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The Shafer Profile Part I

Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer hasn't been discussed nearly as much as OC Calvin Magee, mostly because Magee has always been by Rich Rodriguez's side, and it is a little more obvious to see what he has done in his career.

However, Shafer is an accomplished coordinator himself, known for an aggressive style that calls for blitzes frequently. In fact, Shafer's teams have led the nation in sacks on an occasion or two. Let's take a look at Shafer's years as defensive coordinator.

Northern Illinois
Category
Prev
2000
2001
2002
2003
Run D
190
60
66
38
47
Pass D
17
53
69
103
75
Total D
3
53
70
73
56
Pass Efficiency D
3
90
63
55
37
Scoring D
3
60
68
49
31

After a year as the secondary coach at Illinois (where he coached CB Kelvin Hayden into a second-round draft pick), Shafer returned to the defensive coordinator position, this time at Western Michigan.

Western Michigan
Category
Prev
2005
2006
Run D
108
56
6
Pass D
108
116
57
Total D
115
108
11
Pass Efficiency D
116
87
34
Scoring D
114
93
39
Sacks
-
23
1
Leading Sackers 2006
Player
Pos.
Sacks
Rank
Ameer Ismail
LB
17
1
Zach Davidson
DL
8
44
Matt Buskirk
LB
3.5
-
Nick Varcadipane
DL
2.5
-
Austin Pritchard
LB
2
-

It was at Western Michigan that Shafer worked the most magic. The Broncos improved in every relevant category in Shafer's very first year (the decline in total pass defense can be attributed to more attempts, as the Bronco's run defense was immediately upgraded), often by a very large margin. By his second year in Kalamazoo, Shafer's Western defense was #11 in all the land, despite giving up 39 points in their first game of the season (to Indiana). He turned Ameer Ismail, an OLB who wasn't even sniffed by the NFL, into the nation's leading sacker.

Stanford
Category
Prev
2007
Run D
117
77
Pass D
23
107
Total D
97
98
Pass Efficiency D
60
84
Scoring D
108
65
Sacks
111
11
Leading Sackers 2007
Player
Pos
Sacks
Rank
Clinton Snyder
LB
8
32
Pat Maynor
LB
6
58
Pannel Egboh
DL
6
78
Udeme Udofia
DL
4.5
142
Chike Amajoyi
LB
4.5
156

Stanford was another case of Shafer making an impact in year one. Of course, there is the marquee moment of the Cardinal's upset over USC (they were one of only 3 teams to hold the Trojans to under 24 points), but the team improved overall during the course of the season as well. The big improvement, once more, was in terms of pass sacks. Keep in mind that these improvements took place against teams with far more talent than Stanford (UCLA, Oregon, Notre Dame, Cal), and it's easy to see why people are excited about Shafer wearing the maize and blue. One thing to point out, however, is that his pass efficiency defense has always taken a step back in year one. With returning corners, but new safeties, it should be interesting to monitor how that goes. One would expect, with more pressure on the quarterback, that efficiency would go down.

For those questioning Shafer's "Michigan Man" credentials, there are a few pieces of evidence to the contrary. First, he was an assistant at Western Michigan for two years, and is familiar with the state dynamics. Secondly, there is a rather incredible story linking Shafer to Bo Schembechler since Scott's much younger days. It's a good read, and I recommend checking it out.

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“The Shafer Profile Part I”

  1. Blogger RJHOVE Says:

    add to shafer's michigan credentials a son that sang hail to the victors when he found out his father got the defensive coordinator job at michigan.