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Eagles' defense narrows focus

Eagles' defense  narrows focus

Eagles' defense narrows focus

Georgia Southern defensive coordinato...

    Brent Pry likes to keep things simple.
    Whether you’re talking about the gameplan for an opposing offense or the approach of his defense, the basic philosophy of the Georgia Southern defensive coordinator seems to be broken down to finding what you’re good at and putting your focus there.
    Pry wants to figure out the three things an opponent does best, and focus on stopping those aspects of its game.
    “What are the three things that we need to take away? Is it quarterback runs, is it intermediate pass game, is it the quick game, is it the outside run, is it the tailback? We’ll put up on the board the top three threats they have, the three things that scare us the most about an offense,” Pry said. “Then we’ll make sure as we gameplan all week that those three things are in mind.”
    Pry also wants to have the same 11 guys on the field regardless of the situation. Lack of depth is only part of the reason he won’t be subbing a lot. With nickel personnel in a 4-3 look on the field at nearly all times, he feels like the Eagles’ defense can adapt to whatever it sees from an opponent’s offense.
    “We will not be subbing a lot,” said Pry. “We want to be able to line up with the guys we’ve got. If somebody’s bringing in some extra linemen, no wideouts and all backs, if somebody’s mass subbing, we’ll have to adjust. But for your basic substitutions, we will not.”
    Pry will call the plays from the field. His playcalling is based on which players are in the huddle for the other team.
    “By what personnel they have in the game,” Pry said, “we know generally the formations they’ll get into out of that, and we know what we like against that formation based on what plays they’ll run out of it. We study people that way, and on gameday, the guys in the press box, they’ll get a handle on what personnel is in the game and they’ll relay it to us on the sidelines.
    “Hopefully we get some reoccurrence. Hopefully we make our call and then [the opposing offense] comes out in something that we practiced against that week. If we’re doing a good job as coaches, I hope that’s what happens.”
    For Pry, aggressive defense doesn’t have to be all blitzes and pressure.
    He wants his defense to be successful in making stops with basic playcalling. In an ideal situation, blitzes will be used only to change the pace.
    “We’re going to pride ourselves on being able to line up and play some base defenses. Blitzes are a curve ball to me,” he said. “I like to use the blitz to make a minus-yardage play and put them in 2nd-and-14. You make something big happen and all of a sudden they’re behind the eight ball. If we can rush four and get the pressure with four guys, well, third down you don’t have to blitz as much.”
    Sometimes, the possibility of a blitz can be just as effective as a blitz itself.
    “We want the threat of a lot of different things to be there. We want the threat of the corners coming, we want the threat of the safeties coming,” said Pry. “Everybody in the perimeter in the back end has a blitz. The threat of those guys coming is always going to be there. We’re going to run some of those pressures so they understand, ‘Hey, when that guy’s walking up, there’s a good chance he’s coming.’ He may not. But there’s a chance.”

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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