In The Film Room: Music City Bowl

January 5, 2012

News, Sports

Initial Analysis: I normally break down each football game, but I haven’t done it since early in the season. I decided to breakdown the Music City Bowl, and highlight some key plays.


1st Quarter

(6:57) Great Team Blocking: This play was the zone-read in the first quarter, where Chris Relf gained 18 yards. The play starts with Relf faking a zone-read to Vick Ballard, while James Carmon pulls to the back side and blows his man up. Ballard, after not receiving, lays a nice block on the linebacker. The rest of the offensive line and Marcus Green sealed their blocks. Ricco Sanders has the final key block, driving his man back several yards.

(3:15) Ballard’s First Breakaway TD: This touchdown was set up even before the ball was snapped by Chad Bumphis in motion behind Relf. There were great seal blocks by Gabe Jackson, Quentin Saulsberry, and Dillon Day. Ballard then blasts through the hole.  The safety had shadowed to follow Bumphis and was out of position to tackle Ballard — Touchdown Bulldogs.

2nd Quarter

(13:07) Relf’s Big Gainer: Relf’s big gainer was set up by Ballard’s touchdown. It was a basic Zone-Read, but the Wake defenders keyed on Ballard, and the middle of defense was wide open.

(12:50) Clark’s Touchdown: This play displayed Arceto Clark’s excellent route-running skills. The play starts with Relf faking to Ballard, which the defense doesn’t bite on, but Clark at the Z receiver position gives the cornerback a double move (stutter-go). Clark flies past the defender, and Relf delivers the ball — Touchdown Bulldogs.

(0:06) Relf’s First Interception: Relf took a lot of flack for the first interception, which was unwarranted. The pass he threw to Bumphis was a solid pass, but the defender made an incredible play on the ball. If the defender had jumped a split-second late, then it would have been a touchdown. The only other option Relf had would have been to throw to Malcolm Johnson, who had one-on-one coverage.

3rd Quarter

(7:25) Relf Recognizing Pressure: This is the type of play I expected to see more of with Chris Relf. The offensive line collapses, and Relf breaks to the right and delivers the ball to Chris Smith on the sideline.

4th Quarter

(13:06) Ballard Money Maker Run: This play starts with Ballard running off-tackle, but Gabe Jackson gets blown off the ball, so the running lane wasn’t there. Ballard then sees a massive cut back lane, created by Marcus Green and Addison Lawrence’s seal blocks. The senior running back hits the hole, and the safety fails to make the play — Touchdown Bulldogs.

Vick Ballard displays all the tools pro scouts love: vision, explosion, breakaway speed, agility, and patience.


1st Quarter

(12:54) Deontae Skinner’s Playmaking: I’ve been high on Skinner all season. This play early in the game only re-affirms my thought process. Wake Forest lines up with trips right, which normally means the team is going that way.

Skinner is already flexed out in the flat. The Demon Deacons throw a bubble screen, and Skinner takes on the blocker and pushes him into the ball carrier. These are the types of plays that make me think Skinner can be an All-SEC player.

(10:46) Slight Adjustment: This play highlights a good adjustment by Fletcher Cox before the snap of the ball. The Bulldogs are in their standard 4-3, but Cox is playing the three technique. Before the snap of the ball, Cox slides down to the one technique, and the ball is ran right up the A gap. Cox blows up the play, and a blitzing Wilson and Banks cleans it up.

(7:55) Great Swarm By D: Wake Forest lines up again in trips right. They again run a bubble screen, but Matthew Wells is in instead of Skinner. Wells does a good job of taking on the blocker; he sheds the blocker and tackles the ball carrier—Cox and Cam Lawrence arrive to supply additional support. There were other players in the vicinity to make the tackle, if they failed to make it. It was a terrific job by the Bulldogs of flying to the ball.

(5:33) Cox Money Maker Play: The defense was lined up in a 3-4 front, with Cox playing the five technique Defensive End. The Demon Deacons run an off-tackle play, and Cox overpursues, but he is athletic enough to change direction. He makes the play before the running back gets a head of steam. The Running Back looked shocked to see Fletch.

2nd Quarter

(14:16) Skinner Seals Edge: The Bulldogs are lined up in the 4-3. Skinner is walked up to the outside hip of the defensive end. The Demon Deacons run a stretch play, and Skinner does a great job of using his hands to stay off the block—he forces the ball carrier to run out of bounds.

3rd Quarter

(13:46) The “What Was Wake Forest Thinking?” Play: I named this play, because the Demon Deacons attempted to block Cox with a Tight End. Cox, who was lined up at defensive end, naturally shed the block easily and tackled the running back.

(13:06) Great Activity By Defense: The Bulldogs are lined up in a 3-4, and there are nine players in the box.  The ball is snapped; Lawrence and Wade Bonner blitz, and Josh Boyd gets great push. Boyd makes the sack, but he grabs the quarterback’s face mask.

(5:35) Another Cox Money Maker: The Bulldogs are in a 4-3 with Skinner walked up. The Demon Deacons run a stretch play left, and Cox blows up the offensive guard and tackles the running back for a loss.

(1:53) Curtis Virges Flashing Potential: The Bulldogs on this play shift from a 3-4 front to a 4-3 before the play.Virges, who is lined up over center, blows him up—he sacks the quarterback. Virges flashed the potential he has as a one technique defensive tackle or nose guard.

4th Quarter

(15:00) Activity & Sack: This was probably my favorite play the whole game. The Bulldogs lined up in a 2-man front, with Brandon Maye and Cam Lawrence walked up from their linebacker spot. Corey Broomfield is lined up at Free Safety, but he eventually moves down to the line of scrimmage. Charles Mitchell comes in the last-minute, and blitzes along with Broomfield. Broomfield gives the offensive linemen a good outside fake and sacks the quarterback. These are one of the plays a Defensive Coordinator shows recruits on visits.

Final Analysis: The one thing I saw from the film study is that the Bulldogs’ defense has tons of potential in 2012. The loss of Fletcher Cox will hurt because of his versatility to play along the defensive line, but the addition of Nico Autry should give Coach Chris Wilson some other options.


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