our head coach, Tom O\u2019Brien, our defensive coaches, Frank Spaziani (defen- sive coordinator), Bill McGovern (lineback- ers), Keith Willis (defensive line), and our players, it is a great pleasure to contribute to the 2001 AFCA Summer Manual.
When game-planning we spend a great deal of time analyzing offensive personnel groupings and down and distance situa- tions. We create a grid such that we study what types of plays our opponent will run out of particular personnel groupings on specific down and distances, and attempt to put ourselves in the best defense to combat what the numbers tell us our oppo- nent will do.
Like many of you, we number offensive personnel groupings based on the number of backs and tight ends on the field. Two backs and one tight end is 21 personnel. One back and one tight end is 11 person- nel, and so on.
With regard to down and distance, we set goals for particular down and distances. It is imperative that we win first down and 10. Nobody runs the ball against us on first and 10. Our goal is to allow two yards or less, and we aim to create negative yardage plays to get a team off schedule. The bottom line for us on third down is a win. We want to get off the field on third down by whatever means possible. We spend a lot of time in meetings and at prac- tice studying our third down package. Our goals are to win third and long 75 percent of the time, to win all third down situations 70 percent of the time, and to be three and out 40 percent of the time.
We base our nickel package out of what we call our tight front. \u201cTight\u201d tells the three and seven techniques to align to the tight end side, with our one and five techniques aligning opposite the tight declaration. Our secondary aligns itself in a two-deep shell with the field corner to the field and the boundary cor- ner to the boundary. Our strong safety aligns to the tight end while the free safe- ty aligns opposite the strong safety\u2019s declaration. Our nickel back aligns to the passing strength. The linebackers (Mike and Will) base out of three techniques at five yards deep with the Mike going to the declaration of the nickel. Pre-snap, it is our intent that the quarterback sees this look all of the time.
Our primary zone coverage is a two- deep five-under concept (Tight 2). Our safeties are deep half players, working 4-5 yards off the hash, playing everything downhill. We stress that they get a \u201chard read\u201d off the quarterback such that when his feet get set we hope to get our safeties\u2019 shoulders turned in the direction that his shoulders are turned, getting a great break on the ball. Our corners will jam or reroute the No. 1 receiver denying the outside release and reacting to the inside release. They will cushion under all corner routes and streaks while reacting to the flat or \u201cno cover\u201d zone based on a threat of the No. 2 receiver and the look or shoulder turn of the quarterback. Our Nickel and Will are #2 curl defenders working to 12-14 yards deep and two yards outside the hash. Our Mike is a No. 3 middle hook defender working to 12-14 yards deep stacked on No. 3. In some scenarios, Mike will carry No. 3 all the way down the middle of the field. It is imperative that our under coverage disrupt routes and throw off timing. By re-routing, we enable our four-man rush to get quality pressure on the quarterback, force trajecto- ry on throws, and allow our safeties the opportunity to play the ball or punish the receiver. (Diagrams 1A and 1B).
With our nickel personnel we will also play tight cover 1. Pre-snap, we will align in the same two-deep shell creating the illu- sion that we are in two-deep coverage with six defenders in the \u201cbox.\u201d As the quarter- back begins his cadence our strong safety will yo-yo to the outside shoulder of the
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?