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November 7, 2012

Tronzo: The return of touchdown blocks




CardinalSports.com is proud to partner with Louisville-fullback-turned-radio-commentator Joe Tronzo for analysis during the 2012 season. In this edition of Four Downs, Tronzo provides his thoughts on Louisville's win over Temple and the upcoming game at Syracuse.

In last week's edition, I spoke of how the UofL running game needed to get back on track. They did just that against Temple, averaging 7.5 yards per designed rush.

A big factor in the success of the running game was the line's ability to get up to the linebackers. On practically every running play, two lineman will double team a defensive lineman. One of those lineman will overtake the block, with the other lineman coming off the block and advancing up to a linebacker.

In the previous two games against USF and Cincinnati, the linebackers who are supposed to be blocked by those "combo" blocks were not getting touched and many tackles were made from the backside. Backside blocks are your "big play" and "touchdown" blocks, and with them being executed, you saw a recharged rushing attack.

I will give Temple a lot of credit. They came in with a very good rushing game plan and executed it very well. Their use of multiple formations, motions and misdirection of run reads was very tough to defend for Louisville. That being said, the Cardinal defense struggled tackling.

There were several runs where Harris was 1 on 1 with a Cardinal defender in the hole, and made them miss, leading to big gains. For this defense to take the next step, they have to finish the play. If you as the defense have put yourself in a position to make a stop for no gain, a great defense will make that play.

Strong spoke with Doug Ormay post-game on this issue and said that instead of breaking down in that situation, the defender needs to just attack and run their feet. Look for the linebackers and fill defenders to be more aggressive in the future.

I did see some personnel changes in the kicking game. Scott Radcliff, who had been the backup punt returner, was out there for every punt return. In previous years, he had always been the go to guy after problems fielding punts.

In my opinion, he is a guy who places ball security as a first priority and then gets what he can. There are a lot of hidden yards in punts. For those punts that are not hit well, but take a good bounce for the kicking team, a smart returner will be aggressive and field the punt quickly to disallow extra yardage being netted. On kickoff coverage, I saw Senorise Perry make a few plays, and after the touchdown return, I would not be surprised to see more starters on that unit.

Syracuse is game that makes me nervous. Going on the road and playing in front of a lackluster crowd reminds me of FIU.

Being down there on the field, I could tell you first hand that the atmosphere reminded me of a high school game. With UofL being 9-0, the Carrier Dome may be rocking, which I believe will help Louisville.

However, with a noon kickoff, if the energy level in the dome is low, I believe advantage Syracuse. With a perfect season on the line, I think that the locker room and sideline should have enough intensity, and Syracuse will be playing with the motivation of ending Louisville's dreams. Louisville will be playing in an environment that they are not accustomed to, a dry one.

Joe Tronzo is the co-owner of Louisville Sports Performance Institute, a business focused on the athletic development of athletes of all ages and ability levels. Located in the Mid-America Sports Center in J-Town, LSPI works to improve speed, agility, strength, and power in a more personalized atmosphere than most training facilities. Each athlete, group, or team has different needs. Through individual and methodical programming, every athlete gets the program that will best contour to the athletic development of the individual, group, or team. Want more information about Joe's training? Click here to email Joe today!



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