Football 101 Reading List: Bill Arnsparger and a potential Barry Odom hire

Again, no news on Barry Odom or any other DC candidates. However, given the discussion about the system he ran at Missouri, and the confusion over the labeling of the system (called a 4-2-5, looks like a 3-4 and a 4-3 at times, etc.) I would recommend reading the following article about the late Bill Arnsparger. Arnsparger built the terrific Miami Dolphins defenses in the 70s and is credited with inventing the zone blitz. Going back and looking at tape of those teams, they used a similar alignment to a 3-4, with a hybrid DE/LB flexed out to the boundary and his hand on the ground. This gave them a wide angle to rush the passer without opening up a giant bubble in the C gap with the alignment. Arnsparger called this the "53" defense. The 53 wasn't referring to an alignment. It was the number of the DE playing the hybrid role (Bob Matheson), much like the 46 defense was named for Bears safety Gary Fencik.

Later, the 1980s Forty Niners used a similar concept, with a fast stunting nose in Michael Carter, and the hybrid edge position. The post was manned initially by Fred Dean, and then Charles Haley, who was elite off the edge to the tune of six Super Bowl rings. Later, one dimensional speed rushing outside linebackers who were on the downside of their career thrived in the role, with former Saint Ricky Jackson, former Packer Tim Harris, former Viking Chris Doleman, and vagabon Kevin Greene all thriving in the role.

This is a good read.

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Thanks for sharing that, very interesting.

I had always wondered why the 46 was called the 46, but never thought enough about it to look it up, that's pretty interesting.

Bears used to play the safety right on the LOS. They would have 8 within 3 yards of the ball and a cover 3 shell deep. It worked until tuning routes became more widespread than just Niners and Dolphins. By Buddy Ryan's Oilers run, it was getting shredded

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

It's a shout out to running a ton of Inverted Cover 2 which is a staple of Bud's defense.


I remember French describing how Bud used the Bear defense to help VT beat Ohio State in the 'Shoe and he mentioned the 46 defense.

Yeah, I remember that we used it in that game, and I remember it more from various video games and thought it was an interesting alignment, but never really looked into the nomenclature.

Well, if the '46' defense was named for a player on that Bears team, that player would have been Doug Plank, one of the most devastating and undisciplined hitters in NFL history, who was pretty much my idle playing in the secondary growing up. Gary Fencik, who was actually a much better all around DB and one of the defensive signal-callers on that team, wore #45 his entire career.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

Those Niners teams in the 80-90s were fun to watch.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Thanks for the link. I also now understand why Bud later borrowed a similar wrinkle and had Dadi Nicholas become the stand-up rusher instead of having him down in a three-point stance. Then Bud also had Kyle Fuller in a similar role as the 46 to wreck Georgia Tech's option scheme. Similarity, Bud also had the ability to call for Hewitt to drop into coverage to confuse Pitt's quarterback and make a crucial 4th-and-2 stop to force turnover on downs.

Any DC worth their salt will adapt their scheme to fit the talent under his tutelage. I seriously hope that it is Odom, because if he is able to teach and install his 3-4 scheme, which includes 4-3 looks, I think he can make the defense complement the offense.

We put the K in Kwality

One thought I've had over the last couple weeks... It seems like a lot of people want to hire someone from Bud's tree to take advantage of the ridiculous amount of returning talent we have. To them it seems like such a waste to switch things up right now when next year could be something special.

On the flip side, if we're going to eventually move on from Bud's system and change to something else entirely, it seems to me that having all this returning talent and experience might make such a transition a little less painful. Since the staff doesn't have to spend a much time working on fundamentals, that should open up more time for teaching scheme, and I feel like the more experienced players should be able to pick up different techniques easier.


Edit: "less painless" -> "less painful"

Both of the arguments here are true. Switching to a new system makes the talent on the team less productive than it would have been continuing in the same system. But yes, In a situation where you have to switch to a new scheme it will obviously go better if you have sound fundamentals and talented players to offset general confusion at times. So in conclusion, I think that is a fair assessment.

I Played against Charles Hailey and his twin brother Lawrence. Both were pretty good off the edge. Bookend DEs in the old 5-2 that we're really hard to block. We ran a lot of dives and power leads trying to avoid them. There are still a few nice homes down in Naruna Va built by the Hailey family. He was an elite rusher in the NFL and really helped define that hybrid edge position along with making a lot of NFL money.

"Don't go to, go through"

Thanks French. Looks like LSU is running a 3-4 with some guys that can do a little bit of everything at linebacker and safety. Their nose tackle is a manimal though and they cycle through two deep on the D line.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I would have no problem bringing in a Barry Odom as DC. The only thing that might concern me a little is his unfamiliarity with recruiting in this region, and we definitely need a shot in the arm in that regard. However, if he is a good recruiter, those skills are transferable. He'd just need a few years to get acclimated.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis