Wade's defensive philosophy: 3-4..........same look virtually every play (forced man)..........against every team ............just hand them your playbook.
O'Brien's defensive philosophy: 4-3..........mix it up...........multiple looks.........confuse them.
Here's a very telling look into our new coach's thoughts on defense from a piece taken from a may 2012 PennLive article:
He’s known for his offensive mind and specifically his work with quarterbacks. But that doesn’t mean Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about and working alongside defensive coordinator John Butler.
“I have a definitive defensive philosophy,” O’Brien said earlier this week. “I think No. 1 is we have to be able to stop the run.”
Minutes later he added: “You can’t just sit in one coverage in one front all day. You’re going to get abused.”
Butler, who is in his first season as coordinator after the departure of Ted Roof, worked with the defensive backs and special teams last season. Butler said several times since he was promoted this winter that the core principles of Penn State's defense won’t change. Sure there will be new wrinkles, ones fans couldn’t see in the final spring practice, but come September they’ll be there.
O’Brien, a former defensive end and linebacker at Brown who likes to say his coaching skills surpass his playing skills, said he saw defensive improvements at the conclusion of spring practice. He even shed some light on specifically what he wants tightened up by the time camp opens this August.
“We have to be a multiple defense,” O’Brien said. “I bring an offensive perspective to the team so the hardest defenses I’ve ever called plays against were defenses that were very multiple. They went from an even front to an odd front, from an overloaded front, to zone pressure. [They went] from a man blitz to dropping eight and rushing three.
“They kept it moving on the quarterbacks. That was big. Stopping the run and keeping the picture different is big for me.”
O’Brien’s in-season routine of watching tape of the opposing team’s offense on Sunday and Monday will remain the same. He’ll then discuss with Butler what he believes are four or five keys to the game and then O’Brien takes those same keys and stands in front of the entire team and relays the message.
Of course the final call on all game plans comes from O’Brien, but he said he operates knowing that he’s on the same page with the assistants he put in place.
“I don’t really look for a safety net,” O’Brien said. “I look more for this is what I believe in, this is why I’m hiring you or this is why I’m promoting you and making sure we believe in the same things.
“We had a productive spring being multiple. I thought we were tough to go against, gave the quarterback different pictures and I think John Butler is doing a very good job.”