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by Gary Patterson, Defensive Coordinator University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico 1997 AFCA Summer Manual
In this day and age of college football, offenses have become very explosive and complex in the number of formations and plays used in a game. To combat this problem, defenses must have enough flexibility in their scheme to limit offenses in their play selection, but be simple enough to be good at what they do. During a game we must look like we do a lot, but only do enough to take away what offenses do best. This leads me to our philosophy of, “ Multiplicity but simplicity.” With every good idea, there has to be a sense of purpose to stand behind it. The purpose behind the 4-2 front, five spoke secondary is to give less-talented defensive units the flexibility to compete. There is no more helpless feeling than to play “ bend but don’ break” defense, have the opposition turn up the level of play and have no answer to it. The other thought t process is that the better the athlete we have, the more an offense must contend with our individual ability, plus the multiplicity of the scheme. We want offenses to guess what they should spend most of their time working on. Our job is to find out what their answer is and then use other phases of our package to cause new problems. At the University of New Mexico, we have five goals to playing great defense: 1. Out hit the opponent. 2. Stop the run. 3. Create takeaways. 4. Eliminate big plays. 5. Don’ flinch. t To accomplish these five goals, we use five basic principles within the 4-2-5 to give our players a chance to succeed: 1. Create offensive confusion at the line of scrimmage. 2. Play with great leverage. 3. Establish the eight man front. 4. Establish a pressure package. 5. The five spoke secondary.
Create Offensive Confusion at the Line of Scrimmage To create confusion at the line of scrimmage we must direct our energy at the pre-snap read. Offenses, as we all know, do a great job of exploiting weaknesses. As a defensive unit, we do not want to allow offenses this advantage if possible. For us, the 4-2 front, five spoke secondary gives us great disguise capabilities, plus movement from all 11 players independently. This movement all happens because the front and coverage before the snap can work separately from each other. The three safety system is the main reason all this can happen, because of the natural alignments in leverage positions, this allows the other eight players to move freely. The first answer offenses use to combat our movement disguise is to use the quick count. We feel this gives us an advantage because we are now playing the offensive coordinator not the quarterback. We also feel this limits the size of their game plan because we have taken away the audible possibilities at the line of scrimmage. The main coaching point needed to make all our movement possible is we must be able to carry out our assignments from where we end up. If not, you must first do your job!
If fewer players are needed to stop the run. but you must know what you are possibly giving up. 3. good things will happen. you have to have a great belief in what you do. We have one key phrase which sums up what leverage means to our players at the University of New Mexico. To make the system work properly. we must do a smart job of using the multiplicity part of the eight man front to our advantage.Play with Great Leverage Every good defensive team that I have ever watched play had one distinct characteristic about them. but as a staff we must free up as many secondary players as are needed to secure leverage and give run support. When we first became interested in the 4-2-5 defense. this tells everyone of our 11 players that no matter where they are on the field. nothing else matters. the reason we went to the eight man front is that we do not believe we will play with the same level of personnel as others do year in and year out. What this does is cause a net effect to surround ball carriers. Another way to present the theory behind playing great leverage is telling your players once the ball declares inside or outside of you. they played with great leverage. 2. . Great leverage tackling angles. Natural alignments to play assignment option football.” In basic terms. if they keep the ball inside and in front of them. If needed. These alignments are made possible by the three safety system. If you can’ do that. The reason for using the eight man front is that we believe you must stop the run first. it is important how we teach it. Both thoughts are still important rules to go by. The corners can just work on playing coverage. That phrase is: “ inside and in front. the first obvious characteristic was the natural leverage alignments. Establish the Eight Man Front To be great at anything. They have been taught to not get beat deep and be safe. 1. Remember. Establishing the eight man front 5. The first people on your defensive staff that must buy into stopping the run first are your defensive back coaches. with a corner coach and a safety coach teaching all three safeties. this will help us to achieve the goal of eliminating the big play. Great alignments to run to the football. The natural leverage of the 4-2-5 allows five points to give us a better chance to play great defense. We decided to divide the defensive secondary differently than other teams do. Great angles to help eliminate the big play. As a staff. The 4-2-5 front allows us the multiplicity to always try to have one t more player at the point of attack than the offense. What we have hung our hat on at the University of New Mexico is establishing the eight man front. we can play with nine players up. This split allows the safety coach to work on leverage as a priority along with coverage. never allow it to cross back across your face. 4.
athletic defensive unit. The simplicity of naming personnel (Mirrored players). The safeties’leverage allows us to stunt or slant any way we need to control the line of scrimmage. Coverage simplicity Mirror Alignment: Simple count system for the free safety versus the variety of formations we play against.The philosophy behind being able to play the run with only six in the box is that we want the ball to get pushed to the outside safeties. we can be consistent and successful. This thought process makes an offense account for all eight players on all run and pass plays. This is the only way. we would like to cause offenses to change from what they like to do best on game day. If possible. the better the athlete. Natural alignment positions. The possibility must exist that we can bring five to eight defensive players on any given down. The Five Spoke Secondary Who. we are able to move our front six around without risking leverage problems. This allows our disguise movement to be totally independent from four man coverage alignments. Our blitz package must be simple enough to handle all the different formations used in a game. We. Because of the fifth secondary player in our scheme. they all must move together. This principle alone sets up the disguise movement thought process that we need for multiplicity. 2. What we must do is find ways to bring t more players to create mismatches. we recruit is the first big reason we have changed to the five defensive back system. Establish a Pressure Package Establishing a pressure package may be the most important principle for us to accomplish within our philosophy. because of the leverage positions of the safeties. The easy alignment against two-back or no-back sets (seven off-the-line coverage players). but there are always certain personnel groups that cause four man secondaries disguise problems. As we have continually discussed throughout this article. This allows our linebackers to show in their gaps without worrying about being an overlap player. The second reason we like this system is for disguise purposes. can’ assume that we will line up with better athletes. The outside blitz position by our safeties makes offenses account for them on all run and pass plays. 3. Each player can basically work independently from the other four players. we can actually show blitz to one side and zone to the other side without losing continuity. because once one of their secondary players moves. Below are a few of the major reasons: 1. s There are many reasons that we like using the 4-2-5 scheme to blitz. Again. All coverage packages have their positives. we must be multiple enough to take advantage of an opponent’ weakness. the disguise factor is already built into the system. as a defense. year in and year out. Yet. Usually. We feel as a staff that the threat of the blitz to an offense is oftentimes worse than the blitz itself. The third reason is the natural leverage and blitz alignments that the three safety system gives us. the more pressure that can be applied. . This part of our package is designed to frustrate offenses and make them use their audible game plan. With the addition of the three safeties. this gives us the possibility of nine players playing the run against a two-back set. and how. By following this philosophy we end up with an overall faster. We believe that you recruit corners who might be safeties and better athletic safeties who grow into linebackers. This philosophy allows us to recruit a certain body type athlete. which gives us a chance to pinpoint speed as a priority. Many staffs do a great job with pressure within their schemes. we want to limit how much game plan they are putting in. With the five spoke secondary.
corners and David Bailiff. We start out with individual. We would also like to thank all those coaches s who. linebackers. Kasey Dunn. but must be a group effort. The reason there is better overlap teaching is the mirrored look of the safeties and linebackers. success would be impossible. Success can not be accomplished alone. Being good teachers and believing in each other as a staff helps in achieving this goal. . Without the wisdom of Coach Franchione and the abilities of our defensive staff: Mark Parks. the reason this is able to happen is the fifth safety. Again. through the years. have helped us grow in this profession. we would like to thank the AFCA for inviting us to contribute to this year’ Summer Manual. We believe this gives our coverage players a higher confidence level because they are only in charge of their half of the field! On behalf of Head Coach Dennis Franchione and the rest of the University of New Mexico football program. then we go to half zone and follow this up with full pass skeleton.The fourth and final reason for using the five defensive back system is the mirrored teaching in practice. just like we do in practice. defensive line. We break down teaching pass coverage like we have always taught run progression. The free safety allows us to be able to teach half the field coverage in a ball game.
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