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
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.

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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1 Comment so far

  1. 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.

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