome results), but a lot of it was fairly interesting stuff that I enjoyed researching and I'm
sure a lot of you would be interested in. But, being the doofus that I am, I didn't bother saving the unused textafter the article was submitted so....yeah. Thankfully, NFL Gridiron Gab hasa great rundown on its historyandsome interesting notes on our own beloved Nicktator and his development into one of the top coaches in thecountry under Bill Belichick.When Belichick arrived (in Cleveland after a successful stint as DC of the New York Giants, a 3-4 team), hebegan dismantling not just the team but, in many respects, the entire Browns organization to be able to rebuildit.
From changing the way the Browns practiced, traveled and even ate, there was nothing he didn’t put his
hands on.Sound familiar? Not only did Saban learn about defense from one of the best defensive minds in the NFL, itwould appear that the groundwork for
was laid in Cleveland as well. Further:"Bill found a defensive coordinator he really liked in Nick Saban," said current Virginia HC Al Groh who was
an assistant on Belichick’s Browns staff. "Even t
hough the defense was the part of the team that Bill felt the
most passionate about, he felt comfortable in putting Nick in charge of it. And Nick’s expertise was in the 4
that was consistent with his background, that’s what he was familiar with —
hat’s the defense he put in."
Two things to note here: First, Belichick was comfortable enough with Saban's abilities that he turned over thepart of the team that got him the HC job in Cleveland to begin with, despite the fact that Saban ran a differentdefense than the one that had taken the Giants to two Super Bowl titles in five years with Belichick (andLawrence Taylor) wreaking havoc on NFL offenses. Second, Saban continued to use the 4-3 scheme he wasmore familiar with from the time he took over as DC for the Browns up until his move to the Miami Dolphins.If you'll remember, Saban's defenses at LSU were 4-3 based defenses (you can actually download one of hisLSU playbookshere,and every base diagram calls for four down linemen), and even during his time at Miamihe was essentially running a 4-3 defense though most of his time with the Dolphins. I would happily wager thatJason Taylor,a prototypical "Jack" linebacker if there ever was one, had more to do with his move to the 3-4scheme than anything. Taylor, who played weakside linebacker for Akron before moving to defensive end hissenior year, was a versatile enough athlete to play with his hand down and standing up and gave Saban theability to completely disguise his defensive front, something the 3-4 is tailor made for (and a topic I get into inYea Alabama). Anyway, it's a great read and it ties in nicely with this Yea Alabama tease, so go check it out,right after youpre-order your copyof Yea Alabama '09 (remember, you
42 copies). As for the tease: