I wrote this on Sunday, but then some news started popping up and it got buried in cyberspace. Since it’s my blog (or our blog, Carroll) I’m going to go all Dr. Frankenstein and resurrect it:
For the sake of fun, let’s assume that Al Groh is hired as Tech’s defensive coordinator and installs a 3-4 scheme. Note: Romeo Crennel’s decision to go to Kansas City as defensive coordinator could further improve the odds of Groh taking the same job in Miami. Crennel was rumored to be up for the Dolphins’ job, as well.
Anyway, onto the subject at hand.
Who would fit where?
Because we’re doing this as a fun exericse, we will assume that all the injured players are healthy and can play by the fall, so Hall, Anderson, Taylor, Jackson, etc. are back.
All formations can be run differently, but in most 3-4s the defensive linemen are responsible for two gaps, compared to the one gaps that the linemen in the 4-3 are responsible for.
The linemen are usually bigger because they are there to get a push into the backfield, disrupt the blocking schemes and to take up blockers and space so that the linebackers and safeties can make plays.
So, who would start on the line in Tech’s 3-4? If bigger is the model, some combination of T.J. Barnes, J.C. Lanier, Jason Peters, and Ben Anderson would seem like a natural rotation. Izaan Cross, Robert Hall and Logan Walls, who weigh less than the others, would be in the scheme, as well though in different roles, I would imagine. There’s really not a bonafide pass rusher in that group, though. But, that’s mostly OK because the linebackers are there for that.
Nose tackle is the key. the player has to be huge and active to control the gaps on either side of the center. Would that be Anderson? He’s not as big as Barnes or Lanier, so I’m not sure. He is strong at the point of attack, though. Barnes and Lanier could both be used, similar to how Baltimore used their Ticonderaga-class tackles a few years ago. Those guys took up four blockers by themselves. Doing so would give Tech a numerical advantage. If two guys take up four blockers, that leaves 9 guys to worry about 7 guys. It’s kind of like what Tech’s offense does with its schemes, just in reverse.
In passing situations, Anthony Egbuniwe and Emmanuel Dieke could come in to rush the passer.
Tech’s linebackers would seem to be the strength of the defense next season, with Julian Burnett, Brad Jefferson, Kyle Jackson, Steven Sylvester, Malcolm Munroe and Mario Edwards (who played safety this season) back. All are quick and can move sideline to sideline. Sylvester, in particular, really showed what he could do in the Orange Bowl. It’s not beyond possibility that Egbuniwe and Dieke could play some lb in certain situations.
Anyway, all that’s just fun conjecture. Tell me how you think they’d line up.