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Bob Shoop Defensive Secondary Coach Boston College Chestnut Hill, Mass.
n behalf of Boston College football, our head coach, Tom O’Brien, our defensive coaches, Frank Spaziani (defensive coordinator), Bill McGovern (linebackers), Keith Willis (defensive line), and our players, it is a great pleasure to contribute to the 2001 AFCA Summer Manual. When game-planning we spend a great deal of time analyzing offensive personnel groupings and down and distance situations. We create a grid such that we study what types of plays our opponent will run out of particular personnel groupings on specific down and distances, and attempt to put ourselves in the best defense to combat what the numbers tell us our opponent will do. Like many of you, we number offensive personnel groupings based on the number of backs and tight ends on the field. Two backs and one tight end is 21 personnel. One back and one tight end is 11 personnel, and so on. With regard to down and distance, we set goals for particular down and distances. It is imperative that we win first down and 10. Nobody runs the ball against us on first and 10. Our goal is to allow two yards or less, and we aim to create negative yardage plays to get a team off schedule. The bottom line for us on third down is a win. We want to get off the field on third down by whatever means possible. We spend a lot of time in meetings and at practice studying our third down package. Our goals are to win third and long 75 percent of the time, to win all third down situations 70 percent of the time, and to be three and out 40 percent of the time. Boston College Nickel Package We base our nickel package out of what we call our tight front. “Tight” tells the three and seven techniques to align to the tight end side, with our one and five techniques aligning opposite the tight declaration. Our secondary aligns itself in a two-deep shell with the field corner to the field and the boundary corner to the boundary. Our strong safety aligns to the tight end while the free safety aligns opposite the strong safety’s declaration. Our nickel back aligns to the passing strength. The linebackers (Mike and Will) base out of three techniques at five yards deep with the Mike going to the declaration of the nickel. Pre-snap, it is our intent that the quarterback sees this look all of the time.
Tight Two Our primary zone coverage is a twodeep five-under concept (Tight 2). Our safeties are deep half players, working 4-5 yards off the hash, playing everything downhill. We stress that they get a “hard read” off the quarterback such that when his feet get set we hope to get our safeties’ shoulders turned in the direction that his shoulders are turned, getting a great break on the ball. Our corners will jam or reroute the No. 1 receiver denying the outside release and reacting to the inside release. They will cushion under all corner routes and streaks while reacting to the flat or “no cover” zone based on a threat of the No. 2 receiver and the look or shoulder turn of the quarterback. Our Nickel and Will are #2 curl defenders working to 12-14 yards deep and two yards outside the hash. Our Mike is a No. 3 middle hook defender working to 12-14 yards deep stacked on No. 3. In some scenarios, Mike will carry No. 3 all the way down the middle of the field. It is imperative that our under coverage disrupt routes and throw off timing. By re-routing, we enable our four-man rush to get quality pressure on the quarterback, force trajectory on throws, and allow our safeties the opportunity to play the ball or punish the receiver. (Diagrams 1A and 1B).
Diagram 1A: Tight 2 vs. 2x2
Diagram 1B: Tight 2 vs. 3x1
Tight One With our nickel personnel we will also play tight cover 1. Pre-snap, we will align in the same two-deep shell creating the illusion that we are in two-deep coverage with six defenders in the “box.” As the quarterback begins his cadence our strong safety will yo-yo to the outside shoulder of the
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2001 •
tight end at linebacker depth. (Diagrams 3A and 3B). We now have seven defenders for seven gaps. has help to the hole and the post (Diagrams 2A and 2B). taking the back manto-man versus pass. act as a maze player lending help on the hot throw keying the quarterback’s shoulder turn. we will align pre-snap in our Tight 2 shell. Play downhill. do not press. It has been an honor to represent our staff in writing this article for the Summer Manual. Our strong safety has the tight end man-toman from inside leverage and will get his key from that tight end filling the C gap funnel from inside-out on the run. please contact us. On run away. and playing the tight end man-to-man vs. Tight Charley 0 Our base pressure from our nickel pack- Diagram 2A: Tight 1 vs. Our corners have the No. expect the ball to be thrown quickly. and the Will in the weak B gap. 2x2 Diagram 2B: Tight 1 vs. We have now placed a seventh defender in the box vs. Our free safety yo-yo’s to the center of the formation and becomes an alley player vs. six potential blockers. too. that linebacker has him manto-man while the other linebacker works as the maze player cutting the most dangerous intermediate crossing threat by game plan. 1 receiver and the end man on the line of scrimmage. filling inside out Diagram 3B: Tight Charley 0 vs. 3x1 to the ball on any run. As the strong safety stems down. the strong safety has him man-to-man maintaining outside leverage and funneling him in to a maze defender and post player. As the quarterback begins his cadence our linebackers will prowl to a rocket alignment and contain blitz from the outside. As the linebackers prowl. 2 strong man-to-man from inside leverage and our corners have the No. the strong safety holds the D gap for cutback and bootleg. In this pressure. Our nickel back has No. 2 receiver man-to-man with leverage based on the receiver’s split in relation with the No. our safeties will work down to their man-to-man responsibilities. our Mike and Will slide weak such that the Mike aligns in the strong A gap. our three and seven techniques will execute a Tex stunt with the three technique getting upfield and the seven technique coming under to the A Gap. 2x2 age is Tight Charley 0. and drive the cut. we will be dominant and opportunistic on third down by stopping you and creating a turnover. the pass. and should the back block. Good luck to you in 2001! AFCA Official Corporate Partners The AFCA is proud to recognize and thank its Official Corporate Partners. 3x1 At Boston College. with the knowledge that he. Our strong safety keys the tight end such that should the tight end block. If the tight end releases. the run and a numbers-to-numbers player vs. Diagram 3A: Tight Charley 0 vs. Our free safety will stem down over the running back at linebacker depth. 1 receivers to their side man-to-man from inside leverage. To the tight side. Our Mike and Will are responsible for the runningback man-to-man in a two-way technique such that whichever way the back steps. If we can be of any assistance to you. he would force any run to him back inside. pass. 1 receiver man-to-man from inside leverage and our nickel player is responsible for the No. • AFCA Summer Manual — 2001 • .