William Inge tends to stick out at the University at Buffalo's spring football workouts. He's the one teaching and critiquing on almost every play. As the Bulls' new defensive coordinator it's his job to mold the players to his new system.
Inge faces one of the biggest challenges among the new coaching staff in trying to implement a new system. The Bulls are adjusting from a base 4-3 scheme to a multiple defense with a base 3-4 alignment.
"The transition has been good for the young men and there hasn't been much change because we're going to be a multiple attacking defense," Inge said. "When you can do those things, everything is fairly standard for the young men. They've done some of the exact same things, they've played some of the things, just maybe some of the names have changed. It's tough to say we're a 3-4 because we're a multiple defense."
The Bulls ran the 4-3 under Turner Gill the last four seasons. The last time they played a 3-4 was under Craig Cirbus in 2000. Jim Hofher started out in a 4-3 in 2001 then shifted to a 4-2-5 alignment the last seasons of his tenure at UB.
The 3-4 is all the rage in the NFL. With the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins employing the defense in 2010, the only team that doesn't use the 3-4 as its base is the Chicago Bears. College football's offensive toy is the spread offense, which utilizes short-to-intermediate passing. To try and slow down the spread, faster linebackers are needed to see patterns develop, so more use of the 3-4 could seep its way into the college ranks.
UB's defensive players have said they think the attacking style Inge has brought to the program can only help.
"I love it," said senior linebacker Justin Winters. "You can play fast and you can play aggressive. We have a lot of different things to confuse the quarterback. When you play consistent, aggressive and violent, you're going to get W's."
The attacking style is certainly different from the strategy used by defensive coordinator Fred Reed last season. That was more of a prevent set. Nevertheless, it should be noted the Bulls finished in the top half of the country in total defense in 2009.
Inge seems capable of the new responsibilities with which he has been entrusted because of a strong coaching and playing resume.
After coaching the University of Cincinnati's linebackers last year, Inge was hired by new coach Jeff Quinn to be UB's defensive coordinator soon after Quinn's arrival. Inge also has coached linebackers at San Diego State and the defensive line at Colorado. Inge started his coaching career at Northern Iowa where in four seasons he served as co-defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. He played linebacker for four seasons at Iowa from 1993-96.
The list of Inge's mentors include Northwestern defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, former South Florida defensive coordinator Joe Tresey and Iowa State secondary coach Bobby Elliott. All taught Inge the basics of a multiple defense.
"I've had the opportunity to experience competitive play, find ways to keep the points down and make offenses find ways to score," Inge said. "That's just through the daily regime of watching film and learning from other coaches and developing your players. You can run any scheme; as long as they know how to accomplish your task, you usually have a chance to be successful."