Film Room: Derek Mason's Defense 101
Bryan Harsin hired one of the hottest names of the coaching carousel to lead his Auburn defense. But what will it look like? It's not easy to define.
Let’s get something settled early: It’s important not to tie Derek Mason to a specific scheme.
That’s the tendency for any new coach hire, especially on defense. Is he a 4-3 coach or a 3-4 coach? When Bryan Harsin hired Mason to be Auburn’s new defensive coordinator last week, plenty of stories cited the 3-4. Even the program’s official press release announcing the move called Mason “the architect of Stanford’s vaunted 3-4 defense.”
But football isn’t the exact same sport that was played last year, much less when Mason was becoming a household defensive name on the West Coast. Offenses innovate. Styles change. Rules force adjustments. Even the concept of playing a 3-4 or a 4-3 as a base defense is woefully outdated. Having five defensive backs on the field at a time is the baseline minimum. Six or seven might become the new norm.
Yes, when Mason rose to prominence at Stanford and when he pulled double duty between head coaching and being his own defensive coordinato…