Tony White takes his 3-3 to Nebraska in 2023, but Syracuse is in good hands under the guidance of defensive coordinator Rocky Long.
Coach Long is tasked with taking over the defensive system run by Tony White, a former player, and assistant of Coach Long. At the NYSHSFCA Clinic, he shared how they will build on the basics of what they have done with the 3-3 previously plus putting his own unique twist on it.
Coach Long begins by telling a short story about how he learned the 3-3 defense from the late Joe Lee Dunn who is credited with creating the defense.
Coach Long shares why they went to this defense and the philosophy behind how they run it at Syracuse. He then covers the fronts they like to use then teaches their green coverage and variations on diagrams and game film.
He starts with the philosophy of the defense emphasizing that if you force them to kick field goals, you will win a whole lot of games. He shares that old school approach here (click on images for video):
Whether it is the 3-3 stack or any other defense, details do make the difference. Coach Long gives a detailed explanation of this illustrating the different aiming points of the defensive tackle based on the situation and the scouting report:
The next aspect of their defense is taking care of and canceling every gap. Whil it may appear at the snap that nothing is taken care of, their games take care of it. He shows how this works out and explain it on game film with their pinch and wrap stunt and discusses the different coverages and how they use it to equate numbers in the box:
While the defensive structure will still be a 3-3, Coach Long will bring his own twist and uniqueness to how they coach it at Syracuse to continue to evolve and excel on the defensive side of the ball.
There are plenty of takeaways in the presentation by Coach Long. He emphasizes again and again to adjusting the defense to your best players. That lesson alone can help your own evolution of your defense.