Every year the same questions arise with respect to containing or stopping the option. Few people who haven't run it or played against it really understand it all, and think its a gimmick offense. They think that it has no place in modern football because its been "solved". That couldn't be further from the truth. Coaches don't run it as much because its difficult to recruit to it. Urban Meyer/Dan Mullen run an option scheme that is basically the same except its done in a shotgun set, and they actually practice passing, whereas Tech does not focus on passing or pass blocking in practice. Our system uses many of the misdirection principles used in the Johnson system, and Malzahn himself says his system was heavily influenced by the Wing-T.
Last year everyone was all over Steele because he could not stop the system in the ACCCG, and then he pulled out a few 3-4 looks and everyone thinks we're OK again. The truth is, since that ACCCG, Tech has lost a bunch of good players and last year they had horrid OL play overall. In the last 3 games where their offense has been "contained", the culprit is primarily the OL play. Also, the Wingbacks have been just flat out missing their cut blocks. Can we take advantage? I don't know, but we should.
Without digressing too much, I wanted to highlight the work we've already done in defending the system. Tech has several series of plays with a common blocking scheme or theme, such as the Counter option, Midline, or the inside/outside Veer. We've not spent much time on the counter and there seemed to be little interest in discussing it this offseason, but we have covered defending the Veer and the midline. We may come back to the option again next summer.
I took a lot of heat over calling out Steele's scheme in the ACCCG, but it is a must-read for people who think this system is a gimmick. Its not. It'll beat you just as bad as any other system if you can't play disciplined defense. With that said, there are 5 basic tenets to stopping the Flexbone:
1. Stop the Dive. Its meant to get 3.0 ypc, once they get more than that, youre dead. They don't have as great a FB as Dwyer, but if you let them beat you inside it sets up the entire perimeter game and Midline.
2. Hammer that QB every time he touches the football.
3. Knock the QB's facemask off every time he touches the football. Make him eat dirt.
4. Flatten the QB on every snap.
5. Rip the QB's head off on every snap.
I dont give a shit if you get a late hit or unsportsmanlike penalty, you make that QB regret he stepped on the field.
The QB makes it all work. If he drops back to pass, hit him. If he keeps, hit him. If he pitches the ball, hit his ass anyway. Make him hesitate.
You do that, you beat the option.