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.

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. ALIGNMENT vs 3x1 Versus trips the alignment is simple. The diagram below shows how the defense should cover these routes. . The backers should now slide toward the trips side.

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

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

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. this time reading the #4 WR. Again the #1 WR is discounted because the corner has him on an x-out. In the next part I will cover TE spread formations and 2-back sets. SUMMARY Again these are just some of the things you can do in split-safety coverage in the 4-2-5. the RB . the defense now has a 5 on 4 advantage.By bouncing the backer out. Some people argue that the backers should align in their gaps. The backers align in 30 techniques. the strong DE aligns in a 6. The rules are simple and allow you to leverage the formation and plays the offense is in a position to run. The TITE call puts the 3-tech towards the TE. 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. ie.

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

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

GOAL-LINE The last view diagrams are an example of how TCU aligned versus Clemson principals. I am showing it as a way of understanding how the particular positions are aligned.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. Versus the balanced front and the motion based nature of the flex-bone. this call a "scoot" adjustment. the free safety will declare the read-side upon motion. Everything else is the same as regular pro-I alignment. The strength in the diagram is arbitrarily to the left. .

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

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

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

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

comeback. The single side WR Stedman Bailey #3 does not have the most catches on the team. he leads the team in yards per reception.Personnel Finally the personnel is a cause for concern. He is aligned outside the #1 WR 7 yards deep. however. fade. yards receiving. 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). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he is doing it on big plays. His alignment opens up a large range of potential routes. . Calls like Solo or Mable would not be ideal for this situation. The alignment that stands out is the boundary side corner. In this particular play one player is the main concern. Bailey's alignment is a concern as well. He is in a position to run a quick out. 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). or anything else. and touchdown catches. This could be a disguise for any number of things. 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. which could mean anything. 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. This is considered typical for this formation. He is not likely to come down into a 1/2's concept. The secondary is showing a two shell. He appears to be getting ready to bail out.

throw him the ball (he actually still gets behind the double team).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. the QB would work his progression back to the trips side. then great. then he has a play that will exploit the likely coverages that a defense would run on first down. Upon seeing the double coverage. If they double cover him. If he gets Bailey one on one. . This is where Dana Holgerson's play call most clearly exploits the situation.

The H vertical route draws the Strong Safety's attention.If you look at the routes. He chooses to cover to the H (wise choice) and allows the z to come open on the post. so he must of had a plan for them. The defensive coordinator had to recognize the possibility of these play types. The corner cannot get into coverage of the H or Z because of his outside alignment. this play type can be effective versus most first down defensive calls. It really hurts Clemson's quarters concept. That is not a sound call on first down. 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. Many defense's use backers to play wall technique on the first route to .

If . and the offense showed run first.work towards the middle of the field. You can't blame the backers either. Special: Same problems that Clemson had. ball position. and personnel the defense will be influenced to do certain things. CONCLUSION This play shows how the defense can be manipulated on 1st down. but think about it. What other zone coverages could cover these routes effectively and keep the defense from covering Bailey 1 on 1? Besides pure zone quarters. the SS is in a tough situation. this forces QB's to throw high balls that give DB's time to break on it. Division I linebackers are taught to play run first especially in a 1st and 10 situation. Its first down. The play action draws the backers up and because of the coverage called the Z is able to get wide open. formation. none really without linebacker help I am not gonna draw them all up. The play action kept the backers from assisting in coverage. So where were the backers? Its was a first down situation. 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. I already discussed that this is a bad idea considering the other things the offense could do in this situation. Given the situation. unless you play a mable tech and drop the SS down.

West Virginia. There are certain considerations that need to be made when planning out a strategy for dealing with trips. Play Calls. 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. every play. This shows why Holgorsen has been successful Posted by aelephans at 5:33 PM 2 comments: Labels: Backer Reads. The defense cannot stop everything.DISGUISE AND SCHEME In this post I will focus on defending the trips side of a 3x1 formation. Brackets. October 6. defending 3x1 is much easier than defending 2x2 formations. .the offense understands what the defense will do. Strategy.Trips Coverage. 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. then they will be able to create big play opportunity. usually. Here is the good news. Quarters. Lets look at some different options you can run towards trips. 2011 DEFENDING TRIPS. Spread Offense. Zone Coverage Thursday.

Show the same look every-time and then stem to your coverage right before the snap. 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. A Pattern-match coverage with a safety poaching #3 (solo) 4. The first thing to consider is disguise. so I prefer to base my trips look out of that. 1. but I will discuss the 2nd because it will easier to explain. An X-out concept like Special 3. and in my opinion is easier to execute.1. the links provided offer that. I like running 2-Solo. . A Cover 3 concept. 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. Stemming and Moving around constantly every play to the extent that the offense does not know what you are in pre-snap 2. 2. Either approach can work.

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. .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. 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. This coverage is trying to get double coverage on 2 receivers using only 3 defenders. 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 might sound like a paradox but it really isn't. The under routes of #2 will be handled by either the corner of FS. The underneath routes of #1 are handled by the SS exclusively hence the trail technique.This is confusing for the quarterback and offers bracket coverage on both #2 and #1.

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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This should not be problem for the DOG blitz. the Weak Safety was in bad shape. you can see Gary Patterson pointing and yelling after the play was over. 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. 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. If you look at the highlights. Wisconsin used a 4 man slide to the right to pick up the TCU blitz. Like any good coach he was more concerned with correcting errors than celebrating one of the biggest defensive plays of his career. Lets look at the Wisconsin protection scheme.This left a receiver wide open . even if he did try to cover the #3 WR he was out of position to cover the particular route the receiver ran. because 5 .

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

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

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

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

all of 3 vertical. The flood route is as dangerous as one may think. the read side is always set to the wide side of the field when the ball is on a hash. This is nothing more than the simple "X-out" concept many loaded zone coverages employ. you could see some mismatches based on personnel. However. Away side: Corner: Man #1. 2 not vertical and out. LB: Strong hook. he MUST honor that release. LB: Man #2. particularly if your opponent is used to sending its receivers vertical. WS: Deep 1/2. with the SS still being in a great position to force the football from his normal alignment. The other issue is the WS's ability to get over the number three receiver when he is running vertical. but does take some work to perfect. . I would say this could be a recipe for some big gains. you can be caught in a pinch if you are not careful.Here are the individual rules: Read side: Corner: All of 1 vertical/Swing deep of 2 FS: All of 2 vertical. SS: Curl/Flat/Swing deep of 3. and if they pit him against your corner. The WS is put in a bind in that if the number three receiver goes vertical. the run support to the read side is very solid. 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). you must remember. Another tough issue. is when the vertical of three becomes a corner route. rob curl to post of 1. man 1. short wall 3. The away side is also a relatively simple assignment as well. Cons of Solo Coverage The weak side run support is the biggest issue I know of with Solo coverage. In the middle of the field though. Depending on how you declare receivers vertical. Also. Another con is flood routes to the read side. Another issue that arises is that most times the single receiver in a trips set is the best receiver of the bunch. There is some much needed seven-on-seven time with Solo coverage. leaving the force player late to the party on the away side. since kids have been playing man-to-man since they were first put on playgrounds. 2 not vertical and in. so there is not much room for the offense to maneuver to the single receiver side.

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

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

or if you on a hash. Bronco Bronco is a better option than Blue. In Solid you can run Solid Backer. All three are shown below. Solid Backer . but you do have a rough time defending the curl from blue coverage. Solid Smoke. I simply man the corner on the number one receiver and the WS will take all of number two vertical or out.Blue You can run blue coverage to this side as well. Bronco is played many ways. 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. or Solid Cobra. Solid Solid is the way to truly get 3x1 teams out of trips.

Solid Smoke Solid Cobra As you can see. . the defense is taking advantage of a three-on-two match up and attacking the offense with this match up. thereby keeping your opponent's quarterback (QB) guessing as to which player is responsible for what zone. 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. You can mix and match either having the safety over the top. or the corner. Pros of Special Coverage The top reason I like Special is the fact I can cover my opponents best receiver with two players.

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

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

or some sort of two-deep rotational coverage. Blitzing in the eight man front. Simplifying alignment in the eight man front.   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. 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. Now. introduce Rip/Liz Cover Three and you now have the best of . the FS is free to roam based on the QB's eyes. Robber. and in Cover One. The Free Safety's Role in MOFC Coverage The FS in most MOFC defenses has a tough job. However. especially if the coverage is cover one. and it's basically man. the reason being. 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. in Robber the FS is pattern reading. and Cover One are not too strenuous on the FS.

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

You can still run some Cover One if you need to and it's a great disguise for when you do. It does not hurt to mix in some Cover One however. 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. providing for a "soft edge". The biggest benefit I think is the protection of the seams. 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. but these are just the basics. Corners are still on an island (match up). which will keep the opposing coach guessing and off track when trying to call certain plays. 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. we can see. Force players can still be run off somewhat. What you can see here is you get a lot of bang for your buck with Rip/Liz. .   Rip/Liz-Cons Not as easy an install as "Country Cover Three" or Cover One. Sure he has to be able to move. 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). due to the pattern reading nature. So. and read on the run. and the fact that the FS doesn't have to be a guy that can cover a TON of ground. Whew! I know there are some more.

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

is some blitzes I used out of TCU's playbook. Bullets Away.TCU blitz scheme and after studying tons of 3-3 playbooks over the past few months. the balance affords simplicity in alignment. that despite us being a MOFC defense. The "six-in-the-box" concept keeps blitzing simple as well (both the 3-3 and 4-2. as well as some 4-3's keep this principle as well). 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. What I will show you. 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. my favorite! Smokes .

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

Deep 1/3. I think there are multiple reasons for doing so. 2 shallow and inside squeeze to the 3 dropper.#3 dropper. Run Support. all of 1 vertical OSS.Gary Patterson.#2 dropper. Sam "B"     Corners. In conclusion. cut all crossers. The 12th Man.Deep 1/3. will find blitzing is quite easy and not too terribly taxing either. 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. Don't forget to check my other blog. The rules for coverage are very simple. defensive backs.myriad of blitzes that can be run from a MOFC defense. TCU defense Thursday. defensive football. MOFC defense and succeed against today's spread attacks. Another "cheap" blitz from the 4 man front is the zone blitz sending one LB. 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. all of 3 vertical. Blitzes. 2012 Creating an Eight Man Front to Defend the Spread OffenseII . fire zone. 425. ILB. 3-3 defense. Whatever front you choose to run. FS. all of 2 vertical and out. with the number three dropper being the only one who really changes from the standard Rip/Liz coverage rules. June 14. Again. There you go! Very similar to standard Rip/Liz reads and assignments. Duece Posted by Duece at 4:27 PM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook Labels: 12th man blog. which is a time tested manner for being able to attack your opponent in multiple ways with very little teaching time. I think it is VERY possible to be a one-high. Cover 3. this is multiplicity through simplicity. and as usual you can follow me on Twitter @theduece02.

Now this isn't to say we were successful. however. that's no different than in any Quarters coverage scheme. is that the outside safeties (OSS's) must align in outside leverage on the number two receiver. In the eight man front. and that is that your force player is responsible for the vertical of the number two receiver. 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. with a one high safety look. but must also handle the vertical of #2 .The drink of all eight man front coaches! In the first post. In this post. Force Issues Rip/Liz cover three is a great adaptation to defending the spread offense. 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. the ideas that were learned through a season of innovation. 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. SS has a long way to go to force the ball. heavily laden with spread offenses. The other issue. which means they can be out leveraged to be able to engage in their role as the force player. but does have one drawback. This means that these players. But Duece. are worth sharing. must make their reads very quickly. these players are doing their job from an invert depth of five yards off the LOS.

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

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

. At first. This allowed the Mike to scrape to the play. the 46 Nickel was something that was born out of this. the Sam would always drop to the short side of the field if he got a high hat read. Teams really hurt us with a good running quarterback and running isolation and power run plays.yep. Coverage wise. the 46! Defending the Inside Run Now. 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. then the Sam dropped left and the Mike to the right. one presented itself via the Huey board in the form of an old defense. If the ball was in the MOF. and go to the opposite A gap if the center tried to cut him off. made popular by Buddy Ryan. but how I actually got in the 46 was very interesting. and Mike would drop to the wide side of the field. Desperately seeking a solution. as we once again saw a weakness in our match ups. 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. virtually unblocked. .to do with scheme.

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

As you can clearly see. A lot of folks would argue. Once this was installed teams really struggled to run on us. "Duece you are no longer really a 4-2 anymore!". zero. The only changes were that to the weak side or the short side. We did give up some passes across the middle. We could do this because of the wide DE's as we could use them to force now. The three.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. and we began mixing in some cover one. we just had to use some tricks to make things work better for us in areas where we did not match up . these defenders would play pure man to man defense. 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). On the strong side. to which I would say. 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. So the final outcome would look like the illustration below: Because of our athleticism at DE. we eventually went pure cover one for simplicity's sake. you can run the fire zone concept from this look quite easily.

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

Again. 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). This allowed us to play the short throws much like cover one would. 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 seams. the OSS would "sit down" and hang on the edge of the curl/flat zone boundary line looking for the slant or dig routes. we can see. the OSS would flatten his drop and look to get in the "window" of the quarterback's vision. and the curl flat divider and removed them from existence. but had to be done this way to combat some of the spacing concepts such as all hitches or all slants. OSS reads/reactions to number two vertical or out .corners. in a basic man-to-man concept. This allowed the OSS to maintain leverage on his run assignment of playing force. If the call was in. If the number two receiver went shallow and inside. Saban's adaptation has taken two of cover three's known weaknesses. If the call was out.

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

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

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

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