December 30, 2012

NEXT GEN: New needs created by the 4-2-5, Pt. 1

AUBURN -- The hire of Ellis Johnson earlier this month signaled a major change in defensive philosophy on the Plains.

Gone is the base 4-3 alignment that's been a staple under both Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik. New coach Gus Malzahn, one of the most respected evangelists of the hurry-up, no-huddle offense, knew his team needed something different to counter the rise of offenses similar to his.

He believes Johnson is the man to make that happen.

The Tigers' base defense these days is a 4-2-5, which will create some new needs - or perhaps some re-purposing -- from a personnel standpoint. Of particular interest will be the second linebacker, the quick end and the third safety.

So who will handle those positions? And what will change?

Taking a look at the machinations inside the 4-2-5 scheme can provide some essential clues in searching for The Next Big Thing.

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