It’s Wolf, not Panther at Georgia State

(Note from me: This was up for a little while Wednesday morning, but there were some other things going on that day so I took it down. Here it is again)

The job title is Wolf.

The job description seems better suited for a superhero.

Georgia State’s new 4-2-5 defensive scheme features a hybrid position that’s a cross between a cornerback, a safety and linebacker. The position, known as Wolf, must be able to cover the small and fast slot receivers in the three and four wide receivers sets that are en vogue, or step up and take on a 220-pound running back rampaging through a hole.

That’s not all.

The decision to go with the receiver or move up in run support or even blitz off the edge must be made in the same time it takes you to read a tweet.

“It’s the best position on the field,” Akeen Felder said.

Felder is one of the players, along with D’Mario Gunn, Bryan Williams and Mitchell Vinson, who will be playing the challenging position for the Panthers this season.

“You’re involved in the run game and the pass game,” Felder said. “You have a lot of freedom to make plays.”

Defensive coordinator Anthony Midget didn’t invent the 4-2-5 or the “Wolf.” Like most everything else in football, it’s a recycled system that’s becoming more popular as offenses try to spread the field to create gaps in defenses. The position is also known as Bandit, Stinger or Rover.

Midget played in the system when he was an All-American defensive back at Virginia Tech in the late 1990s.

Texas Christian, Virginia Tech and South Carolina have used versions in recent years to great success. The Horned Frogs led the nation in total defense in 2008 (217.77 yards per game), ’09 (239.69) and ’10 (228.46).

The defense was going to be installed by former coordinator John Thompson. But he resigned to accept a similar position at Arkansas State. Midget was promoted and decided to stick with the scheme, saying it could take advantage of the team’s speed.

Midget twice went to Blacksburg in the offseason to visit defensive coordinator Bud Foster, and also travelled to Columbia, S.C., where Lorenzo Ward, his former position coach at Virginia Tech, now runs the Gamecocks’ defense, to re-acquaint himself with the principles.

“Coach Ward told me was if I can get them lined up and running to the ball that’s half the battle,” Midget said.

Offensive and defensive situations will dictate where the Wolf lines up. He will usually start on the wide side of the field. His first read will be the slot receiver, but he will line up so that he can also watch the player lined up on the end of the line of scrimmage, either a tight end or tackle, and the quarterback.

The Wolf isn’t supposed to let the slot receiver get outside of him, unless he sees that the play is going to be a run. If it’s a run, he has to beat the receiver’s block and pursue the ball-carrier.

Assistant coach Jason French, who oversees the linebackers and the Wolf, said the players are picking up the reads well through the first two weeks of August’s practices.

Though there are read responsibilities, it’s a more aggressive system than the 3-4 the team ran most of the previous two years. The Panthers have a lot of room to improve after giving up 403.3 yards per game, including 222.7 passing yards and 180.5 rushing yards, last season.

“[It] gives you more freedom,” Felder said. “You can play faster. You can make more plays rather than me sitting in the box and reading things and letting a 300-pounder get up on me.”

Gunn and Felder bring different strengths.

Gunn played in the secondary last year, so he’s used to covering receivers.

“It’s blitzing and playing man, pretty much all the stuff I love to do,” Gunn said.

Curry said it will be evident that Wolf is effective if opponents are having a hard time on the perimeter, where he said the “Wes Welker’s and Harry Douglas’s” are thriving.

“It’s a guy that can make plays in the open field, make plays in a big pile, that’s not intimidated by a big offensive lineman, he can take them on stuff because he’s a better athlete and can get underneath and yet he can line up in the slot and cover No. 3,” Curry said. “It demands a lot.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Pleasae follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

32 comments Add your comment

Panama

August 17th, 2012
9:41 am

This is for me by far the most exciting development of the 2012 season, Time to do some damage.

Wolf Blizter

August 17th, 2012
10:22 am

Way to rip off my name for football

Chicken Bone

August 17th, 2012
11:05 am

Midget’s going to make the difference this year as the PANTHERS defense will make a complete turn around. Can’t wait for 8/30 at the DOME. GNATS aka as GT in ATL in 3….2….1…..

@Tech is in Atlanta

August 17th, 2012
11:17 am

You are a piece of garbage.
Posting this before you even think of being a Troll today.

Panther

August 17th, 2012
11:19 am

Next person that says Georgia State is in the ghetto is getting punched.

Panama

August 17th, 2012
11:21 am

Ha… Georgia Tech is in the ghetto. (30318)

Home Park Mugger

August 17th, 2012
11:24 am

Hey guys, back again! Just wanted to come by and say whats up to all the Tech kids that are gonna get robbed this fall. I love the face that their alumni & students think it is so safe, yet I am able to shoot, stab, beat, and steal from them. I had to give up on that at GSU b/c they have such a strong police presence and there are just too many students around for me to get away with it.

cheers!

Techie

August 17th, 2012
11:29 am

@panther You Brits are feisty

Highly Respected Southern Troll

August 17th, 2012
11:44 am

Georgia State and Georgia Tech are both in the ghetto!

Home Park Mugger

August 17th, 2012
11:47 am

Techie, just wanted to say thanks for the laptop and Iphone, and that gunshot wound should heal up nicely…besides it was just a flesh wound

Red Panther

August 17th, 2012
11:52 am

The whole defense needs to be wolves; you know they hunt in packs

GSU_MEX_ALUM

August 17th, 2012
11:53 am

Good breakdown of the WOLF D!

Can’t wait to see our new defense turn some heads this year!

shocked

August 17th, 2012
12:07 pm

It doesn’t matter what defense you line up in someone actually has to make a tackle

shocked

August 17th, 2012
12:10 pm

Congratulations!

I heard you guys got a special exemption from the NCAA to run a 6 – 3 – 4

Comedian

August 17th, 2012
12:17 pm

@shocked, thankfully I know my job is safe and secure with your joke attempts, but keep trying b/c one day you might make someone laugh.

Highly Respected Southern Troll

August 17th, 2012
12:20 pm

So this is basically the same position that Terry Hoage played at Georgia back in the 80s…

RidgeRunner

August 17th, 2012
12:22 pm

Looking forward to a defense system that works.

GSU freshman

August 17th, 2012
12:25 pm

Can we beat Georgia Southern with our new defense?

State Guy

August 17th, 2012
12:33 pm

@GSUFreshman No, we cannot b/c we do not play them this year and have no chance of facing them in the playoffs b/c of our transition to FBS and not being allowed to play in the FCS playoffs.

shocked

August 17th, 2012
12:45 pm

Terry Hoage played Rover in a cover 3 defernse

GSUAlumBaseball81

August 17th, 2012
5:24 pm

Doug, Any news on Delic and Agnew? Bell too!

Tknowsfootball

August 18th, 2012
12:58 am

4-2-5
gives a lineman and a back a chance to block..
three plays should lead to a first down..all rushing yards..

Tknowsfootball

August 18th, 2012
1:03 am

top notch football players in all the positions can play a 4-2.5…
strongly skilled and coached players

STATEment

August 18th, 2012
1:55 am

Nice to get some insight on the position. Thanks.

UGA-Icon

August 18th, 2012
4:12 am

Where does Underground Atlanta State play at? Woodruff park…

RidgeRunner

August 18th, 2012
7:17 am

If UGA-Icon were as funny as he thinks he would be on stage.

BLT

August 18th, 2012
9:07 am

Do you really need the “at” UGA-Icon?

BLT

August 18th, 2012
9:58 am

“Home Park Mugger”

All I can say is WOW! You’ve got problems!

UCF!!

August 18th, 2012
12:06 pm

And where does UGA plays its home games?

The Atlanta Federal Penitentiary

[...] It’s Wolf, not Panther, at Georgia State. [...]

A person SMART enough to know...

August 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

I am still just a loser that wonders why Ga Southern is being left behind in FCS

A person SMART enough to move out

August 21st, 2012
12:42 am

I am still just a loser who lives in my parents basement and commutes to school with my mom #dungeonsanddragons