Although we don’t usually cover the NFL, here is a great write-up from former Boise State safety Jason Robinson on how Boise State stopped Blount in their 2009 game, and how Denver can learn from the other Broncos:
Long before he became famous for scoring four rushing touchdowns in a single NFL playoff game, LeGarrette Blount was a household name in Idaho. During his days as an Oregon Duck, Blount was involved in a post-game physical altercation that landed him on ESPN for week, and the sideline for the remainder of his senior season. However, the story that didn’t make headlines was that the Boise State defense held Blount to a career low -5 rushing yards in that same 2009 game. If the Denver Broncos want to have the same success against Blount as the Boise State Broncos did, there are three things they must do in today’s game to contain the rushing weapon of mass destruction that is Blount.
1. Make Him Move Laterally
The first key to the Boise State Broncos’ defensive containment of Blount was to take away vertical seams in the run game. Blount is a great running back when he is able to run behind his shoulder pads and run north and south. Blount is faster than he is quick; meaning he is more dangerous running in full stride than he is at making lateral moves at the line of scrimmage. If the Denver Broncos can take away the vertical seams, this will slow him down just enough to give the defense time to rally between plays.
2. Wrap Up
In today’s NFL, the “launch” tackle (when a defensive player attempts to tackle the ball carrier without first getting his arms wrapped around him) has become a trend amongst defensive players, but that maneuver will be of no use against a running back like Blount. Why? Because at 6 foot 5 inches and 250 pounds, Blount can use his superior athleticism to easily avoid or break those inadequate tackling attempts. Every member of the Denver Bronco’s defense must use both arms when tackling to even have a chance to bring this man down.
3. Get in His Head
This is the NFL Playoffs – anything goes. Like many other NFL players, Blount doesn’t back down from confrontation. This is a critical component in containing his run game. The Denver Bronco’s defense should have someone jawing in Blount’s ear between every whistle with one goal – piss him off. There is only so much the Bronco’s can do to physically stop Blount, but if they can get in his head then he will remove himself from the game. It is this sort of gamesmanship that is necessary to stop Blount.
If the Denver Broncos defense can implement these three key strategies of the 2009 Boise State Broncos’ game plan, their chances of hoisting the Lamar Hunt trophy today are much more likely. The Broncos still need to formulate a plan to control the rest of the “Brady Bunch,” but as far as Blount goes, the equation is rather simple: take away vertical running lanes + use two-arm tackling + trash talk = -5 Rushing Yards.
Safety at Boise State 2006-2010
Special Teams Captain 2009