What are these new positions about? Let’s start with the “Bandit.” This player takes the place of one defensive end. The above chart shows perhaps the basic alignment, but as Disch explained, there’s room for a lot of movement on the field.
“The “Bandit” can be in the boundary, he can be in the field,” Disch said. “The biggest thing about him is that he is a hybrid guy that can rush the passer, set the edge, be a defensive end, hold the point. But, he’s also got to be athletic enough that he can play in coverage, drop off in coverage - like a linebacker.”
For comparison sake, Disch cited college players that played this position before.
“Historically in this defense we’ve had some great ones,” Disch said. “I coached a kid last year, Jamie Collins at Southern Miss, who’s probably going to be a first or second round (NFL draft) guy. He’s just a ripped, athletic kid. It was a great fit for him. Guys like Demarcus Ware have been in that spot over the years. I know Coach Vic, we both had some really good players in it; it’s just a hybrid spot; it’s not anything unique. “
Then there’s the “Ram” position, which takes the place of the strong side linebacker.
“It’s is a small linebacker, big safety - it was what we called the “Spur” at Southern Miss,” Disch said. “I think we’re calling him the “Ram” this year. In today’s modern offense, you’re going to face a variety of stuff, so not just one week you’ll face a running team and then the next week you’ll play a spread team, but during the course of game. Offense is a lot more multiple than they used to be.
“He’s the guy, when you’re on the field, on first and second down, you don’t have to substitute personnel and have a strong side linebacker in one and a nickel in the other. If you’re fortunate enough to have a kid that can do the things you asked, go play some man coverage, obviously do what safeties do, and at times do what linebackers do.”
Obviously there’s a purpose in changing these position-types in the defense. It’s about increasing the athleticism on defense, and improving its adaptability.
“The whole deal is if you take a defensive lineman off the field and put in an extra linebacker, if you take a linebacker off the field and bring in an extra defensive back, what you’ve done is increase your speed and your athleticism,” Dicsch said. “Our goal is to get more speed on the field and be versatile – meaning on first and second down not really show our hand, be able to cover the pass, be able to blitz, be able to defend the run with the same eleven guys and not have to sub out based on their down and distance and their personnel.”
Check back tomorrow for Part III from Inside Carolina’s one-on-one interview with Dan Disch …