Why You Can’t Play Nickel vs 2 TE Sets

Unless you absolutely commit to getting a safety in the box and/or play a much bigger 5th DB, like Gary Patterson or Kyle Whittingham or Buddy Foster, et al.


Bama comes out in a 1 TE/ 1 HB on 1st and 10.  There is a WR on each side of the formation. #11 at HB is Gehrig Dieter who plays a kind of flex TE role for Bama.  He’s not especially big, but this could easily be replicated with a true TE which will happen at different times in the game.  I chose this cut up because the view is so good.  Ags have nickel Donovan Wilson on the field.  Donovan is reduced into a LB position by alignment.  (I’m also not sure why Myles Garrett isn’t head up on the TE in this formation? But. impossible to know how he would be instructed in this situation)


This creates a 1 on 1 situation with Dieter vs Dono.  Bama obviously likes this alignment.  Justin Evans is circled and he is unable to factor to the run game based on his position.  He is in no man’s land.  Unable to provide coverage help on the WR on that side and unable to provide much help in run plays.


Wilson isn’t able to reduce the running lane at all.  (Shaan Washington doesn’t fare much better)


All Dono can do is hold on and reach.  Because he just got pancaked! Meanwhile, Damien Harris is running full speed into the safeties. Have fun with that boys. Obviously, there are other things going on in this play that lead to a big gain.  But, the 3rd LB vs a 195 safety is the mismatch here that is readily observed.

Watch it Live at 3:06:


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Talking ball for ball fans.

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