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article on our Golden Bear defense. I would like to thank Tom Holmoe, our head football coach, for the opportunity to put together this defensive staff. Bill Dutton our defensive line coach, Randy Stewart our secondary coach and myself have coached the same defensive concepts together for about 15 coaching seasons. A great addi - tion to our staff this year was Al Simmons, who coaches our corners.
We feel our first priority must be to stop the run. If we cannot stop the run, we have no chance of winning. However, in our conference you may stop the run and still not win. We see a great number of passing formations and different types of passing games. If we can force the offense to pass, we can then get into one of our substitution packages that may help us defend against it.
We play about four or five defensive fronts and three coverages, though simple adjustments give the appearance that we play more than that. Our defensive fronts come from the 50 reduction concepts which we call eagle G or eagle shade. We match the fronts with a quarters concept in which we may play cover two on one side and quarters on the other. Our safety may play deep (eight to 10 yards) or up (tight to the line of scrimmage) to give us a nine- man front approach. We play an under front in passing situations and match that with a five, six or seven-man secondary scheme.
We are an eagle G and eagle shade cover eight quarters team. When we are trying to stop the run, the safeties may invert both sides to give us a nine-man front. We may also play quarters on one side and invert the other side to give us an eight-man front.
The top priority for our defensive line- men is to establish vertical thrust! That allows us to use some fronts that incorpo- rate line movement. Our defensive linemen have four techniques they can play, our linebackers have three techniques and our secondary has four techniques to choose from.
All of our defensive players have a run- pass eye progression. They must be able to explain, and execute each progression. All players have a pre-snap eye progres- sion, or a clue from the offense, that tells them which technique they may choose.
Key (Eye progression).
When we call an eagle front, we are telling our players to think run. When we call an under defense, we are telling them to think pass. Based on our pre-snap eye progression, our players must be able to play an eagle technique defense when we have called an under defense. They must have an understanding of the system to play eagle or under technique regardless of the call.Defensive Line Technique
Linebacker technique is based on the technique used by the defensive line. Depth off the ball is always based on what techniques are being executed in front of the linebackers. We base our width on the same concepts. Our pre-snap eye progres- sion can also determine our depth and width. Our linebackers read adjacent spac-
ing lineman to flow. We call that zone eyes. If we are reading a back, we call that man- eyes. The eye progression may change by back set, formation or splits.
The Sam linebacker plays on the tight end. The majority of the time he will read on the move (ROM). His eye progression starts with the tight end. His depth and width is based on formation and back set.
The safeties in our package play a tremendous role in our defense. We depend on them to be linebackers on one play and corners on another play. They play four techniques, which we call hard, heavy, shuffle and soft. These are based on their pre-snap eye progression, the for- mation, back set and split.
A heavy technique is one in which the safety stays in place. His keys tell him to play run like a linebacker or the pass (wide receiver) like a corner. With this technique, the safety does not know if it is a run or pass. His post-snap eye progression will tell him.
A hard technique is one in which the safety will take a one-two step and utilize a step-up technique. This is similar to a cover two corner. The safety has anticipated run by his pre-snap eye progression, back set, formation, or split. Once again, we are pro - grammed to stop the run.
The shuffle technique is a vertical shuf- fle, which occurs when the safety has read lite and he anticipates pass. As he goes into the vertical shuffle he follows his eye progression to the play. It could be run, but most often it is pass.
A soft technique is used in long yardage passing situations. The safety plays pass by down and distance or formation.
The safety must recognize the following blocks in order to be a factor in the run game. The base block is a downhill concept to him. The hook block is a playside fit to him. The down block is a playside fit. The cut-off is a backside, and he must fill the running lane or space as it shows. The crack block is a replacement by the safety. Once the safeties recognize these blocks, we take them through the pass sets they will see.
The general responsibilities for the safeties are: fit to pursuit, man on No. 2 vertical, push to No. 1, and back to the ball if No. 1 goes away. We coach these rules and try to make them as simple and con- sistent as possible. These are coached every day vs. the run blocking schemes that we see. The pass blocking and pass routes are coached in the same manner. These six pre-snap reads are drilled every down by both the corners and safeties.
6.Field position by yard line.
Our corners have less to do mentally but are put in a great deal of one-on-one coverage. They use two techniques. They play both the soft technique and the press technique. There are three varia- tions of press they use in conjunction with the safeties.
We ask the corners to be secondary leverage in run. They must be drilled in the crack block and crack pass. They must read three-step, and play man on the No. 1 receiver.
These alignments are simple and reasonable for our defensive players to learn. We do not want to give up a play, because we cannot align to the many different formations and motions we must play. We stress technique and eye progression more than schemes. We know that we are not going to fool any
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