Thursday, October 06, 2011

Breaking Down Enrique Davis' Move to Spur

As mention in the previous post, Houston Nutt's infatuation with below-average running back Enrique Davis has reached dizzying heights, as Davis has gotten some practice time on the defensive side of the ball at the Spur position, which is a linebacker/safety hybrid spot in the 4-2-5 defensive alignment.  Now, for even the casual fan, this move seems odd.  After all, Davis hasn't played on the defensive side of the ball since at least high school (I have no recollection if he did or not; any Meridian people know?) and has spent the last four years learning the intricacies of nothing but the running back position (allegedly).

So how is this move even possible this late in the game?  Becoming even a serviceable linebacker or safety takes years of experience and preparation, assuming one doesn't have Tyrann Mathieu Honey Badger-like athletic ability and instincts (and Davis does not).  Fortunately for Davis, Ole Miss coaches are keeping things simple for him.  As you'll see below, they've told him to pretty much mimic what he does best as a running back:  run to the area where a guard is and collide with whatever is there.

Though I'm using the Titans as an example, Ole Miss uses this single-back formation or a variation of it quite often.  Davis is circled, and where he is going to run is illustrated with the arrow.

(click to be able to see) 
Right into the guard's ass. If the guard isn't there, that's positive yardage. If he is, loss of one or no gain.

Here's a single-back formation with three receivers, or as David Lee calls it, "cuttin' it loose." Again, Davis is circled, and the arrow illustrates his action.

Again, right at the guard.

Now, they've taken those plays on offense and applied it to his new defensive position. Using the same shots from above, here he is lined up against what will most likely be a running play.

Straight at the guard. If the guard doesn't block him or is gone, he maybe makes the tackle. If the guard is there, no tackle for Davis.

And here he is defending a pass-friendly formation.

No help in coverage necessary. Just get to where the guard is and hope he's moved.

So if everything goes perfectly according to chance, Davis may make one or two plays by running, then stutter-stepping, then trying to run again to the guard's spot.  If not, hey, it's only a game, right?  We'll just take him out and put in the more qualified player we took out in the first place.  SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER, COACH.

And then this just happened:

Based on Houston Nutt's behavioral pattern, Davis will be starting at middle linebacker for the Alabama game.

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