All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.

On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker breaks down the Huskers' current 3-4 defense, discusses whether switching to a 4-3 would bring more success and how each scheme would be implemented.

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Here's a transcript of today's show:

Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show where we check the pulse of Husker Nation. Brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the offseason. It's the doldrums. There's nothing exciting to talk about. Ehh, wrong, Carriker Chronicles always has something to talk about. Especially, when it comes to Husker football, Husker sports, the University of Nebraska and the great state of Nebraska.

Now, I've recently done quite a few shows on the Nebraska defense. If you missed it, go back and check it out. I talked to about how Nebraska needs to find a pass rusher. I interviewed Jason Peter. So, let's talk a little more defense, shall we?

Now, the reason I'm doing this particular show is because when I talked about Nebraska needing to find a pass rusher and a consistent pass rush, one of the most common questions I got in response was, "Adam, can we do that out of the 3-4 defense? Why don't we go back to the 4-3? Is the 4-3 better? Is the 3-4 better?"

Now here's my experience — and I've talked about some of this before, so stay with me, indulge me if you've heard it before, because obviously not everyone has because I got so many questions recently about the 3-4 defense. Now the 4-3, the 3-4, I don't think that one's better than the other. I legitimately don't.

You look at Alabama, they're a 3-4 team. You look at Nebraska in the 90's, 4-3. You look at Georgia, they're a 3-4 team. You look at the Giants, who beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, 4-3. You look at the Patriots, 3-4. You look at the Steelers, Ravens, you look at all these teams that have had success whether it be in the NFL, or whether it be in college. Wisconsin, 3-4. You look at all these teams, all right, 4-3, 3-4, it doesn't really matter.

All right, they're different schematically. There are vast differences between the two. Now, if we had a defensive coordinator who came here and ran the 3-3-5, we'd be like get out of Dodge. Now, I know Baylor is having success down in the Big 12, but that's the Big 12. They spread you out, they're not physical, it's pass — nobody plays defense — no disrespect to the Big 12. I mean, Nebraska, the year Suh threw Colt McCoy around the Big 12 Championship game, used him like a rag doll. Nebraska ran a 4-2-5. Again, the Big 12 Conference, throw the ball over the yard, run the ball every once in a while, not a lot of physicality. Oh, and what is defense?

Again, no disrespect to the Big 12, they're very, very good at what they do. 3-3-5, 4-2-5, not terrible for that conference. SEC, Big Ten, if you want to be a College Football Playoff contender, if you want to be playing in New Year's Six bowl games eventually down the road at some point, 3-4, 4-3, those are the two defenses you'll run in my humble opinion.

Now, there are different offensive schemes that I think are drastically different and are superior, or, not superior to other schemes. But, when it comes to the defense, the major difference between the 4-3 and the 3-4 isn't how good they are, it's about being really good at whatever it is that you like and whatever you choose to do.

Now, the 3-4. Here's the advantage to the 3-4: Everything looks the same. Nose guard is head-up the center. Two defensive ends are head up the tackles. It looks the exact same. Your outside linebackers are outside your widest man on the line of scrimmage, the two middle-backers, boom, are either in the A-gap, which is right next to the center, or they're in the B-gap, which is two gaps over from the center. Everything looks the same.

All right, and I've talked about this before, but again, not everyone has heard this. Everything can look the same and you can all of the sudden bring a ton of guys blitzing from this side. You can show blitz, and blitz from that side and it looks the same. You can zone blitz, man blitz. You can drop — you can drop into eight while you were showing a whole bunch of guys coming.

Now, in a 4-3, you've got a three-technique. You tilt. You're kind of showing your what you're doing, you kind of give your hand away. All right, there's advantages to each defense. In a three-technique, it means you're to the strong-side of the defense. The strength call, all right, the strong-side of the offense, where ever they line up in their formation in the B-gap, which is two gaps away from the center.

You can either have a six-technique, which is head-up to the strong-side of the call your defense to the tight end, or just outside the tight end you have a nine-technique. You have a big ol​' nose guard in the backside A-gap, the gap to the weak side of your defense right next to their center, and you've got your back side defensive end, who is usually going to be on that backside C-gap, three gaps away from the center.

So, the offense knows where the strength of your defense is, and they know if you're a strong-side blitzing team, a weak-side blitzing team, they can kind of tell where you're coming from, what you're doing.

But, the strength of the 4-3 is, you don't have to blitz as much. Now, having three guys on the line and four guys on the line seems a lot more different than it is. Because, in a 3-4, you've got to have big hog-mollies who can take on those double teams and don't get pushed around, because you've got one less guy up there, but, you can put more guys in the box and not show what you're doing, so you can actually be a better run-defensive team because you can bring more guys in the box and not give away your call.

In a 4-3, you've obviously got more guys up front, so you need faster guys, speedier guys, guys who can penetrate holes, but you kind of give away what you're doing a little bit. So, there's pluses, there's minuses. I like an attacking 4-3, I like a confusing 3-4. Whatever you're good at, whatever you believe in, whatever you're doing get really good at it.

To me, that's the difference between a successful defense. We're not running the 3-3-5, we're not running a 4-2-5, we're not running a 1-10 or a 10-1. It's a good scheme. All right, you've just got to get really really good at what you do. They've got to find a pass rusher, and for the love of all that's holy, we've got to tackle.

Now, if we're going to be successful in this 3-4, because you do have less D-linemen up there. While you can confuse the offense and the offensive linemen and the quarterback, you've got to be able to take on double teams, you've got to be able to hold at the point of attack and you've got to do that in the 4-3 as well.

But, just for numeric, obvious reasons, less guys on the line, those defensive linemen need to be more stout. In a 4-3, they've got to be more fast, penetrating, athletic, get-up-the-field-type guys.

It's semantics ladies and gentlemen. They're vastly different, but they can both be very good. We just have to get after the quarterback, be physical and tackle.

Go Big Red, and always remember to throw the bones!

Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.

Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, the people's show where we check the pulse of Husker nation. Brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the off-season, it's the dull drums, there's nothing exciting to talk about. Ehh, wrong, Carriker Chronicles always has something to talk about. Especially, when it comes to Husker football, Husker sports, the University of Nebraska and the great state of Nebraska.

 

Now, I've recently done quite a few shows on the Nebraska defense. If you missed it, go back and check it out. I talked to about how Nebraska needs to find a pass rusher, I interviewed Jason Peter. So, let's talk a little more defense, shall we?

 

Now, the reason I'm doing this particular show is because when I talked about Nebraska needing to find a pass-rusher, and a consistent pass rush, one of the most common questions I got in response was: Adam, can we do that out of the 3-4 defense? Why don't we go back to the 4-3? Is the 4-3 better? Is the 3-4 better?

 

Here's my experience -- and I've talked about some of this before, so stay with me, indulge me if you've heard it before, because obviously not everyone has because I got so many questions recently about the 3-4 defense --  The 4-3/the 3-4, I don't think one is better than the other. I legitimately don't. 

 

You look at Alabama, they're a 3-4 team. You look at Nebraska in the 90's, 4-3. You look at Georgia, they're a 3-4 team. You look at the Giants, who beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, 4-3. You look at the Patriots, 3-4. You look at the Steelers, Ravens, you look at all these teams that have had success whether it be in the NFL, or whether it be in college. Wisconsin, 3-4. You look at all these teams, all right, 4-3/3-4, it doesn't really matter.

 

They're different schematically, there are vast differences between the two. Now, if we had a Defensive Coordinator who came here and ran the 3-3-5, we'd be like, get out of Dodge. Now, I know Baylor is having success down in the Big 12, but that's the Big 12. They spread you out, they're not physical, it's pass -- nobody plays defense -- no disrespect to the Big 12. I mean, Nebraska, the year Suh threw Colt McCoy around, the Big 12 Championship game, he used him like a rag doll. Nebraska ran a 4-2-5. Again, the Big 12 Conference, throw the ball over the yard, run the ball every once in a while, not a lot of physicality. Oh, and what is defense?

 

Again, no disrespect to the Big 12, they're really good at what they do. 3-3-5, 4-2-5, not terrible for that conference. SEC, Big Ten, if you want to be a College Football Playoff contender, if you want to be playing in New Year's Six bowl games eventually down the road at some point, 3-4/4-3, those are the two defenses you'll run in my humble opinion.

 

Now, there are different offensive schemes that I think are drastically different and are superior, or, not superior to other schemes. But, when it comes to the defense, the major difference between the 4-3 and the 3-4 isn't how good they are, it's about being really good at whatever you like and whatever you choose to do.

 

Now, the 3-4. Here's the advantage to the 3-4: Everything looks the same. Nose guard is head-up the center, two defensive ends are head-up the tackles, it looks the exact same. Your outside linebackers are outside your widest man on the line of scrimmage, the two middle-backers, boom, are either in the A-gap, which is right next to the center, or they're in the B-gap, which is two gaps over from the center. Everything looks the same.

 

All right, and I've talked about this before, but again, not everyone has heard this. Everything can look the same and you can all of the sudden bring a ton of guys blitzing from this side. You can show blitz, and blitz from that side and it looks the same. You can zone blitz, man blitz, you can drop -- you can drop into eight while you were showing a whole bunch of guys coming. 

 

Now, in a 4-3, you've got a three-technique. You tilt. You're kind of showing your what you're doing, you kind of give your hand away. All right, there's advantages to each defense. In a three-technique, it means you're to the strong-side of the defense. The strength call, all right, the strong-side of the offense, where ever they line up in their formation in the B-gap, which is two gaps away from the center. 

 

You can either have a six-technique, which is head-up to the strong-side of the call your defense to the tight end, or just outside the tight end you have a nine-technique. You have a big ol​' nose guard in the backside A-gap, the gap to the weak side of your defense right next to their center, and you've got your back side defensive end, who is usually going to be on that backside C-gap, three gaps away from the center.

 

So, the offense knows where the strength of your defense is, and they know if you're a strong-side blitzing team, a weak-side blitzing team, they can kind of tell where you're coming from, what you're doing. 

 

But, the strength of the 4-3 is, you don't have to blitz as much. Now, having three guys on the line and four guys on the line seems a lot more different than it is. Because, in a 3-4, you've got to have big hog-mollies who can take on those double teams and don't get pushed around, because you've got one less guy up there, but, you can put more guys in the box and not show what you're doing, so you can actually be a better run-defensive team because you can bring more guys in the box and not give away your call.

 

In a 4-3, you've obviously got more guys up front, so you need faster guys, speedier guys, guys who can penetrate holes, but you kind of give away what you're doing a little bit. So, there's pluses, there's minuses. I like an attacking 4-3, I like a confusing 3-4. Whatever you're good at, whatever you believe in, whatever you're doing get really good at it.

 

To me, that's the difference between a successful defense. We're not running the 3-3-5, we're not running a 4-2-5, we're not running a 1-10 or a 10-1. It's a good scheme. All right, you've just got to get really really good at what you do. They've got to find a pass rusher, and for the love of all that's holy, we've got to tackle.

 

Now, if we're going to be successful in this 3-4, because you do have less d-linemen up there. While you can confuse the offense and the offensive linemen and the quarterback, you've got to be able to take on double teams, you've got to be able to hold at the point of attack and you've got to do that in the 4-3 as well.

 

But, just for numeric, obvious reasons, less guys on the line, those defensive linemen need to be more stout. In a 4-3, they've got to be more fast, penetrating, athletic, get-up-the-field-type guys.

 

It's semantics ladies and gentlemen. They're vastly different, but they can both be very good. We just have to get after the quarterback, be physical and tackle.

 

Go Big Red, and always remember... To throw the bones!

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Adam Carriker is a Husker Hall of Famer and NFL veteran. The former Blackshirt and Hastings native was NU's 2004 lifter of the year and in 2005 was NU's defensive MVP and a first-team All-Big 12 pick. He was a first-round pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

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