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Chalk Talk: The ND 3-4 Transition Part I-Expectations

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many installments of "Chalk Talk" with LB Coach. I am excited to introduce LB Coach as a new contributor to One Foot Down.

LB Coach has a significant amount of experience playing football at Notre Dame and on the professional level. He also has a significant amount of current coaching experience. He has offered to stop by here on occasion and share his technical knowledge of the game with us. I always enjoy listening to a knowledgeable and current football coach talk about the finer points of the game and I know that other fans do too. I think you will enjoy the things that LB Coach takes the time to share with us. As his first order of business LB Coach is going to tell us everything we need to know as Notre Dame prepares to switch to a 3-4 defense. In this first installment he will discuss some basic expectations that Irish fans should have about next season. Future installments will get into the weeds on the different position groups. Enjoy. Whiskey

LB Coach
Notre Dame is switching from the 4-3 to the 3-4. What's involved, just what does that mean and can we be successful against next year's schedule?

This spring, I would imagine that the offense will be way ahead of the defense because it takes so much time to learn the individual playing techniques in the 3-4 front. It has been my experience in over 45 years of playing and coaching the 3-4 on the high school, college, and professional levels that the more you play the 3-4 front the better you get at it. Over time you learn your responsibilities, understand where the football is and your best angle to get to it and make a play.

The odd alignment is more technique dependent than talent dependent so it is easier to find the next guy on the depth chart and teach him his role in the defense. Most of what you must do and teach is not size, speed, or strength dependent although once you learn what must be done your size, speed and strength contribute.

I believe that this new Notre Dame staff is committed to the 3-4 philosophy and that the players will buy in. Look for the defense to show great improvement next season from week 1 to the end with the "D" coming on stronger and stronger as the season goes on. There should be no more late season losing streaks to inferior opponents as this team will actually improve each week throughout the season.

When a player is replaced with another, the drop off in talent won't be as apparent as talent is trumped by technique in the 3-4. As long as the coaches demand outstanding technique, whatever player is in there will be able to man his position and fulfill his responsibility.

Notre Dame is the perfect place to have a base 3-4 as the defense's home. I'll be excited to share with Notre Dame fans a former player's perspective on the defense and how well it's being played. In the next installment I will start discussing the responsibilities of the different position groups.