Saturday, July 3, 2010

4-2-5 Alignments-Part I

QUICK NOTE
This is part 1 of a 2-part series on alignments. The alignments I will discuss are in no means things I would do every time. Doing the same thing every time to a particular formation is a recipe for disaster. The offense will be able to scheme you, because they will be able to predict what you are doing. Also, you will be in a position where the offense will predicate to you what you will be in defensively. So when looking at these alignments, consider them a solid base alignment that can and should be adjusted to keep the offense off balance. In this part, I will discuss alignments versus 10 personnel. Doubles and trips variations will be the focus. In part II I will cover spread sets that involve tight-ends and pro running formations.

BASIC PHILOSOPHY
The 4-2-5 Defense is very flexible to multiple formations. The fundamental thing to keep in mind when aligning to various formations is common sense. The quarters coverage concept is very self-adjusting and does not require too much movement. An important point is linebacker alignment versus 10 personnel spread formations. The idea behind alignment and coverages in this scheme, is to create an advantage where there is one more defender to each side of the formation (+1 Rule). If there are two WR's to a side, the defense wants to put 3 people in coverage to that side. The linebackers are the people for the most part that allow for this advantage to happen. As a rule of thumb, the linebackers should slide over to the side that is needed to create this advantage. This usually fits into two rules. 1. Versus a 2x2 formation the backers should slide towards the away-side of the coverage. 2. Versus a 3x1 formation the backers should slide towards the trips.

ALIGNMENT vs 2x2

Versus doubles in the middle of the field, the alignment is simple. If the call is 2-blue-solo. The read-side would be in cover 2 (robber) and the away side is in blue coverage. I will not go into the rules of these coverages, I have discussed this in a previous post. The linebackers slide toward the away side. In the above diagram, the read side is arbitrarily to the left, not because of the back. The read side could just as easily be set to the right. When the ball is in the middle of the field, other factors (devised by game-plan) dictate which side is the read side when the ball is in the middle of the field. A particular receiver, the quarterbacks preferred side to throw, and the opponents bench could all be factors that push one side to be the read side over the other. The time the back plays a role, is the option. If the team is able to run the option well, then the back is an important consideration. However, the offense can easily move the back to the other side and or stack the back behind the QB. This is why the back should not be a dominating factor when setting the read side. The backers slide to the away side in order to get the mike backer closer to his coverage responsibility and maintain effective positioning on the run. Also, the FS will be involved aggressively to the read side. This allows the backers to slide toward the away side. One problem with this coverage to the middle of the field is the soft cushion to the slot on the away side. If you sit in this look the offense will attack the away side heavily. The smash, All hitch, and other quick combinations are difficult to cover consistently from awayside blue coverage in the middle of the field. In short, the away side is susceptible to the quick game. Fortunately, there are a couple things that alleviate this problem. First, the ball is not in the middle of the field often. Usually the ball is on a hash. With ball on the hash, these problems are not as significant.

Blue coverage is much more sound on the hash. The rule for setting the read side in this situation is the field. Versus 2x2 on the hash the FS should set the read-side to the field side. Away side blue is better on the hash for two reasons. #1 The mike is in a better position to get under both WR's, and #2 the receivers do not have as much room to maneuver. The other thing that alleviates coverage problems when the ball is in the middle of the field, is the ability to mix in coverages to the away-side. The easiest adjustment to the away side is to get into man. Man coverage is designed to take away the quick passing game. If the offense has to guess whether or not the away side coverage is in blue or man, then they will have a harder time attacking you. They will have an even harder time if the WS and away corner do a good job stemming their looks. The backer does not need to stem coverage because his alignment is the same.

The backers do not have to change their alignments. The only thing that changes, is the the away-side backer (mike) is now responsible for forcing the ball and covering the pitch on

the option. Again this is not an adjustment that you do all the time. But mixing in blue and man to away-side, when the ball is in the middle of the field, is a solid strategy for dealing with 2x2 formations. Another important consideration versus 2x2 sets is the splits of the WR's. There are many different variations in their splits, too many to cover in this post. The important point is this: receivers usually alter their splits and alignments for particular reasons. If a slot receiver aligns closer to the core of the formation, he is usually leveraging an outside cut, conversely, if he aligns closer to the sideline, he is leveraging an inside cut. These variations must be accounted for. Here is a common example.

When the receivers get closer to one another, they are usually going to cross somehow. In this particular variation #1 has closed his split and # 2 has widened and deepened his. This is a common adjustment by the offense when the defense puts a defender in outside alignment on the slot. In robber coverage the SS aligns outside the #2 WR. However, versus this variation this would be a bad idea. The offense aligns like this to put the SS closer to the #1 WR. This allows the #1 WR to get around and inside the SS on a slant route easily. The FS will not be in a position to stop the completion. The play to expect here is a Bubble by #2 and a quick slant by #1. The adjustment in a quarters concept is to adjust the coverage to leverage the most likely route combination. Versus this variation the read side should check into blue coverage. This moves the SS inside the slot in a position to slice the #1 WR, in this case, the slant route.

The diagram below shows how the defense should cover these routes. Solo allows the read side to play cover 2 on the #1 and #2 WR The read backer and WS will be responsible for covering the #3 WR.If the offense does run the bubble slant combination the coverage will be able to play it perfectly. The base coverage adjustment to trips is to play SOLO coverage. . The backers should now slide toward the trips side. ALIGNMENT vs 3x1 Versus trips the alignment is simple.

because there is no one on that side to pick him up. and are not guaranteed to be there. Offenses think too! (For the most part. What this means is he cannot let #3 run a short crossing route. The read-side corner will man .The backers slide to create a 4 on 3 advantage. The read-side backer is responsible for the short wall of the #3 WR. Some of these variations will make x-out adjustments (like special) more effective. Versus displaced trips alignment should look like this. If he lets #3 get across the formation there is going to be a problem. Not all trips are created equal. The away backer and away corner are both in man coverage.) Different trips variations are common place in today's game. The WS is responsible for covering the deep vertical and post routes by the #3 WR.

3x2 or 4x1. If the offense runs a quads set. there are only two things they can give you. the SS and read-backer will banjo the in and out routes of #2 and #3. FS. You could also run a 3-way with the backers and SS. The FS will be in deep 1/2 to provide deep support. alignment should look like this. . aligning to empty is a simple process of following the rules.#1 (x-out). ALIGNMENT TO EMPTY BACKFIELD Empty backfields are not a major alignment problem either. Versus a 3x2. there is only one simple variation. The backers should stack behind their respective ends and read for the QB draw. Once they clear the draw they are on slice responsibility. This is not different. Because the offense has 4 WR's to a side. To him it is still just two WR's. The SS. To the read side the corner x-out's #1 so the read backer is slicing #2 and #3. The same split variation principals apply here as well. To the away-side the backer plays the same technique that he would play versus a 2x2 set. The away side can vary their coverage. Keeping with the idea of common sense and the +1 rule. a backer need to now get out of the box entirely to remain consistent with the +1 rule. If a team run an empty backfield. and read-backer are playing blue coverage on these WR's. In the above diagram I have shown man with the WS in 1/2's. This is the same technique he would be in versus any trips with an x-out adjustment being run.

the defense now has a 5 on 4 advantage. In the next part I will cover TE spread formations and 2-back sets. The mike is now the short wall player and the WS can run his solo technique. CALL: TITE-2 The front and secondary both declare the strength the same way in this alignment. this time reading the #4 WR. Again the #1 WR is discounted because the corner has him on an x-out. the RB . The TITE call puts the 3-tech towards the TE.By bouncing the backer out. The backers align in 30 techniques. the strong DE aligns in a 6. SUMMARY Again these are just some of the things you can do in split-safety coverage in the 4-2-5. 4-2-5 Alignments-Part II PRO-I SETS Alignments to the pro I is very straight forward and allows room for flexibility and imagination. In this part I will focus on base alignments with a few other options. Some people argue that the backers should align in their gaps. ie. The rules are simple and allow you to leverage the formation and plays the offense is in a position to run.

Also. If the crack occurred further from the LOS. the corner could not replace as quickly. By making a crack happen at the first level. Making the crack difficult is accomplished by this alignment for a couple reasons. The strong safety aligns 5-7 yards outside the TE and about a hard from the LOS. will get tired of the SS forcing the ball back inside. the crack will occur near the LOS. It is difficult to fake a first level crack and turn it into an effective go route. if he does attempt to crack block him. By attempting the crack at the first level. However. First. but he could just as easily be aligned in a 30. The AB is aligned in 10 in the diagram. the corner is free to replace the SS as the force man. The SS and FS align to the twin WR's just like they would versus the spread. So. The secondary calls "read-left" and sets the SS and FS in coverage to the left. the SS cocks his stance in and places himself perpendicular to the LOS.should be in a 10. The WS could just as easily be there. Teams like to run outside. it makes little difference. in the 30 alignment the RB can still defend his A-gap and is in a better position to play outside and off-tackle plays towards the TE. have a good angle to force the ball. the threat of the crack go is eliminated. This alignment allows him to get under routes by the #1 WR. VS TWINS CALL: TITE-25 Twins is a formation where the front and secondary call the front in opposite directions. The receiver cannot legally block him in the back. Second. they will attempt to crack him inside in order to get around the edge. his back is turned to the WR. The last reason needs further explanation. The alignment each year might be different depending on the type of . On the TE side the corner is shown close to the edge playing force. The WS aligns in a postion to force the edge to his side and play the cutback on plays toward the TE. because he has to respect the crack and go. and make it difficult for the WR to crack block him.

corners and WS you have. Versus the Full-back set strong . Below is a diagram of TCU from this past year aligning to twins.

Everything else is the same as regular pro-I alignment. GOAL-LINE The last view diagrams are an example of how TCU aligned versus Clemson principals. this call a "scoot" adjustment. Versus the balanced front and the motion based nature of the flex-bone. .Here the backs slide over and WS comes up into the nest. FLEXBONE Here the alignment follows the base rules. The particular scheme they employ is not really special to the 4-2-5. The strength in the diagram is arbitrarily to the left. I am showing it as a way of understanding how the particular positions are aligned. the free safety will declare the read-side upon motion.

The next diagram shows the formation after motion. There are two safeties to each side aligned on the edge and behind.A safety has replaced one of the corners on the right edge. The DT's are hard A-gap player. The corner in the middle is adjuster who moves with any motion by the backs. This allows the front to stay relatively focused on the play by leaving adjustments to the corner. . and the backers are cheated-up into their gaps.

Formation 4. . 2012 Exploiting Situations: West Virginia vs Clemson Dana Holgorsen has earned a reputation for himself by fielding offenses that light up the scoreboard and put up monster stats. He does it by creating explosive plays. Personnel The first factor is probably the biggest one on a football game meta-level. This play is an example of how the offense can create explosive plays by exploiting a weakness in the defense. The final 3 can be chunked together into one thing. The play that will be analyzed can be seen here: This play was created by exploiting 4 primary factors: 1. He doesn't do this by playing small ball. January 6. the West Virginia offense completed a 34 yard pass to a wide open receiver.Friday. Ball Position 3. Big plays happen when the offense exploits a weakness in the defense or a defender or two blow their assignment. picking up a few yards here and there. Situation (Down and Distance) 2. In the first quarter of the Orange Bowl.

This is why the running game is so important to the offense because it can keep the offense out of difficult third down situations. The way to do that is to limit gains on first down to 3 yards or less. FORMATION. This play occurred on first down. Because of this principal. Clemson would most likely be run conscious in this particular situation. The goal for the defense is to get the offense into a manageable 3rd down situation (3rd and 7 +). In order to do that they can't be overly worry about the big play. PERSONNEL These next three factors work together. BALL POSITION. It is in Clemson's best interest to keep the West Virginia offense from gaining more than 3 yards.EXPLOITING THE SITUATION In a previous post I covered down and distance strategy. This does not mean you allow the big play. "Run Conscious" meaning probably in a base front with zone coverage. Ball Position . but that you get defensive calls in that are more aggressive towards the run.

How does boundary trips effect the defensive thought process? First there is one WR with a ton of field to work with. Which side has priority? The trips or open side? One of the things some defenses factor in is the alignment of the back. Third. This is still a cause for concern. This makes you think twice about putting a corner one on one with him. Second there is more space to work with for outside running plays. Finally. . it is on or around the hash approximately 80% of the time. One of the few things that will keep a defense from calling its passing strength to the field is trips formations. Because of this the defense still needs to align properly to avoid getting out-flanked while being concerned (even more so) with weak-side (field side) runs or passes. option or stretch being the most probable in this situation. but does not call for concern like field trips does. the trips are into the boundary. but magnified to the open side. Modern defenses are even more concerned with ball position because opposing offense have become more creative in utilizing it. Boundary trips is in the back of the defensive coordinators mind. This is not a common occurrence for the defense. because if not properly aligned. Formation This brings us to our next factor. However. the offense can still out-flank the defense albeit with less space. in this particular formation this is no help. the constricted area that the 3 WR's have makes many trips side passing plays not likely. Holgorsen uses a trips formation on this play. Most defensive trips schemes are built on the premise that the offense is running trips towards the field. First. The defense has the classic trips problem. because he is aligned directly behind the QB.The ball is on the hash. When you combine the formation with the ball position a very particular set of circumstances need to be considered. the defense can be hit for a 5-10 yard running or passing play easily despite the lack of space. Defending trips involves a varied plan of attack in and of itself. The hash is such a concern that many defenses will call coverage strength to the field the majority of the time.

. The single side WR Stedman Bailey #3 does not have the most catches on the team. Putting it Together Factoring all things together it is probably in the defense's best interest to free the field side safety up and have him help on the run and with coverage on Bailey. or anything else. The secondary is showing a two shell. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he is doing it on big plays. THE PLAY Clemson's Defense They opted for a basic 4-2 front alignment and the backers are not overly cheated one way or the other. In this particular play one player is the main concern. He appears to be getting ready to bail out. which could mean anything. Calls like Solo or Mable would not be ideal for this situation. and touchdown catches. He is not likely to come down into a 1/2's concept.Personnel Finally the personnel is a cause for concern. This is considered typical for this formation. he leads the team in yards per reception. however. fade. He is aligned outside the #1 WR 7 yards deep. This could be a disguise for any number of things. comeback. Bailey's alignment is a concern as well. The alignment that stands out is the boundary side corner. They end up playing some type of 1/4's concept to the trips side with a 1/2's concept to the open side (could be a bracket). He is in a position to run a quick out. His alignment opens up a large range of potential routes. Plus if the corner was playing a 1/2 concept he would need the field side safety to cover #3 vertical or a backer( vs this play that would not have been a good idea either). yards receiving.

the QB would work his progression back to the trips side. .WEST VIRGINIA'S PLAY It appears that the QB might have been (don't know for sure) looking towards Bailey 1st on some type of Air-Raid "Choice" concept. Upon seeing the double coverage. This is where Dana Holgerson's play call most clearly exploits the situation. If they double cover him. throw him the ball (he actually still gets behind the double team). If he gets Bailey one on one. then great. then he has a play that will exploit the likely coverages that a defense would run on first down.

this play type can be effective versus most first down defensive calls. Many defense's use backers to play wall technique on the first route to . That is not a sound call on first down. The corner cannot get into coverage of the H or Z because of his outside alignment. The H vertical route draws the Strong Safety's attention. so he must of had a plan for them. He chooses to cover to the H (wise choice) and allows the z to come open on the post. The defensive coordinator had to recognize the possibility of these play types.If you look at the routes. It really hurts Clemson's quarters concept. The only thing the defense could have called to be solid versus these routes is a 1/4's bails (pure zone). He cannot play the post route by the Z because the H would be wide open. This play makes the corner irrelevant and forces the SS to make a decision.

ball position. 1/2's: Who is gonna cover the post? There is 3 vertical routes to stress the safeties. Cover 3: The H is gonna open on the seam with no-one to jam him. none really without linebacker help I am not gonna draw them all up. and personnel the defense will be influenced to do certain things. and the offense showed run first. The play action draws the backers up and because of the coverage called the Z is able to get wide open. So where were the backers? Its was a first down situation. Given the situation. this forces QB's to throw high balls that give DB's time to break on it. but think about it. If . Special: Same problems that Clemson had. CONCLUSION This play shows how the defense can be manipulated on 1st down. unless you play a mable tech and drop the SS down. I already discussed that this is a bad idea considering the other things the offense could do in this situation.work towards the middle of the field. formation. The play action kept the backers from assisting in coverage. What other zone coverages could cover these routes effectively and keep the defense from covering Bailey 1 on 1? Besides pure zone quarters. Its first down. the SS is in a tough situation. Division I linebackers are taught to play run first especially in a 1st and 10 situation. You can't blame the backers either.

The defenses that have trouble with 3x1 formations are usually defenses that prefer to play the game with balanced fronts/coverages (hence the discomfort with the overload that trips create) or don't understand that defending trips like anything else is a risk reward game. October 6.Trips Coverage. .DISGUISE AND SCHEME In this post I will focus on defending the trips side of a 3x1 formation. every play. West Virginia. Zone Coverage Thursday. Play Calls. Brackets.the offense understands what the defense will do. Lets look at some different options you can run towards trips. Strategy. usually. 2011 DEFENDING TRIPS. defending 3x1 is much easier than defending 2x2 formations. There are certain considerations that need to be made when planning out a strategy for dealing with trips. then they will be able to create big play opportunity. Here is the good news. Spread Offense. The defense cannot stop everything. The goal is to have the defense in the best position to defend the most likely range of plays the offense can run in a particular situation. This shows why Holgorsen has been successful Posted by aelephans at 5:33 PM 2 comments: Labels: Backer Reads. Quarters.

but I will discuss the 2nd because it will easier to explain.1. the links provided offer that. An X-out concept like Special 3. The Classic: Straight up Man or Man-Free Using these 4 options we can up with a plan for handling trips in a general strategy. Show the same look every-time and then stem to your coverage right before the snap. and in my opinion is easier to execute. DISGUISE Disguising coverage in football is done in 2 primary ways. I am not gonna get to much into the technique or scheme of each of these. 2. Either approach can work. so I prefer to base my trips look out of that. Stemming and Moving around constantly every play to the extent that the offense does not know what you are in pre-snap 2. The first thing to consider is disguise. 1. . A Cover 3 concept. A Pattern-match coverage with a safety poaching #3 (solo) 4. I like running 2-Solo.

From this look you can stem and work into the other looks without much difficulty. Lets look at the others. .

.Looking at these alignments it should be evident that there is not too much movement involved in the stemming of each.

but sufficient to illustrate the point. It is not complete nor detailed. man. WHEN TO CALL WHAT This comes down to game-planning. Since it is harder for the SS to align himself out of position.Again these are simple examples. show blitz. he can be the defenses most liberal person stemming. . ect. He can move around. Here is a simple list. The other disguise principal involves the movement of the SS. but even in their simplicity they can be difficult for the typical High School QB to read. The generic rule is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each coverage.

the defense wants to be in a coverage that best defends what the offense is trying to do. Coverage. then 3-Mable or 2-Solo are best. Posted by aelephans at 2:02 PM 3 comments: Labels: Cover 3. they need to be coordinated and planned. Finally. This post was a simplistic look at disguising and calling different coverages to trips. No matter what trips coverages the defense has in its package. If the defense is worried about middle and quick game. 2011 I'll be back! .Ideally. If the defense expects run toward the trips. if the single WR is a concern. then special bracket is optimal. then cover 1 is the best bet. Quarters. Trips Coverage Thursday. September 15. Man Coverage. If anyone has any questions about anything let me know in the comment section. The best way to protect each one is to mix them up and have a sound disguise for them.

Some of the topics will be *defending trips coverages. and should start getting some posts back up in the next week or two. strategy. and technique (disguise) By Request *Drills and Technique for coaching Safeties *Man Coverage If any of you have any suggestions please leave a comment. I am getting everything together. I have been in transition. it is a lot easier to write posts when someone gives me some ideas of what people are interested in. -Mike .Sorry guys for not keeping up with my posts.

The WS shifts to a tighter alignment (anywhere from 1x1 to 5x5.Posted by aelephans at 2:24 PM 1 comment: Thursday. it really depends on the player) angled in 45 degrees. This is just a base to work from that works the majority of the years. (You could put the corner in force . motion will have jumping and shifting all over the place. The away-side is where things change. He is the force player. and front align like they versus regular pro-I. March 10. The corner is aligned 4-6 yards behind the DE. If you want more detail on basic alignment. the ideal situation is to have it set towards the WR side. SS. However. nothing has changed. Finally the nose shifts to an inside shade on the guard versus the TE. These are not hard fast rules and techniques. These are not always ideal given the talent or distribution of your players. look at this post. you can't always count on that. The front can set the strength either way. The FS. I will look at run fits and alignments versus Double Tight I formations. The read side is normal. ALIGNMENT The call is TITE-2 SKY. 2011 Stopping the Power Running Offense with the 4-2-5 Part II: Double Tight I In this part. Corner.

He is essentially a player that has linebacker type run fits. You really have to get the corner confidence in this technique. you need him active into the run fit. with corner coverage responsibilities. the Defense will need to either have a player 2-gap or involve a secondary player in the run fit. and plays the cutback on runs way. then the corner should know that he is not needed in the run fit as much. However. You don't want the offense running the ball right at you. To remain sound versus this play. If he is out the WS will play him and the corner will gain depth. you could personnel another backer/safety into the game or just run cloud on the back side. He works inside out on runs to. with the corner over a nub TE running backwards worried about a TE beating him on deep ball. The corner is pass conscious but as soon as he gets his read he is into the run fit. Again. If pass shows he has him up and in. On run he is a fill player.alignment and stack the WS behind the DE. if its third and long and the offense is still in double tight I. and can play more pass conscious ISO STRONG Isolation plays create an EXTRA GAP. If you don't like your corners playing like this. find which player is best at this role. all you would need to tag is TITE-2 Cloud) The big change here is the play of the corner. You can't let the TE worry the corner too much. The corner has a flat foot read of the TE. This is where .

Carl Pelini mentioned the concept at clinic. Brophy wrote an article about Bo Pelini's defense. but you need to mix in some more conservative pass coverages to keep the offense from play-passing you to death. If the backers and D-line cannot stop the play themselves they should at least force the back to make a cut or two laterally. You should do it a good amount of the time. and letting the other backer and cutback player. In the diagram the Sam hits the fullback as close to LOS as possible. In this particular call. This is one way to treat run fits. A Side Note Do you play the secondary this aggressively every play? No. You are lucky to win those 70% of the time. If you allow the RB to get out of the hole and into open area at all. you corner/FS is stuck in an open field tackle situation. Getting a tackle made close to the LOS is a higher percentage play. To combat this his linebackers needed to change up the way they hit and leveraged fullbacks and other pullers. When defending the ISO an important thing to consider is how the backers leverage the fullback. The FS will work downhill and fill off the linebacker. Finally the SS and WS will fold and play reverse to late pursuit. and that they need to be aggressive run players. (If the backer cannot physically handle the fullback then cut him) The Mike will then fill off the Sam. or cutback in the corner. The FS and corner need to be aggressive about filling in the run. Either way you want the FS/corner making a play on the back as close to the LOS as possible. fill where needed. and specifically the lever/spill/lever concept. and the corner will work to cutback. COUNTER WEAK . the secondary should be alert to the game-plan. I have become a believer in the linebacker making good contact head up to across. He explained that offenses were getting better at scheming run-fits. You don't even do it every 1st down situation.the corner playing cutback comes into the picture.

So for simplicity I call these kick-seal plays. TOSS STRONG . When planning for these types of plays. they will tell you that the back side backer is the biggest problem for them. If the sealer works around the spill then the backer will need to fit up on him. Ask O-line coaches that run the counter about it. then the best thing for the Sam to do is work over the top. The back will have to change direction to try to cut up in the small hole between the kicker and sealer or continue to bounce at an angle that's vulnerable to pursuit. On the backside of the D. The PSDE will spill the ball (wrong arm the puller). Its hard for the offense to account for him. Hopefully. If this is done correctly the back will have to bounce the play a gap wider. I try to simply them down into a concept for my players. The corner will work off the back. In circumstances like this I like this backer to work behind the double team and make the play in the backfield. the SS works to play reverse to late pursuit. The Mike needs to attack the sealer close to spill and rip across him.) Many times kick-seal scheme are stopped by the back side linebacker running through. he does not need to go to the ground just work inside the kick man. If he bounces or takes the inside route the corner needs to fly in there and fill. The back-side backer needs to avoid the double team on the nose. This action will turn the lineman's body and cloud the running lane for the back. The backs vision is clouded by having the backer rip across and turn the corner on the seal man.These fits apply to the counter GT and power plays. and the FS will work and look for any cutback. the spill will deter the sealer and allow the backer to scrape off of the spilled kick player free to make the play. (If the double team pushes the nose lateral.

if he sees the DE work inside to the C. He works in this position until he sees the O-tackle release inside. The FS fills the alley inside out. It part III I will look at defending unbalanced and 3-back running formations. He needs to work to a position behind the DE. If the TE happens to work down and block the Sam. If any of you reading want me to look at some other formations and plays leave a comment and I will try to fit it in. CONCLUSION Again there are different ways to do things. The SS sets the edge at a good leverage angle and forces the back to cutback or bounce outside at an angle vulnerable to pursuit. Two players should be hitting the hole unblocked. The Sam has to be similarly alert to a full zone. When this happens he can become a c-gap player again. If the O-line works a full zone like the picture above he needs to push vertical on the TE and stay square on him. The play of the PSDE on the TE is key.The linemen can't get reached or put on the ground. nose and BSDE need to work laterally down the line. he needs to slowly work to the D-gap and let the backer worry about the back cutting back inside. If the defense executes these assignments there should be nowhere for the back to go. then the DE will be free to make play along with the FS. If the tackle keeps working with the TE on him. Posted by aelephans at 2:12 PM 6 comments: . The tackle. he works around him and the TE and fills. these are the way I like to play the power running game.

PRINCIPALS 1. I would say: -Be Aggressive about getting people to the point of attack.) -Don't let the back hit the hole running full speed. There are so many scenarios and play variations in football it would be impossible to cover them all. I am going to cover some principals and show alignments with run fits versus different schemes. big holes are going to open up. (ie 4-3 under looks) People new to the idea of using a 5 man secondary are skeptical. I will look at alignments and run fits/techniques versus double tight-I. You could try to squeeze or box pulling plays. In part II. It is important that you not only align soundly. 2. At times being smaller can put the D at a disadvantage. (Be willing to play the secondary on the run more aggressively. however. In the part(s) I will cover unbalanced formations and adjustments like "Flip" and getting the safeties on the LOS to form solid fronts. but align in a manner that the offense is not sure what you are doing. but if you run into a team stronger than you. Align Properly This is the most important aspect in defending any offense.Thursday. because it seems like it would be difficult to stop a power running team that uses bigger personnel. (Not sure how many yet. with proper game-planning and practice the 4-2-5 can become an excellent defense for stopping the power run. Having the DE's wrong-arm plays is a must. 3. you have to keep the ball moving laterally. If I had to break it down into separate parts. Attack the play before it develops. Understanding the principals and their applications to various formations in plays will put you on your way to using the 4-2-5 versus power running teams. 2011 Stopping the Power Running Offense with the 4-2-5 Part I: Principals This is part I in a multi-part series. There are many things that go into this.) In this part I will cover the basic principals to stopping the power running game with the 4-2-5. March 3. (This is why the spill and overlap concept . Spill and Overlap When using a defense based on smaller faster players.

To accomplish this. you want pressure on the offense on 2nd and 3rd down. Play to win the down and distance game The other principals are developed from this one. If they happen to get into a second and short situation they will be really happy. you have to be aggressive on 1st down. its not that simple. Most power running teams are not going to go for a pass or play pass on 1st down (unless they feel its high percentage). nor can they utilize their play-action passing game effectively. The offense has pressure to move the ball on second and long.Force the back to either dance or make a quick decision into a free defender. In this down they can't consistently rely upon their running plays to get the necessary yardage. The power running offense is predicated upon keeping the chains and clock moving.is a big part) . This is the down to be aggressive versus the run. They feel they can get 4 yards at will with this offense. they are comfortable running any of their base plays. . Before I get into the Down and Distance strategy for the defense. but that's the general idea. OK. The options they are usually left with are: 5-step passing. Power Running Strategy On first down the offense is happy getting 4 yards and into a second and medium situation. Simple by getting the offense to gain 2 yards or less on 1st and second down. That can be difficult versus many of these offenses. How is that accomplished. this is where they will use play action passes and other plays with big play potential mixed in with enough running plays to keep the defense off balanced. In short. because it makes 3rd and long a real possibility. Defensive Strategy The goal of the defense should be to get the power running offense into a 3rd and long situation. The general point is. again this is a down that the offense wants to avoid. draws. This will put the offense into second and long. These things are outside the comfort zone of their offense. Sprint out passing. I will first look at the strategy for the offense. The best thing the defense can do is get the offense to gain 2 or less yards on 1st down. 4. Second and short is the best down for the offense. If the offense ends up in 3rd and short. Because an incomplete pass immediately puts pressure on the offense. the power run offense tries to avoid 3rd long more than other offensive systems. You ideally want the offense to go 3 and out. They don't want to pass unless its high percentage. and a maybe a spread package. What they want to avoid at all costs is the dreaded 3rd and long. screens.

then they are gonna have to play more aggressive themselves. If they are down by 10 points or more. COVER BLACK I have already discussed this coverage previously. 5. Combination brackets are match style brackets.The goal of the 4-2-5 versus power running teams is to get them into a 3rd and long situation. 3rd. Philosophy. Play to get 3 and outs early in the game rather than later in the game. 1st. is the more aggressive man nature of combo-brackets. . they won't have enough plays run yet to be sure of their adjustments. This is especially true if you have a decent offense on your team. 2011 BRACKET COVERAGE PART III: Combination Brackets This is part III of the series on Bracket Coverage. January 23. they will be playing catch up with a ball-control based offense. In the next part we will look at the application of these principals by using alignments and techniques versus the double tight I. but it is the first and easiest combo bracket to understand. lets jump in a look at 3 different combination brackets. The difference between combo brackets and match-up zone. If you get them to go 3 and out on its first 2-3 drives. then you have put them in a bad position. I use the term combo brackets for these coverage because they usually involve bracket concepts combined with a man read concept. which is a big part of their scheme. they will not be controlling clock. You can read PartI and Part II to get caught up to speed. Posted by aelephans at 1:21 PM 5 comments: Labels: 4-2-5. while at the same time score 10 or more points. Running Game Sunday. At times the coverages can appear like quarters coverage after the pattern distribution. this usually leads to turnovers and even more mistakes because they are stuck doing something that they are not as comfortable doing as they are in the running game. Before I get to confusing about the whole process. 2nd.

The FS is in the read technique. The SS is playing out and up on #2 and the corner is playing out and up of #1. The Bracket concept becomes clear when the 1st inside cut of speed occurs.This coverage involves "cone"and "bracket"technique put together. This coverage is designed to stop routes that involved people breaking to the outside. Typical sprint out concepts have trouble versus this coverage. Specifically it can cover double out routes with no problem. For Example: . If the slot is the first cut. He is looking to cut and match the 1st inside cut of speed. the coverage works like "bracket" if the #1 WR is the first cut it plays like cone. The key to a coverage like this is to know what it is great against.

in/out and under/over. .MIX COVERAGE Mix coverage combines the two main bracket types.

The under routes of #2 will be handled by either the corner of FS. This might sound like a paradox but it really isn't. . This coverage is trying to get double coverage on 2 receivers using only 3 defenders. The underneath routes of #1 are handled by the SS exclusively hence the trail technique. In both cases the QB's throwing window will be an air ball towards a deep corner who will be in position to make a play on either WR.This is confusing for the quarterback and offers bracket coverage on both #2 and #1. If both #1 and #2 are vertical the FS will be pushing #2 towards him while the SS will force a high throw to the #1 WR.

If #2 breaks in you will have under/over coverage on #1 with the corner and SS: If #2 breaks out. the FS will play .

The major benefit to this coverage is that it can be disguised easily. If the #1 WR breaks off his route the SS will take him. and you will have the FS and corner playing #2 in and out. You can see this coverage is strong versus underneath routes.#1 over while the SS plays under. .

SQUEEZE COVERAGE Squeeze might be my favorite combo-bracket of all. Essentially playing deuce with a read on #1. Essentially "Cone" with a read on #2. then this should make sense. The corner is M/M out and up of #1 unless #2 works out. . The FS is looking to double the first up field route or split the difference between double verticals. This is simply a combo bracket that closely resembles a pattern read cover 2. This bracket squeezes both WR's and allows most vertical and interminably routes to be played effectively. I don't want to get redundant. The problem routes are those that involve both WR's working in or out. but if you understand the principals behind the other coverage I have discussed in this article. The SS is the inverse of the corner.

Coverage. playing the power running game from the 4-2-5. At the same time TCU was not in too bad a defense for the situation. Defense Monday. they managed to keep Wisconsin . but still came up short. power-lifting. The crazy thing about football is that Wisconsin had the right play at the right time. I am looking to do more work on split safety zone blitzes. January 3.I am sorry these posts are coming out later than expected. 2011 DOG BLITZES (TCU vs WISCONSIN) One of the most pivotal plays of the Rose Bowl was Tank Carder'stipped pass on the Wisconsin failed 2 point play. I want to write about stuff that people are interested in most. Off-season. Posted by aelephans at 4:38 PM 4 comments: Labels: Brackets. and standardized testing are in the full swing of things. and despite two major mistakes. and scheming empty formations. Is there anything anyone in particular is interested in reading about? Leave a comment if you have a suggestion.

The second "T" Refers to the side which the blitz will be run from. DOG BASICS The Dog package at TCU is a simple concept. Dogs is the type of blitz that is being run. the corners cover the most outside guys. The first "T" Refers to the way the 3 Technique will be set. Lets look at another example versus a 2x2 formation. and the "A" at the end is the gap the linebacker is assigned to run through. the FS has the Y. and the WS accounts for a 4th WR or another back. Man coverage is run behind it. Here you will see how the double strength calls are needed to get the defense coordinated properly. This is an easy example. The usual way to run it is to bring a safety and linebacker from the same side. This creates enormous pressure and will likely leave at least one person free. This is a pretty straight forward process. The man rules are easy: The FS covers the #2 WR to the side of the dog. this is also the TE side. 4 Guys are bringing pressure on one side of the offense.out of the end zone. the WS and Mike will work off on the backs and the right corner will cover #5. If you don't understand the jargon of the call here is a quick explanation. In this post I will examine TCU's DOG Package and analyze the Dog call on Wisconsin's two point conversion attempt. In the TCU system a "Dog" call is a combination of a "Bullet" (backer blitz) with a "Smoke" (Safety Blitz). "T" Means he will align towards the TE (Y). The Left Corner has the Z. The other linebacker accounts for a back. The Use of strength calls and blitz directions is crucial for the effective execution of the DOG package. . Lets look at some examples.

A Fire call is simply an alert to the D-End that he needs to take an inside rush on the offensive tackle if the tackle pass blocks. That is why the numbers are reversed in this example. FIRE TECHNIQUE The last important part of the Dog call is that D-End to the side of dog is on an Auto-Fire call. However. Here is an example. The TCU system can tag a Fire call onto a play even if it is not Dog blitz. The "S" tells the secondary that the blitz will be coming from the "Split" side which is the side away from the TE(Y). This allows the offensive tackle to get into a loselose situation that results in somebody coming free on the DOG. If it is a running play he just attacks the C-gap. the fire call is a must when a dog call is on.Everything should be straightforward except for the "S" in the call. .

(I am not sure if this is the exact wording that TCU used but it will suffice for the example. Wisconsin aligned in a TE trips formation.) From the offensive perspective.DOG CALL VS WISCONSIN Lets look at the Dog call that was used versus Wisconsin on the 2-point conversion attempt. . The call is F-Tag W-DogsB.

) . as the front uses Field/Boundary. Usually on Dog calls versus trips. A switch call looks like this. The "Tag" call is to the D-Tackle.Versus this formation the blitz and assignments woulds look like this. alerting him to slant into the A-Gap. and the "W" means "wide" as in run the Dog from the wide side of the field. TCU will elect to make a "switch" call and simplify the coverage via alignment. The "F" call sets the 3-tech to the field. (The secondary works off the wide/short concept.

it is not as good versus the run. Coverage Error The Weak Safety for TCU #9 Alex Ibiloye fails to cover the #3 wide receiver on the settleout route. this would not be the best way to run a Dog.) You can see this alignment and assignment is more sound versus the run then the "Switch" call would have been. . Given that Wisconsin was pounding TCU all night. TCU probably elected not to go with the switch call. (This is just speculation. (by keeping a linebacker in to play the weak-side run). One in the coverage. is that TCU makes two big mistakes on the execution of the blitz. Any cutback or run away from the Dog would score easily. the other on the actual pass rush.Versus a pass the "switch" call is much better because of the alignment of the safeties. because they wanted to remain stronger versus the run. However. What you will see in this play.

If you look at the highlights. the Weak Safety was in bad shape.This left a receiver wide open . Like any good coach he was more concerned with correcting errors than celebrating one of the biggest defensive plays of his career. even if he did try to cover the #3 WR he was out of position to cover the particular route the receiver ran. Lets look at the Wisconsin protection scheme. This should not be problem for the DOG blitz. Blitz Error The blitz error was more subtle and shows that the person who made the second best effort on this play (behind Tank Carder) was the right tackle #58 Ricky Wagner. because 5 . you can see Gary Patterson pointing and yelling after the play was over. Wisconsin used a 4 man slide to the right to pick up the TCU blitz. TCU has shown on blitzes that their players will stem to effective alignments regardless if it is safety or linebacker in coverage. Starting with alignment.

Here is the highlight of the play. Even though Wisconsin had the right play called and did a great job protecting it. someone should be free. It goes to show how good the Wisconsin offensive line is. Just looking at the side of the Dog. It was impressive. and then came off to block the SS #28 Colin Jones. I have not seen nor think I will ever see an O-Line coach expect one his linemen to block 2 guys like this. Wagner made a great play by pushing the D-End down to the ground preventing the end from cutting inside of him.men will be coming with only 4 to protect. it still . The breakdown happens here. (4 From the dog side plus the nose). Even if the Wisconsin center and guard pick up the D-Tackle and Sam Backer (which they did) the tackle should be in a lose-lose with the D-end and SS.

Its a tribute to them that even on a play with a couple of busted assignments. as we may have started a tradition! Stay tuned for more information. as well as what they are going to do by how you line up? This is a great concept. "We thought they were going to run." Carder said. The safeties were in hard flat-foot reads that ended up with tackles close to the LOS. TCU blitzed a lot in this game. but I could see it being something high school coaches could take and adapt to the smaller scale for varsity football. Anyhow. I don't know how much this trickles down to high school ball. in its infant stage that I believe will catch on as the collegiate game evolves. they can still find a way to make plays. The Dog Blitz is very effective and great versus the run and pass. The frogs played the run aggressive all night. Posting may drop off for a while as I might be an interim head coach. and they needed too. . which is really becoming the wave of the future. They showed that they are the #1 Defense in the Nation. if you missed it. I'm not looking forward to being the head man again. I got blocked so I stepped back and he [Tolzien] cocked his arm back and I jumped up and swatted it down. Coach [Gary] Patterson put me on the blitz. and not just by blitzing. then did what play-makers do. Brophy also has some great links to good videos and free stuff here as well. It was a big win for TCU and for the 4-2-5 defense in perhaps the biggest stage the defense had ever been on Haven't posted any links in a while. I think we might have some more. #28 Colin Jones and #3 Tejay Johnson each had 10 tackles. Wisconsin was pounding the ball better than anyone I have ever seen against TCU. As usual. so I thought I'd give out some good info. From ESPN Dallas Carder is quoted saying: "I was definitely on the blitz. Coach Hoover caught my ugly mug in an otherwise good video of OJW (from the Huey board) talking about the 4-2-5 and the flexibility the defense offers when defending today's offenses. I mean why not? Who says the offense has to dictate the tempo of the game. The top two tacklers from the game were safeties. make plays! He bats the pass down and essentially seals the win for TCU. I will have to wait and see on what the future holds." CONCLUSION This post was in no intended to downplay TCU and the game they played.comes down to play-makers. You can check out the video here. on to those links! Man. This video was from our FREE clinic back in early July. but to be honest. Tank Carder got blocked and saw the QB get ready to throw. Brophy has a good post on Check With Me Defense.

Chris..3% of the game out there. Not much on X's and O's. special teams are special! Oh. but definitely worth checking out. that is a must for any coach getting ready to start installing those ever important special teams! Remember. Anyhow.. and by the way. Many folks have moved or are moving to this concept of punt formation. if you haven't bought the book yet. The Essential Smart Football then please proceed to your nearest psychologist and have your head checked! Teach to Win is a cool blog I found when searching the Internet. so look for a post slowdown for a while. There never is enough information on the most important 33.Over at Smart Football there's a good article on Spread Punt Protection. Like I said earlier I'm working on some . but a lot on philosophy and coaching here. over at Smart Football has got a good post.special teams! Well. season is here. I plan on writing an article on an interesting punt formation I have used in the past. Haven't had a ton of time to look around on the site.

we must understand. but worth reading. Solo Solo. So let's take a look at what each coverage is. blogs. The 12th Man! A little off kilter.special teams stuff. and why each coverage is needed. the read side corner. but it probably won't be ready until after the start of the season. so I'm going to try and set the record straight with this post. Later dudes. Brophy. and I guess things are not making sense. . Coach Hoover. often referred to by old-school Quarters coverage guys as "Poach" is basically Blue (2 read) to the number one and number two receivers on a trips side. 3x2 and 4x1 offensive sets. strong safety (SS) and free safety (FS) will all play blue coverage to the number one and two receivers. Sorry. that everything is done for a reason. and the away side linebacker (LB) will take the running back in man coverage also. First off. special teams Tuesday. The weak side corner will cover the single receiver man-to-man. Also don't forget to check out my other blog. The number three receiver strong is handled by both the read side linebacker and the away side safety. I've just been too busy. links. In the TCU 4-2-5. 2012 Why Install Both Special and Solo Coverages? I get this question a lot from guys. and more opinionated than here. Duece Posted by Duece at 7:36 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook Labels: 12th man blog. Solo and Special Coverages are overloaded zones pushed to the passing strength to help with 3x1. 425. defensive football. July 10.

rob curl to post of 1. LB: Strong hook. since kids have been playing man-to-man since they were first put on playgrounds. the read side is always set to the wide side of the field when the ball is on a hash. Away side: Corner: Man #1.Here are the individual rules: Read side: Corner: All of 1 vertical/Swing deep of 2 FS: All of 2 vertical. There is some much needed seven-on-seven time with Solo coverage. you must remember. so there is not much room for the offense to maneuver to the single receiver side. The away side is also a relatively simple assignment as well. The other issue is the WS's ability to get over the number three receiver when he is running vertical. with the SS still being in a great position to force the football from his normal alignment. you could see some mismatches based on personnel. Depending on how you declare receivers vertical. I would say this could be a recipe for some big gains. . SS: Curl/Flat/Swing deep of 3. Cons of Solo Coverage The weak side run support is the biggest issue I know of with Solo coverage. Another tough issue. leaving the force player late to the party on the away side. but does take some work to perfect. the run support to the read side is very solid. all of 3 vertical. This is nothing more than the simple "X-out" concept many loaded zone coverages employ. The WS is put in a bind in that if the number three receiver goes vertical. 2 not vertical and in. Another issue that arises is that most times the single receiver in a trips set is the best receiver of the bunch. Pros of Solo Coverage Right off the bat you can see that the simplicity of the coverage is that the read side needs no new teaching (with the exception of the wall off technique by the read side linebacker). particularly if your opponent is used to sending its receivers vertical. Another con is flood routes to the read side. LB: Man #2. However. he MUST honor that release. 2 not vertical and out. you can be caught in a pinch if you are not careful. The flood route is as dangerous as one may think. In the middle of the field though. Also. and if they pit him against your corner. WS: Deep 1/2. is when the vertical of three becomes a corner route. man 1. short wall 3.

That's about as simple as you can put it really. that is also an "X-out" concept.Special What Solo isn't. Special is. however this time the manned receiver is on the read side instead of the away side. . Special is an excellent 3x1 coverage.

all of one vertical player with the away side LB playing the weak hook to curl.The individual rules are as follows: Read side: Corner: Man #1. Away side: Corner: Play call (can play sky/cloud. man 2. I like Sky coverage because it has safety run support. Cloud TCU would refer this as cover five.bronco etc). Sky Sky is simply the opposite of cloud for the WS and weak corner. and I prefer to have my safeties force instead of my corners. all of 4 vertical. . SS: All of 2 vertical. and has all of number two vertical. The WS then becomes the deep 1/2. 3 not vertical and out. In cloud. the corner is the flat player. You can do any of the following options. swing deep of 3. however in my system when the corner is the flat player. The away side has a ton of freedom. WS: Play call. 3 not vertical and in. LB: Strong hook. and is also the swing deep of two player. LB: Depends on call. FS: All of 3 vertical. then we simply tag it Cloud. rob curl to post of 2.

Bronco Bronco is a better option than Blue. or Solid Cobra. I simply man the corner on the number one receiver and the WS will take all of number two vertical or out. but you do have a rough time defending the curl from blue coverage. All three are shown below. because you can tighten the WS's alignment to assist in supporting the run. so I only recommend this if your opponent does not attack the curl area. In Solid you can run Solid Backer. Solid Smoke.Blue You can run blue coverage to this side as well. Bronco is played many ways. Solid Backer . or if you on a hash. Solid Solid is the way to truly get 3x1 teams out of trips.

You can mix and match either having the safety over the top. Solid coverage is one of my favorites because the offense does not expect this from a zone look on the backside of a 3x1 formation. the defense is taking advantage of a three-on-two match up and attacking the offense with this match up.Solid Smoke Solid Cobra As you can see. Pros of Special Coverage The top reason I like Special is the fact I can cover my opponents best receiver with two players. . thereby keeping your opponent's quarterback (QB) guessing as to which player is responsible for what zone. or the corner.

The FS and read side LB can alleviate this somewhat. however flood routes and away side runs did take their toll on my team. really shows why both are a compliment to each other. The cross-training of the SS as a corner also takes some work. The SS should be the force player. but can easily be influenced by the release of the number three receiver. Cons of Solo Coverage The cons most often come to the read side. I did not run much Special for fear of the complexity and did just fine. . looking at what both these coverages are and aren't. run support. is quite easy. and Solid does just this. The weak side run support in Special is much better than Solo because either the corner or WS has deep help to their side. but is not as tedious as many may thing. to combat the problems that are inherent to Solo coverage. but the run support to that side takes some work. Attacking the offense is what the defense should ALWAYS have in mind. this does add to the complexity of the coverage. The biggest reason to run both. The read side run support is tricky at best. However. This frees this player up to attack the line of scrimmage (LOS) on run looks. Conclusion So. I would have benefited from installing Special.The addition of Solid coverage on the away side is another great reason to play Special Solid. as well as helping to play the cutback on runs to the strong side.

However. Run Support. Blue Coverage. June 18. as it is an easier coverage install. Duece Posted by Duece at 11:53 PM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook Labels: 2 Read. 425. 2012 Creating an Eight Man Front to Defend the Spread Offense III . defensive football. TCU defense Monday.Yes. I do think.safety. you should have Special installed by your third game at the latest. and I recommend installing Solo first. Gary Patterson. both coverages take time to implement. Robber Coverage. and obviously the earlier the better. This is just my opinion. as the season rolls along.

I want to touch on a couple of the finer points of the eight man front such as: The Free Safety (FS) and his role in MOFC coverage in the eight man front. especially if the coverage is cover one. Now.   In the first post I touched on various ways that one-high (MOFC) coverages can be utilized in a sound manner to defend the spread offense. Robber. and in Cover One. the FS is free to roam based on the QB's eyes. Simplifying alignment in the eight man front. The second post touched on some adjustments you can make via the front and the coverage to attack certain things the offense is attempting to do. However. and Cover One are not too strenuous on the FS. and it's basically man. The Free Safety's Role in MOFC Coverage The FS in most MOFC defenses has a tough job. Blitzing in the eight man front. introduce Rip/Liz Cover Three and you now have the best of . or some sort of two-deep rotational coverage. in Robber the FS is pattern reading. the reason being.

Cover One-Cons  Run force-the force defender can be "run off" by a receiver he's supposed to cover man-to-man (although catch man alleviates some of this. you end up with the following: Rip/Liz-Pros Aligns to everything. Excellent MOF defense with a MOF safety deep and MOF underneath player (ROBOT). nevertheless worrisome). Cover Three-Pros Aligns to everything.  Not all 11 eyes on the football. which alleviates teaching time(multiplicity through simplicity). Very strong in the seams and curl areas because of the pattern read.   Force players not as apt to be run off by receivers.  FS has to have excellent range.both Cover Three and Cover One. Weak against flood routes. Weak in the curl. Good run support (dedicated force players at or near the LOS with a solid MOF alley player). Very simple to install (should be able to do this in one practice). having both a MOF deep player and a MOF shallow player (Rat-in-the-hole).  Works against most "Cover Three Beaters" and is hard for offense to distinguish between Cover Three and Cover One. FS doesn't need to be as Has the same run support structure as "Country Cover Three".  Provides a stable defense for the MOF. . Zone defense affords 11 eyes watching the football. By utilizing Saban's Cover Three.    Can keep same rules for zone blitzing (Number one and two droppers are identical in both Cover Three Rip/Liz and most three deep. whereas man defenders cannot always eye the football for the threat of being beaten in pass coverage..  Every offense in the country has several "Cover Three Beaters" installed in their offense day one (which means EVERYONE's seen it). With flat players funneling the number two receiver inside the hash. Corners are on an island in Cover One.shall we?  Cover One-Pros Aligns to and covers virtually everything with guaranteed MOF help.           Outside 1/3's vulnerable to match up issues. All 11 eyes are on the football at the snap. this is simple man-to-man defense here).     "rangy".  Simple. Let's look at the pros cons of each and then display them with Rip/Liz and see what we get.  Affords sending up to six defenders on a blitz if using peel coverage rules. Suspect to picks and rubs. it is still. Weak in the seams. No need to worry about picks and rubs (you're not in man-can run banjo schemes). or motion blitz if you'd like. as is any man-to-man defense. run with your man if he goes in motion (you can bump.. cover your man. three under zone blitz schemes). Cover Three. FS must have very good range.Cons Covers nothing. but again.

due to the pattern reading nature. Sure he has to be able to move. You can still run some Cover One if you need to and it's a great disguise for when you do. Corners are still on an island (match up). What you can see here is you get a lot of bang for your buck with Rip/Liz. which will keep the opposing coach guessing and off track when trying to call certain plays. but these are just the basics. Whew! I know there are some more. It does not hurt to mix in some Cover One however. . providing for a "soft edge". So. The FS can get a clearer read because the number two receiver is being pressed and thereby has to make his intentions pretty quickly (am I blocking or running a route) so the FS can get into his run/pass read quicker and is thereby a little better factor against the run than a traditional Cover Three FS. we can see. Force players can still be run off somewhat. and the fact that the FS doesn't have to be a guy that can cover a TON of ground. the addition of a pattern reading Cover Three is the top priority if you are an eight man front and you want to consistently defend what spread teams will do to attack you. The biggest benefit I think is the protection of the seams.   Rip/Liz-Cons Not as easy an install as "Country Cover Three" or Cover One. and read on the run. You also can zone blitz from the one-high look and don't have to afford any pre-snap rotation to give away what you are doing (which many QB's are being taught for what to look for pre-snap nowadays). but he doesn't need to be a Major Wright! The funneling of the number two receivers also helps the FS in the run game.

affords your players one less thought that must tumble through their testosterone laden minds during the course of a game. would be the weaker of the two.. the simplicity is that the Strong Safety (SS).FAST. Let's look at the alignment shown below and I'll explain. who is usually the better of the two overhang safeties always goes to the field. it's balanced with five defenders on each side of the ball and a MOF safety. is to take a page out of our split field concept brethern's playbook and play field and boundary. It may have just been me. The one trouble I always had though. The thing I recommend. I chose the 3-3 defense for it's simplicity. In most 3-3's I've seen. Blitzing in the Eight Man Front For years most folks new me as a Miami 4-3 guy. 5-3 or whatever eight man front you run out there. most coaches utilize right and left defenders which is super simple. The WS (B in the illustration). but having been introduced to the . and are probably your better football players whereas your lesser player play into the boundary and are on the left side of the illustration above. if you wanted to. was blitzing out of it. 4-2. This lack of thinking keeps these players comfortable and playing exactly how we want them to. and to this day I still love that defense.Simplifying Alignment in the Eight Man Front The eight man front is one of the easiest of all defenses to align. and would be set to the boundary. However. Putting your best players to the field is not a bad idea either. you can easily set your strength to the field and still be quite sound. The simplicity of aligning the eight man front. Again. The reason is. However. Here is how the 42-5 would align to the same look using field/boundary alignments. the defenders on the right side of the image are the strong side defenders.. but you can use the 4-4.

my favorite! Smokes . we were still able to execute. What this does is affords for less of a chance that a blitzer will have to widen with an adjustment and thereby be caught out of position on the snap of the football. the balance affords simplicity in alignment. What I will show you. is some blitzes I used out of TCU's playbook. The "six-in-the-box" concept keeps blitzing simple as well (both the 3-3 and 4-2. Again. so teams have trouble getting you out of your base alignment. I can see there is no simpler front to blitz from than the eight man front. as well as some 4-3's keep this principle as well).TCU blitz scheme and after studying tons of 3-3 playbooks over the past few months. Bullets Away. that despite us being a MOFC defense.

All the blitzes listed in TCU's playbook can be run with the same adjustments and calls that TCU uses.Strong/Wide Dog Weak/Short Dog Mob (cop) As you can see. quite simple really. the 3-3 defense has a . You don't have to limit yourself there either.

The rules for coverage are very simple. Sam "B"     Corners.Deep 1/3. FS. Hopefully you've been able to use this and can couple this with some other things I've posted on the site to have a very successful defense in the near future. MOFC defense and succeed against today's spread attacks. 2012 Creating an Eight Man Front to Defend the Spread OffenseII . June 14. The 12th Man.#3 dropper. and as usual you can follow me on Twitter @theduece02. all of 1 vertical OSS. with the number three dropper being the only one who really changes from the standard Rip/Liz coverage rules. 2 shallow and inside squeeze to the 3 dropper. Another "cheap" blitz from the 4 man front is the zone blitz sending one LB. Run Support. defensive backs. Again. from anything to poor match ups or solving tricky alignment problems to being able to bring pressure without having to roll coverage are just some of the numerous benefits you get from staying one-high. I think there are multiple reasons for doing so.Deep 1/3. this is multiplicity through simplicity. Whatever front you choose to run.Gary Patterson. There you go! Very similar to standard Rip/Liz reads and assignments. Cover 3. 425. all of 3 vertical. In conclusion. all of 2 vertical and out. defensive football. ILB. cut all crossers. TCU defense Thursday. Duece Posted by Duece at 4:27 PM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook Labels: 12th man blog. will find blitzing is quite easy and not too terribly taxing either.myriad of blitzes that can be run from a MOFC defense. Blitzes. I think it is VERY possible to be a one-high. fire zone.#2 dropper. 3-3 defense. which is a time tested manner for being able to attack your opponent in multiple ways with very little teaching time. Don't forget to check my other blog.

In this post. I think. I gave you a brief history on the defense my staff and I developed out of the 4-25 personnel to defend a schedule. Now this isn't to say we were successful. SS has a long way to go to force the ball. which means they can be out leveraged to be able to engage in their role as the force player. but must also handle the vertical of #2 . so what's the big deal??? The big deal is the Quarters coverage force player is doing this from a depth of eight to 12 yards. but does have one drawback. these players are doing their job from an invert depth of five yards off the LOS. I'm going to talk about our match up issues and what we did to alleviate these issues to help with being able to compete against vastly superior athletes. are worth sharing. that's no different than in any Quarters coverage scheme. In the eight man front. is that the outside safeties (OSS's) must align in outside leverage on the number two receiver. Force Issues Rip/Liz cover three is a great adaptation to defending the spread offense.The drink of all eight man front coaches! In the first post. The other issue. however. must make their reads very quickly. This means that these players. and that is that your force player is responsible for the vertical of the number two receiver. with a one high safety look. the ideas that were learned through a season of innovation. But Duece. heavily laden with spread offenses.

the Two-Gap/One-Gap scheme better known as TGOG. this meant the tackles were one gap players and the DE's were two gap players. and came up with two solutions.The way my staff and I handled this issue. was in a couple of ways. the first was to align the tackles in double 2I techniques. . This technique serves us well on inside runs that spill outside. We would set the three technique to the field. a topic that we've already talked about. and the ends in five techniques. I looked high and low. we were able to move our LB's out to a "hip" alignment stacked behind the DE's which allowed them to "fit" better on outside run plays. however. and we had to do something else. thereby having him come up field hard and "box in" the play. The first thing we did was not to change anything but the way our defensive line (DL) would play. Utilizing TGOG principles. the jet sweep killed it. so that the DE to the field side would be a one-gap player. By doing this.

It was not the outside run that hurt us as much as the inside run. Ok. utilizing the TGOG principle. Even if they lead the back. as those B gaps sure to look inviting. the idea was to alleviate the immediate pressure on the force player by putting the LB's in a position to support the C gap immediately. what the heck do you do with the inside run game. the LB will allow the WS (in the diagram above) to get his read. and we simply had the DE's play the two gap responsiblility and had the two tackles attack the A gaps in tandem based on our call. our defense against the run was less than successful that season. However. by making taking away any reads he has and forcing his "flow to" read to be an automatic C gap fit. makes things seem as though they aren't! Another thing we did to add confusion was the 3-3 stack front talked about earlier. the offense is not in a position to block this player very well. As you can see. come off any block that may occur and force. and it had little . Remember. I know.Now even though the LB is not the force player.

This allowed the Mike to scrape to the play. but how I actually got in the 46 was very interesting.yep. The strong side LB would walk down and stand over the nose while the weak side LB stacked behind as shown below: We did several things out of this. made popular by Buddy Ryan. Desperately seeking a solution. the 46! Defending the Inside Run Now. the 46 Nickel was something that was born out of this. then the Sam dropped left and the Mike to the right. and go to the opposite A gap if the center tried to cut him off. If the ball was in the MOF. .. Teams really hurt us with a good running quarterback and running isolation and power run plays. Coverage wise. the idea was to simply have the tackles align in three techniques and be one gap players as well as letting the DE's align in wide nine techniques and also play a one-gap technique. The first was have the Sam read the hat of the center. At first. one presented itself via the Huey board in the form of an old defense. virtually unblocked.. as we once again saw a weakness in our match ups. and Mike would drop to the wide side of the field.to do with scheme. the Sam would always drop to the short side of the field if he got a high hat read.

Sam rushed based on call (strong/weak/right/left). Another less expected result was to bring the Mike.The other great thing about this was we could rush the Sam. Mike responsible for A gap away from call . and drop the Sam. all the while playing a fire zone coverage behind it. play cover six (three deep three under fire zone) and have the Mike be the three dropper quite easily.

As you can clearly see.Bringing Mike and dropping Sam yielded some good results! The fire zone coverage was an easy install because relatively little changed for the underneath droppers. we just had to use some tricks to make things work better for us in areas where we did not match up . you can run the fire zone concept from this look quite easily. these defenders would play pure man to man defense. we eventually went pure cover one for simplicity's sake. three alignment freed up our LB's to play the run so much better because it eliminated the double teams that are present when you leave two gaps open instead of one. Once this was installed teams really struggled to run on us. So the final outcome would look like the illustration below: Because of our athleticism at DE. to which I would say. "Duece you are no longer really a 4-2 anymore!". A lot of folks would argue. On the strong side. no we are. or wide side of the defense we used fire zone principles with a true number two dropper (SS) and a number three dropper (Mike/Sam-whoever dropped). and we began mixing in some cover one. The three. We did give up some passes across the middle. zero. The only changes were that to the weak side or the short side. We could do this because of the wide DE's as we could use them to force now.

very well. I think this is the goal of any good coach, as the idea that you must "stick to the scheme" will eventually get you fired. Adaptation and teaching are what are traits of all good football coaches. This ability to "make the parts work" is essential in finding success. For us, the schemes shown above took a defense that was giving up an average of 450 yards per game of total offense and allowed us to reduce that number to around 240 yards per game. Still not great, but the schemes helped to stop the bleeding. I know, scheme isn't everything, but when you are teaching the players correctly, and their God given abilities are failing them, you have to try to find ways around these deficiencies to try and find success. These schemes did just that.

In the last post, I'm going to discuss the role of the free safety (FS) in making the eight man front successful against the spread. I hope you find these post insightful as you do your off season homework. Remember champions are not made overnight!

Duece Posted by Duece at 7:58 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook Labels: 3-3 defense, 425, Cover 3, defensive football, Fronts, TCU defense

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Creating an Eight Man Front to Defend the Spread Offense

Did someone say eight man front?

When I first went to the 4-2-5, my team struggled to grasp the concept, but it wasn't just the concept alone that hurt us. There are some glaring weaknesses in the "Pattersonian 4-2" that if you are "out-athleted", you simply are setting yourself up for failure. I will explain further, but after some miserable seven-onseven outings, I had to do something. Well, what I'm going to present you is what I came up with, and a bit of it was stolen from our 3-3 brethren, as well as from Brophy's blog on Nick Saban's adaptation of Cover 3 to the spread offense.

I was forced into the 4-2, because like a lot of coaches in struggling situations, we needed answers which correlated to wins. Now, this story doesn't have a happy ending, however, there are some excellent things to be learned from the trials and tribulations of ANY coach. So when the switch was made, things looked good on paper, then enter the seven-on-seven league we played in. Where we got hurt the most was in the curl area to the away side of the coverage. Blue is a great coverage, however to the away side, you are essentially giving up the curl, and if you play Bronco, you are giving up that out route to the

flat due to the leverage issue of the Weak Safety (WS). Well, after four disappointing games, and four weeks of not seeing any progress, I became enamored with finding a solution. I needed something simple and quick to install. Well, I found my answer on the pages of Cripes, Get Back to Fundamentals in the posts on Saban's Rip/Liz adaptation. So, the following Monday we installed Cover 3, and Mable, and went on to look a whole lot better in seven-on-seven. After losing our first four games, we ended up winning three out of the last four, to finish three and five for the summer. The kids liked the new coverage better and I just knew we were going to succeed. Well, enter the pre-season!

Prior to the start of the season, the goal was to keep the defense simple so the kids could play fast. Well, our base coverage to any 2 back set was Robber, and then if we got any one back set, we moved on Cover 3. Trips check would be Mable, and we were going to blitz empty if we got it (we only saw empty five times that year, even though we played seven spread teams). What I'm going to do in the following paragraphs is explain the coverages we used, and then go through the "rights" and "wrongs" that we did so you can see how we came to an end result which was an eight man front that was sound against the spread.

Robber
Robber coverage is nothing new, and since I was a Quarters guy, it fit with my mentality of pattern reading. Trouble is, we only faced two, two back teams that year, and both were at the end of the season. Sure, we saw some mix of some spread two back, but not much, so Robber was no the first coverage I taught. Now, the Robber I ran, was the typical Virginia Tech Robber scheme that so many people have become familiar with over the years. There's been so much written on the topic that for me to write more, would simply fall into the category of "white noise" as there is very little I can bring to the table on the subject that hasn't already been written about.

Cover Three
Cover three, has also been written about a lot, and most know, by now, the links to Brophy's site where he speaks about Saban's adaptation to this age old fundamental coverage. Most who really know me,

know I can't stand cover three. Anyhow, after reading the beautifully written pages of Brophy's blog I was hooked. Saban's cover three is everything you love about cover one, and everything you love about cover three, all rolled into one. I heard one person even comment to Brophy that Saban's cover three was much like a one-high version of Quarters. This comment really caught my attention, and got my wheels to spinning. I'm going to re-hash the rules for Saban's cover three, in case anyone missed them. For the corners, Rip/Liz (what Saban calls his adaptation), is basically like cover one with some zone principles. The corner's rule is he has all of the number one receiver vertical. If one is shallow and in or out, he zones off his deep third. Pretty standard, yet vague enough of a description to be dangerous. What I added to this to help our corners was to put in a depth of the route, and more specifically a time. If the corner was able to count to three after the snap and the receiver was still running vertical, then he locked on to him man to man (ala cover one). If the receiver had made a break before this, then the corner would zone off into his deep third. This gave the corner a feel for the three step game, since you can roughly count to three and be at the third step of the quarterback, and allowed the corner to anticipate whether he was getting a three or five step drop ( I can't tell you the last time I've seen a seven step drop in high school football). Anyhow, that was really the basis for the coverage for the corners. Now I did tweak one thing, that if the number one receiver broke off his route in a hitch or out, that the corner could cushion back and think smash and help play under the deep corner route. This technique helped our outside safeties (OSS) who were sometimes a little outmatched by the opponent's slot receiver. Ok, speaking of the OSS's, let's move on to their reads and techniques.

Corner reads

The OSS's rules for Rip/Liz were that they were to take the vertical and out by the number two receiver. Here I had to tweak the term "vertical" a bit more as well. What I found out worked for us, was that if the receiver took two steps up field, he was vertical. I know this is slightly different than the

the OSS would flatten his drop and look to get in the "window" of the quarterback's vision. This allowed us to play the short throws much like cover one would. then the OSS would break immediately to the flat based on the corners call of what the number one receiver had done (in or out). the seams. but had to be done this way to combat some of the spacing concepts such as all hitches or all slants. The OSS was to align in outside leverage so long as he did not cross the top of the numbers if the ball was in the MOF. the OSS would "sit down" and hang on the edge of the curl/flat zone boundary line looking for the slant or dig routes. This allowed the OSS to maintain leverage on his run assignment of playing force. in a basic man-to-man concept. If the number two receiver went shallow and inside. we can see.corners. If the call was in. OSS reads/reactions to number two vertical or out . Saban's adaptation has taken two of cover three's known weaknesses. and the curl flat divider and removed them from existence. Again. If the call was out.

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is a very sound way of playing any .The free safety had the very simple rule of playing the middle third of the field. What I liked about the coverage is it took a huge strain off the free safety playing those seam routes against four vertical teams. However. the Rip/Liz adaptation really helped. which was our case. Video Courtesy of our main man Brophy Mable Mable. like anything else. which I will speak of later. and this help immediately showed in seven-onseven. So. which is Saban's adaptation of cover three to defend trips. The free safety did not have to be such a good athlete as a typical MOF safety does. this adaptation had it's disadvantages too. in summary.

one weakness that stood out in seven-on-seven was that by pushing the linebacker to the trips. This concept was one of many I borrowed from the 3-3 Stack guys. Second. However. "Dogs over" adjustment to trips in the 3-3 stack . first it put our linebacker in man coverage in a situation with a better match up. and really was asking a tall order of one of my inside linebackers to do what his rules were. This did two things. which I aptly named "30 backer" (cover three strong and cover zero weak with weak backer force) put our three better athletes on our opponent's three receivers creating the match ups that we wanted. The rules are simple. by sliding the linebackers away.three by one set you may see. he was barely in the box. and utilizing our Two-Gap/One-Gap defensive line play. our linebacker against their running back (which was much better than our linebacker against their number three receiver). and it was simply to move the weak OSS over to the trips side and slide the linebackers one full shade to the weak side of the coverage. but my adaptation was shown below. in what a friend of mine (Outlaw Josey Wales on the Huey board) called "dogs over". this scheme. we were able to use this weak side linebacker as our force player. Thirdly.

The ability to play an eight man front against spread teams. you don't scrap the defense (although some would). that it does require some athletes at certain positions to run. and Brophy has detailed this quite a bit in his posts on Mable. The key to Mable is that the two underneath droppers (the strong and weak safeties) have got to get the number two or number three receiver on a different level if the offense is running four verticals. Saban's adaptations have made this possible."Dogs over" adjustment in the 4-2 Mable's reads are not that tough. Coverage Summary As you can see. I'm going to cut this one up into a few posts. these should be some informative posts to those who don't have the athletes to run some of the seven man front coverage schemes! . Much smaller than the standard TCUfare I've talked about in the past. and is nothing more than an overloaded zone pushed to the strong side with a man to man concept on the backside. I'm just saying. yes there are. and even though we worked the dickens out of it. and especially the spread option teams has been a huge victory for defenses around the country fighting to keep up with spread football. and I will talk about those in the next post. so hang in there. Fortunately for us. this concept still concerned me. we didn't see four verticals from trips. This is nothing new. If you don't have these athletes. I'm not knocking TCU. Sure. are there weaknesses. that is a very simple and small list of coverages. you make the defense fit what you have.