Huskies New DC Billy Crocker Brings a New Scheme
February 21, 2017
There will be a shift in philosophy on the defensive side of the football in 2017, as new defensive coordinator Billy Crocker will bring a 3-3-5 scheme with him from Villanova, where he has spent the previous twelve seasons of his coaching career. Crocker has had a lot of success with the Wildcats, but perhaps none more than what was seen in 2016, as 'Nova finished as the top ranked defense in both points allowed (15 PPG) and yards (259.8 YPG). The move to UConn was a no brainer for a number of reasons, as Crocker revealed during last week's 'Meet the Coaches' event at The Rent.
"Number one, I'm from the state of Connecticut, I'm a CT native," Crocker said. "Sort of coming home was a big part of that deal. You might say it's a no-brainer moving from Villanova to UConn, but I was at Villanova for a long period of time, it was a great situation, I was very comfortable there and I probably could have stayed there for a long time. My wife and I always said it was going to take something really, really special to get us to go and for me, this was it. Coming home, not just with anyone, Coach Edsall was a big part of that, a guy who has successful experience as a head coach and a successful experience here, that was a big part of us saying, 'let's take this shot.'"
Crocker was surprised when the call came from Edsall and he actually missed it, as he was putting his kids to bed.
"My wife was like, 'you better call him back' and we did," he explained. "We had a good conversation. I was on a plane the next day, interviewed the following day. It happened very fast."
Being involved in coaching since 2003, Crocker has had the chance to hone in on his approach of what works, passing along some values he believes in.
"One value that I've taken away, the things that I preach to my guys, I keep things very simple," he said. "I want guys that are going to come and work their butts off, guys that are going to compete and guys that are just going to go out and do their job. Defensively, more than anything, getting a group to work together is the biggest thing. All it takes is for one of us to screw up and things can be catastrophic. Offensively, a different story, they're going to punt or it's second down. For us, it's a touchdown. Bringing a group together, to play together is probably the most rewarding thing if we can get that done."
On the 3-3-5, Crocker was quick to explain the defense will be multiple and the scheme gives the team options.
"We are [bringing the 3-3-5 from 'Nova]," he said. "It's funny, people try to define that a little bit. That's the personnel more than it is the scheme. We will look a little 3-4ish at times, a little 3-3, we are pretty multiple in what we do, but again, I'm a big believer in trying to keep things fairly simple and getting our kids to play as fast as they can."
Is there an advantage to that scheme in this day-and-age of up-tempo, spread offenses?
"We've been able to adjust and line up to almost anything we are going to see," Crocker verified. "Yeah, it's been a big spread deal for us, as offenses try to spread you out, but now, more and more, teams are getting into the spread offense to run the ball. We need to be able to adjust, but we've seen plenty of under center run, have in the past and we can adjust to that."
After some evaluation on tape, it's clear that players have made impressions on the new staff, sparking some position changes, which have yet to be revealed.
"We are going to move some guys around that have done different things in the past," Crocker confirmed. "We've met with all those guys that maybe have a position change and they've been awesome. They seem like they are ready to work and they are excited to get this thing going."
Also seen on film is the talent the Huskies return.
"There is some talent here, especially in the older classes," Crocker said. "The senior class has some guys that I'm really excited to work with and then a lot of guys that actually redshirted, so there are some younger guys that we haven't really had a chance to see yet, but we've seen some workouts so far. We're excited to get through the film to the rest of the coaching staff and then start getting that on the field for spring practice."
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR