Let's Use Vine To Take A Closer Look At Iowa Football's Defense Vs. Missouri State

Matthew Holst

Time to over-analyze stuff.

DOMINIC ALVIS IN COVERAGE. Here we see something different from Iowa:

Yes, that's a three-man rush with Alvis dropping back into the passing lanes. Iowa may have expected a quick slant and the drop was intended to take that away. We see the receiver run the out route. Alvis takes too deep of drop and doesn't put his head on a swivel. He needs to find out what's going on around him. If he does, he sees that receiver coming at him on a crossing route. Iowa's experimenting with Nate Meier and Quinton Alston at defensive end on obvious passing downs. Both would be better suited to drop off if that's the call. There's also the possibility of adding a linebacker blitz to this look making it a zone blitz.

LET'S LOOK AT THE DEFENSE AGAINST THE RUSH. I think Alvis has been better in two games than he was last season. He still lacks physical abilities, namely foot speed, but he's held his edge for the most part. Anthony Hitchens, whom we picked on a little last week, has been strong against the rush. Let's take a look:

Here we see Iowa stunt the defensive tackle to the inside. Louis Trinca-Pasat is too quick for the guard and quickly gets into the backfield. The MSU center steps to help with Darian Cooper but by time he turns to take on the linebacker at the second level, Hitchens is already in the hole. Hitchens comes in a little high with his hit but but it's good play recognition and he punishes the running back.

MSU tried a sweep to the outside from the pistol formation. You see the guards step back to pull and a cut block from the center and reach block by the right tackle. Darian Cooper gets caught up for a second but does a good job of shedding the cut block and getting in pursuit. On the backside, LTP knocks his guard back and off his track and he's never able to get out and get to the trailing linebacker in his pull. This play call came on a 3rd and 8 and Iowa had Nate Meier in at left defensive end. He allows the tackle to get on his outside shoulder. James Morris and Christian Kirksey were there to turn the play back to the middle. Hitchens ultimately makes the tackle from his trailing linebacker position as he was never touched by an MSU linemen. At the point of the tackle Iowa had four defenders in pursuit and ready to make a play. This is good team defense all around.

DESMOND KING IS THE FIRST TRUE FRESHMAN TO START SINCE JAMES MORRIS. I think he looks like a true freshman out there. Let's look at the MSU touchdown pass.

This looks like Iowa's cover-4 call. Cover-4 meaning the back four (secondary) each take a quarter of the field. Last week we saw Iowa in cover-2 when the ball went deep and John Lowdermilk failed to get back. This week, King had no help on the play. He bites on the nice double move and it's an easy six for MSU.

Here's another play and maybe you'll see what I mean "plays like a true freshman."

King is giving a pretty big cushion to the wide receivers. To me, playing like a true freshman means he's playing too soft. He's decided that if he's going to make a mistake, it won't be getting beat deep. He's done a solid job stepping up and making the tackle once the receiver has made the catch but he needs to start closing in on the receiver. This will come with experience. His issue doesn't appear to be ability but rather confidence. He's getting great experience now and could be a starter for Iowa for his next three to four years.

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