You scout an opponent’s defense to find out what it has done.
I suppose. But what you need to figure out is how a defense is coached, how it can be played against you.
To scout, you take everything you already know, then you watch tape
hour after hour. You hope that gradually their scheme will come into focus and you can begin to piece together a game plan.
As an example, you want to know how you can go through the top of their pass defense. You analyze how they coach the ‘lid.’ You watch the feet, the turns, the positions on receivers. If you are fortunate, you find a young player who is vulnerable if you go around him to his inside and then run on his toes; or, a leading backfield tackler who can be sucked up by a TE’s block and who won’t be close to a post route.
These examples are not of what defenses they have played in certain positions or situations. They are of specific ways to beat specific defenses. When you have the specifics, you do not want to take a 60 percent chance that your play will face the defense it will beat. You want a 100 percent chance that the play you practiced against a defense will be run against that defense.
Scouting? It is a whole lot more than naming defenses and listing when they have been played.
And here's a couple of bonus quotes from a discussion with Coach Smith from Crimson Confidential:
[Homer Smith] The spread offense today features the running QB. Defensive problems come from not having a tackler ready for the QB at the line of scrimmage. . . . As long as running QBs keep winning the jobs, the spread will be the formation of choice. Someone has to tackle the QB. If that someone is looking for a post pass, the QB is going to have running room.
[. . .]
[MLH] Who do you think is the best offensive mind in the NFL today?
[Homer Smith] I just don't know. I think the best minds are in college.