Like the rest of you I have been devouring his unit write-ups like a cat fed with canned tuna. All dignity is lost when the aroma of football fills the kitchen.
Also, QB/RB/WR, TE/HB/OL, and Special Teams. Lap it up. Then go consider giving money for little Raylee. If just part of the readership here chipped in it would make all the difference. Apparently there are many of you. And just look at that little girl reaching out for the no. 10 hat...
For all that Trips Right has brought us on basketball, football, gambling and whatever else it's an awesome opportunity to bless him and his family now.
Now, while this coach has received some credit here and there I also want to call attention to a man named Mike Tolleson. Scipio praised him in his practice reports and several other places but it's worth noting that Defensive tackle and Special Teams, 2 places that have been essential cornerstones in the 10-win season Mack Brown Temple, are both coached by this individual. As excited as I am about Muschamp taking over this team someday and continuing to run the defense I get a little nervous thinking about a world where Tolly and Duane aren't involved in Texas football. Hopefully Muschamp can hire as well as he can coach.
Scipio has outlined, above, the defensive strengths and possibilities while Muschamp himself has mentioned several plans including heavier use of zone. By zone you can be reasonably certain that he means pattern-reading, where players defend routes and, in the case of OU or Bama, tendencies.
Heavier use of more complicated coverages also means more inundation with these techniques for the incoming players trying to catch up, so the defense won't have to revert back to 2008-level complexity everytime a batch of defensive backers graduate. The future linebackers and defensive backs will be used to the more complex coverages being a routine part of practice and game plans.
In 2008 the coverage was basically just a lot of 2 deep with man coverage underneath. In 09 there was a lot more Cover-1 Robber with Gideon playing deep and Thomas playing robber or over the slot receiver.
The quality and specific abilities of the safeties often plays heavily into the chosen scheme of a guy like Muschamp who is looking to put guys in position to make positive plays and not merely reduce negative ones. 2010 has a combination of the best qualities of 08 and 09.
At the starting safety spots he has guys that are strong in support but not when isolated in coverage. I won't have a hernia if I see Gideon or Scott on slot receivers other than Broyles, Fuller, Nwachukwu...well this list is getting a little long, but suffice to say they aren't horrendous but you'd rather not give teams an easy 5-10 yards with one of them lined up over a quality receiving option.
In support, however, they can be ballhawks. Gideon has proven himself a quality centerfielder, he's like the buzzard in this scheme, methodically flying high above waiting for carrion to pick off.
Christian Scott is your Peregrin Falcon, 175 mph of straight line speed into the earhole of unsuspecting prey.
Kenny Vaccaro is your more typical Red-Tailed Hawk which Muschamp will train to viciously strike game of his own preference from the slot position.
Brewster is a Snowy Owl.
The redtail may not lock down guys like the Earl could but the value here is in lining up guys on receivers who can be physical tacklers and useful in the running game. Chykie Brown's presence on the team means that Aaron can play inside, where he is a solid LB/DB option (the slot defender takes the place of the Sam linebacker) and the team fields 3 high caliber corners. Then, offering further versatility is the emergence of Vaccaro and Scott which will allow Williams to stay outside as well (where he will be less easily avoided), preserving physicality inside without losing too much coverage by getting Norton or Earnest on the field.
Combined with Acho uno ocho and Robinson's growth in understanding coverage principles and you have a back 7 suited for the following basic strategy.
For most of these Big 12 teams, even the supposedly "run-heavy offenses" they'll gang up on the pass with 2 deep defenders while maintaining coverage, speed, AND physicality underneath. Gary Patterson has been doing this for years at TCU with his 4-2-5 and hasn't yet had anyone like Aaron Williams and would be thrilled to have Vaccaro or Scott.
You might see Gideon left alone deep in Cover-1 or in Cover-3 but I'm guessing that 2-deep coverages will be more common. Cover-2, Cover-4, Cover-5 (2 deep man under). Whether or not Muschamp can coach guys to attack tendencies from those coverages like Stoops I can't say for certain but obviously we would all suspect the answer to be yes. It sure seemed like Thomas and Gideon had an idea of where to be last year.
This can also help replace Earl's heavy INT totals in that multiple players will be in position to attack the ball when it's flung haphazardly from a quarterback trying to escape the clutches of whichever of 10 options Muschamp has chosen to send at him on that given play. Zone, even pattern-reading, helps defenders keep their eye in the backfield more often and take cues from the eyes of the quarterback rather than the receiver.
When it comes to interceptions, looking for the ball makes all the difference and 2-deep read coverages make that easier. Quantity is job 1 on turnovers for Muschamp and that's how I see him getting them.
That's your base defense with a strong dose of stunts, zone-blitzes, and different fronts to choose from. Versatility and packaging is clearly the name of the game with Muschamp and future squads are going to zone more to achieve that goal.
As a peak into the future, next year's squad will be full of first year starters at corner back along with the veteran group of Scott, Gideon and Vaccaro. Beyond keeping the Big Nickel as a useful package, Vaccaro's training in the slot makes him a starter in that position in 2011.
Gideon, as we've probably all slowly come to accept, is going to be a 4 year starter at Texas. He understands Muschamp's schemes and has enough ability for that to add up to a strong case for him starting. Then, in the long run this could pay off after his inevitably brief stint in the NFL. What do you think happens after that? Coach's son with 120 credits for the major of "Muschamp studies" is going to do what after his playing days are over? I can guess.