3-4 Defense against the spread

So, we hear a lot about the 3-4 and it’s impact against the run. With how our Run D has been the last couple years, I get that.

How well will the 3-4 work against the spread teams? As i understand, the prevalence of the 4-3 was due to the large number of spread offenses.

How is this going to help us? Is it robbing Peter to pay Paul?

The spread teams ran on Arkansas last year. I guess you get that. Arkansas allowed 39 rushing touchdowns, a school record. That’s what all of this is about, stopping the spread running games, and specifically the quarterback runs. Did you read any of the stuff I wrote two weeks ago on 3-4 and why everyone in the SEC went to it? It’s because of the spreads. The read option in the spread is the killer play. The 4-3 is vulnerable to that play specifically. It’s much as the old SWC went to what was called the 5-2 (it’s the 3-4 in today’s terms) to stop the veer and wishbone teams. Same stuff. Same reasons for going to the 3-4 now. Now you may think spread teams are passing, but what they are doing is forcing you to play pass and then running it. This is why so many SEC teams are now in the 3-4.

Almost every other SEC team runs some variation of the spread. They run and throw out of it. Not many teams line up a fullback and an extra tight end like Arkansas. Even Alabama runs a lot of out of the shotgun.

I think the 3-4 is designed to give a defense more flexibility to react to either. It’s easier to drop a linebacker into pass coverage from a standup position than a defensive end who might have his hand on the field. It’s also easier to disguise coverages and blitzes before the snap when there is an extra player in an upright position.

LSU has been one of the best defensive teams - if the not the best team - during the spread era, and it has been by running a lot 3-4 looks. LSU obviously has great defenders, so it’s not just scheme, but I think scheme plays a big hand in its success.

You see a lot of NFL teams base out of the 3-4 to counter the spread. Some think the 4-3 is better against the spread, so it’s really a matter of preference. Given how bad Arkansas’ defense has been the past couple of years, I see no problem with changing things to see if it works better.

Thanks Clay and Matt. That makes sense.

I remember that article now, Clay. I will go back and re-read it.