description for our 30 package and its role in our defensive scheme. In order to completely explain this role, I need to give a brief description of the Aztec style of defense. The ever-evolving Aztec defen- sive package has received input from many assistant coaches, but the credit belongs to the knowledge and leadership of Claude Gilbert. Prior to Ted Tollner\u2019s arrival at San Diego State University, the Aztec defense was ranked 94th in the country and sev- enth in their conference. The Aztecs need- ed a personality change and Coach Gilbert brought in an attacking style that has been his trademark. This year, Claude Gilbert ended his distinguished football career and the defense finished 18th in the country and No. 1 in the Mountain We s t Conference.
When teams aggressively use slanting multiple 4-3 fronts, with safety and linebacker blitzes, a personality or style of defense is created. I am hesitant to name this style of defense, because the football world does not need another clich\u00e9, for example, the \u201cWe s t Coast Offense.\u201d The Aztecs are not the only team in America that uses these tactics as a base scheme. One thing that is for certain is that the offense is forced to adapt and pre- pare thoroughly for this style of defense. We know there are positives and negatives that this style of defense can create. Big plays and excitement are often created on both sides of the ball. The results we want to focus on are big plays by the defense that result in a loss of yardage and create absolute pass or draw situations.
When a defensive blitz creates a big play on a first down, what is a good call for the second down? Logic tells us if it worked the first time, call the blitz again. However, that is not always the smart answer. An obvious passing situation is created for the offense, so most defensive teams will turn to their con- ventional nickel package. A nickel package can be defined as a four-man rush with a defensive back substitution that allows more coverage and people on the field. The key- word is \u201cconventional\u201d in what most defensive teams do in a nickel package. Most off e n s i v e teams have a prepared passing attack against man and zone nickel packages. Most o ffensive teams have a standard running attack that can be easily applied to nickel fronts. We have success in our 30 package because it is so radically different from our base scheme and it is not a common four- man rush nickel scheme.
We turned to a three-man front and played a three-deep, five underneath cov- erage. This is certainly not a new concept to the football world, but it becomes extremely effective when used with an aggressive gambling blitz scheme. We found that using this patient type of pack- age threw off the tempo of the off e n s e and, more importantly, the timing of the quarterback. We also believe that this solves two perpetual problems of nickel packages: stopping the run (draw) and having enough corners to play nickel cov- erages. (Diagram 1)
The play of the defensive line is crucial to the success of the package. The front must relentlessly rush the quarterback with a bull rush mentality. The defensive line\u2019s goal is to collapse the pocket and prevent the quarterback from stepping up and hav- ing vision down the field. The ends are asked to make physical inside moves and stay in the throwing lanes of the quarter- back. The ends are to stay active in the face of the quarterback and not to be con- cerned with normal contain rush principles. There is usually a double team on two of the three rushers, so a wide escape type rush becomes counter-productive. This mentality alone is an extreme contradiction to blitzing teams. A scramble by the quar- terback must be to the sideline, which has an immediate benefit for the coverage. Now the coverage squeezes to the side of the scramble and less field is being utilized by the offense. This scramble action allows one of the underneath players (strong safe- ty or outside linebacker) to come off cover - age and tackle the quarterback. A defender can only come out of coverage if he is not threatened in his zone or if the quarterback has crossed the line of scrimmage.
The rush mentality and alignment of the ends makes them excellent players against the draw and inside run. They essentially become two-gap players on inside run, which is usually a foreign concept for slant- ing fronts. This becomes an effective rush
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