Posted by ixolabrat on 2/9/2013 9:02:00 PM (view original):
I've run zone almost exclusively since I joined. I'm at Brown in Phelan and the zone has enabled me to hang in games longer against superior talent because I run a shorter bench and rely on my starters longer. It's taken many long seasons for me to figure out what has been spoken earlier. Zone is great for low to mid major team I think because we do not have the depth that the BCS guys usually have. I try (big emphasis on try) to always have 1 or 2 walkon's, a redshirt freshman with high growth potential (790-830), and 1 ineligible (if there is something good still lying around late that is better than anything I can get eligible. I'm sure I'm not the pioneer of the low level throw all cash left at an ineligible and hope he signs up, and if he doesn't pray he's close enough to get the preference next recruiting season. But I've been able to snag a couple of guys this way that have given me a fifth year .. that helps too.
i agree with zone for mid/low d1, i actually think zone is at least as good as any other set, if not optimal for those teams to play, and i think in general it probably is the optimal defense for those situations.
people have this anti-zone mentality, in general, at least it seems to me. i think thats because in championship level play, it can be a bit of a disadvantage. i agree that is the case, especially in d1 where the top teams are SO talented, the advantage of getting more minutes to your starters (which is THE major benefit of zone) is so greatly diminished. however, most d1 teams have no shot in hell of winning a championship, and shouldnt care less what the preeminent set at that level is. i made an elite 8 with a low talent fb/zone team, a totally legit one, not like my recent elite 8 with a mid major (also in california, thought that was interesting). we'd have 1 of the top 10 players by talent compared with teams we were just as good at, or if you talk about the top 5 or so teams in the country, teams we were only a few points a game behind, on average. i think there are successful strategies in low d1 where press can be quite effective, but in general its really no contest to me, zone should be king of low d1.
even bottom half BCS teams, i just honestly cannot understand why people seem so into man at all levels of d1. or maybe they aren't, but it sure seems like it, at least in the BCS. anyone who isnt actively trying to win a championship, it seems to me, should not be playing it - all the guys who are run man, and it sure is hard to beat a great coach with huge advantages over you at their own game. now, there are a **** ton of high ath/def players. but the flexibility you get in recruiting and in the system you can run, by not running man, seems so significant to me. i know im sort of the "team planning junkie" of HD if you will, but man, it makes all the difference in the world. i think fully half of all human d1 coaches should run zone, if not more. most successful non-championship teams take walkons regularly, so why the hell not?