FNF Coaches Talk: Michigan DC explains defending crossing routes, John Harbaugh on offensive overhaul, Maryland coach suspended for offseason workouts

Good afternoon, Coaches. We’ve got three stories for you.

1. Michigan defensive coordinator explains his philosophy defending crossing routes (Wolverines Wire)

Ever since Michigan got blasted by the speedy Ohio State offense in November 2018, the most hot-button issue for fans of the maize and blue has been Don Brown’s defense, and its seeming inability to defend the quick crossing routes.

Appearing on the Make Defense Great Again podcast, Brown was asked about his philosophy when it comes to defending those types of plays, and he gave a thorough schematic breakdown of how it’s personnel-based, using players where they’re best suited, but also how it’s important to try and disguise the coverage and confuse the quarterback in the process.

“In your man stuff, it’s more of, he’s a hole player, and it’s verbal communication with whoever he’s gonna switch with,” Brown said. “But a lot of it is based on the QB’s directional. There’s also another coverage that we play where those guys are tied into those crossing routes, and their rules tell them to take it over. Now, the good thing is sometimes you’ll look at it and say we’re man-free and we’re really not, because we’re passing everything. Or, we’ll look at it and say (we’re) in zone concept and we’re really in the man concept. It all depends, based off the verbal communication, whether it’s man-free or the zone.
“There’s not enough time in this conversation but it’s two different concepts. If we’re getting a ton of mesh and crosses, we’re gonna match. There’s specific rules if the guy goes under or the guy goes behind.
“Everybody can create their own rules for that, you just kinda put your brain on and figure out what’s best for your guys. You may have a thug in there that’s good in the run game, but not a great pass defender. Well, leave him in the hole and let the guy carry through or let it go to the backside inside guy. Those are the things that your personnel will determine how you’re going to approach that and coach it. Does that make sense?”

What is your team’s approach to covering crossing routes?

2. John Harbaugh on Ravens’ novel new offense (Toronto Sun)

Looking for the next offensive trend in the NFL? Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has suggested his team may be setting the precedent this season.

New Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman has designed what Harbaugh suggested earlier this week that, in the same way “the game was probably revolutionized with Bill Walsh and Joe Montana” with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s from a passing standpoint, the 2019 Ravens might spin NFL offence in an entirely different direction.

“What’s the next era going to be? We’re about to find out,” Harbaugh said.

When Greg Roman was in Buffalo, players there talked about the extraordinary thickness of his playbook. Has he streamlined it, or just given everybody thick binders — or thick iPads?

HARBAUGH: “Yeah, thick iPads (chuckles). There’s a lot to it. We have a lot of elements, but we spent the whole off-season on really trying to do as much as we can to make it as learnable, and as logically coherent, as we could. That’s just something I think we owe the players. He’s done a good job with that. But, yeah, we’ll be doing a lot of stuff.”

3. Maryland high school football coach ineligible for entire 2019 season for out of season practices (Baltimore Sun)

Coaches — We know it’s tempting to try to schedule some of those out-of-season practices that might help your team get a jump on the competition. However, the next time you’re thinking of doing it, remember this story.

Bel Air football coach, David Huryk, has been declared ineligible for the upcoming 2019 season for violating a pair of Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association rules for practicing out of season.

The team also has to forfeit its first game of the season. So, not only will the coach miss an entire season, his players will be punished as well.

Asked about the situation, Huryk wrote, “Just that I am sorry that my choices have negatively affected the program and kids that have worked so hard to prepare for the season.”

How do you make sure that all of your offseason workouts fall within the rules of your state’s athletic association?