Three weeks ago, WVU has its issues against Texas Tech’s man-to-man defense and the way the Red Raiders played very close and allowed for very little open space. Two weeks ago, Kansas State played mostly zone with ample cushion and Dana Holgorsen was driven crazy by the way his quarterback and receivers played into that plan and didn’t play in the open space.
Well here comes TCU, long one of the nation’s better defensive teams, though experiencing some of the introductory struggles fellow Big 12 newcomer WVU is. The Horned Frogs get after defenses, though, by playing man to man defense. And zone defense.
“They do about three things from what I see and a lot of it is man or zone, but they will do man/zone concepts where they’ll straight up man you on one side if they believe they can man you on one side and they’ll play zone on the other,” WVU quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said. “It’s all about who they believe they can match up with.”
TCU might play man outside against WVU’s Stedman Bailey and J.D. Woods and use one safety or two to guard against vertical passes. The Mountaineers (5-2, 2-2) use three or four receivers on most snaps and sometimes feature five. TCU could cover the inside receivers, whether there are one, two or three, with a zone defense without compromising the other coverages.
Yet TCU might also play man on Woods on one side of the field and zone with a second defender on Bailey on the other side and still keep the same plan for the inside receivers.
“Sometimes I get confused if it’s man or zone because there’s a lot of matching routes that goes on that looks like man,” Holgorsen said. “It’s 50 percent man and 50 percent zone pressure.”