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Published by Sloan Boyer
basics of the 4-2-5
basics of the 4-2-5

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Published by: Sloan Boyer on Dec 18, 2012
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  • Solo
  • Special
  • Conclusion
  • The Free Safety's Role in MOFC Coverage
  • Simplifying Alignment in the Eight Man Front
  • Blitzing in the Eight Man Front
  • Force Issues
  • Defending the Inside Run
  • Robber
  • Cover Three
  • Mable
  • Coverage Summary

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4-2-5 Alignments-Part I

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.

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.


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.

ALIGNMENT vs 3x1 Versus trips the alignment is simple. The base coverage adjustment to trips is to play SOLO coverage. . The diagram below shows how the defense should cover these routes.If the offense does run the bubble slant combination the coverage will be able to play it perfectly. 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. The backers should now slide toward the trips side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and in my opinion is easier to execute. 1. . I am not gonna get to much into the technique or scheme of each of these. I like running 2-Solo. DISGUISE Disguising coverage in football is done in 2 primary ways. the links provided offer that. Stemming and Moving around constantly every play to the extent that the offense does not know what you are in pre-snap 2. An X-out concept like Special 3.1. 2. Either approach can work. A Cover 3 concept. so I prefer to base my trips look out of that. 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. but I will discuss the 2nd because it will easier to explain. The first thing to consider is disguise. A Pattern-match coverage with a safety poaching #3 (solo) 4.

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

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

ect. Here is a simple list. . 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. but sufficient to illustrate the point. It is not complete nor detailed. man. he can be the defenses most liberal person stemming. but even in their simplicity they can be difficult for the typical High School QB to read. The other disguise principal involves the movement of the SS. He can move around. The generic rule is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each coverage. show blitz.

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

and should start getting some posts back up in the next week or two. I am getting everything together.Sorry guys for not keeping up with my posts. 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. Some of the topics will be *defending trips coverages. I have been in transition. -Mike . strategy.

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

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

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

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. In circumstances like this I like this backer to work behind the double team and make the play in the backfield. Ask O-line coaches that run the counter about it. they will tell you that the back side backer is the biggest problem for them. The Mike needs to attack the sealer close to spill and rip across him. Hopefully. If he bounces or takes the inside route the corner needs to fly in there and fill. then the best thing for the Sam to do is work over the top. On the backside of the D. 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 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. The back-side backer needs to avoid the double team on the nose. If this is done correctly the back will have to bounce the play a gap wider. and the FS will work and look for any cutback. (If the double team pushes the nose lateral.) Many times kick-seal scheme are stopped by the back side linebacker running through. This action will turn the lineman's body and cloud the running lane for the back. TOSS STRONG . I try to simply them down into a concept for my players. When planning for these types of plays. The corner will work off the back.These fits apply to the counter GT and power plays. Its hard for the offense to account for him. the SS works to play reverse to late pursuit. So for simplicity I call these kick-seal plays. The backs vision is clouded by having the backer rip across and turn the corner on the seal man. The PSDE will spill the ball (wrong arm the puller).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 under routes of #2 will be handled by either the corner of FS. . 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. 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. 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 .

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

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

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

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

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. The "S" tells the secondary that the blitz will be coming from the "Split" side which is the side away from the TE(Y). 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.Everything should be straightforward except for the "S" in the call. the fire call is a must when a dog call is on. However. Here is an example. . 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. quite simple really. You don't have to limit yourself there either.

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

This means that these players.The drink of all eight man front coaches! In the first post. these players are doing their job from an invert depth of five yards off the LOS. that's no different than in any Quarters coverage scheme. but does have one drawback. The other issue. I gave you a brief history on the defense my staff and I developed out of the 4-25 personnel to defend a schedule. is that the outside safeties (OSS's) must align in outside leverage on the number two receiver. with a one high safety look. heavily laden with spread offenses. 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. 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. In this post. the ideas that were learned through a season of innovation. I think. but must also handle the vertical of #2 . 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. must make their reads very quickly. Force Issues Rip/Liz cover three is a great adaptation to defending the spread offense. But Duece. In the eight man front. and that is that your force player is responsible for the vertical of the number two receiver. however. Now this isn't to say we were successful.

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

Ok. Remember. 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. the offense is not in a position to block this player very well. come off any block that may occur and force. by making taking away any reads he has and forcing his "flow to" read to be an automatic C gap fit.Now even though the LB is not the force player. However. our defense against the run was less than successful that season. Even if they lead the back. I know. 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 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. utilizing the TGOG principle. as those B gaps sure to look inviting. It was not the outside run that hurt us as much as the inside run. what the heck do you do with the inside run game. and it had little . As you can see.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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