In today’s hurry up, no huddle world that we are living in, one of the primary blocking schemes is to leave a defensive end completely unblocked. Now, defensive ends are typically the most athletic pass rusher on the team so leaving a man like this unblocked seems risky at best. However, teams found the ends to play zone reads in a flat footed manner with them taking neither the quarterback nor the running back so there was no need to waste a blocking assignment on them.
Until this season, Alabama’s defense fell into this trap, as well. However, apparently in the off-season the Tide began asking their ends to attack upfield and disrupt anything and everything that gets in their way. We see this in the first clip where A&M leaves the end (Pettway – 57) unblocked at first, but they roll a guard over to seal him off from the QB. The problem for the guard is that he’s moving laterally and therefore doesn’t have the leverage to hold off Pettway’s charge. The result: Pettway pushes the guard into the QB who then throws a pick six!
Next, we see Ryan Anderson (22) doing the same thing. Once again, he has the upfield leverage and he uses this to defeat the block quickly and easily.
Leaving Jonathan Allen (93) unblocked is, shall we say, unwise. Here, Allen bursts upfield and takes on both the back and the quarterback. Awesome-sauce.
Lastly, we see Ryan Anderson (22) left unblocked. This allows him to get into the backfield and disrupt the play, causing yet another tackle for loss.
Alabama is attacking on defense and any time you allow the defensive ends to get up the field unabated then bad things are going to happen for an offense.