It’s All in the Name: Bowling Green’s Defensive Zone Blitz Package

Tim Beckman Defensive Coordinator Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio

n behalf of all the coaches’ sons in football, I would like to dedicate this Summer Manual article to the 37 years experience given to me by my father Dave Beckman. The years of football I have had as a son, player, and now a coach have been the most rewarding in life. My family cherishes the life of the Saturday afternoons. This is the greatest job out there. I also want to take this opportunity to thank our head football coach, Urban Meyer. His leadership, knowledge, and competitiveness created the biggest turnaround in Division I college football and a Top 30 ranking in the final CNN college football poll. A special thanks to the four coaches most responsible for our success as a defense last year: John Bowers (linebackers), D.J. Durkin (defensive ends), Tommy Thigpen (defensive backs), and Mike Ward (defensive tackles). Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank the 2001 Falcon football team for the most exciting year I have had as a college football coach. Three football seasons ago, my first as Division I defensive coordinator, we spent our offseason designing a new defensive package. After evaluating our upcoming personnel, the defensive staff felt that we needed to incorporate a defense that could be diverse but simple in process. The way we felt we could make it simple for our football players was to tell them everything they had to do with a term or name. After spending time with many different colleges and professional teams learning about their zone blitz packages, we came to the conclusion that this was the direction we needed to go for our defensive scheme. The plan was to incorporate our own zone blitz package and keep it as simple as we possibly could. Terminology became essential for learning everything necessary to run our package effectively. We honestly believed that every word involved in our scheme must have a certain meaning, and that words meaning would tell each player their responsibility for each individual play. Why Zone Blitz? There are many basic reasons for zone blitzing. We, as a defensive staff, felt it fit our personnel and personality that we wanted to have on defense. The belief to attack the offense with multiple looks and blitzes would be the key for our success in the Mid-American Conference. The advan tages to developing a zone blitz package in comparison to a man blitz package with


two linebackers blitzing are as follows: The deep middle is occupied in a three deep zone concept. (Help with inside deep routes.) We get eight men in the box vs two backs. We get the flexibility to blitz two or three linebackers and still play zone coverage The players enjoy being able to blitz and/or drop into coverage and this is our defensive personality. The zone blitz fit with our personnel, quick but not big; having young corners who would have inside help, and linebackers being great blitzers made the decision quite easy for us. After the decision was made to go with the zone blitz package, we then had to begin developing our Bowling Green Zone Blitz package. Terminology Need To develop a good blitz package, the defensive staff needed to incorporate words that had meaning and responsibility. The terms used had to mean more than just a name. When we developed the package we felt it necessary to signify the difference in blitz techniques and coverage responsibilities, in order to tell the players exactly what to do and the responsibilities for each zone. The following terms inform each player what type of blitzer they are, and if they are not blitzing, what responsibility the coverage players are asked to do against both the run and pass. Terms Key: A blitzer that reads flow of the backfield to determine blitz. Blow: Ablitzer that runs stunt automatically. Seam: Pass responsibility (Drop off No.2). Run responsibility (Force/Pitch). Fill: Pass responsibility (Drop off No. 3). Run responsibility (Dive to quarterback). Alley: Pass responsibility (Middle 1/3). Run responsibility (quarterback to pitch). Contain: Outside pass rushers responsibility to keep the quarterback inside the box. Each term was incorporated and taught to the defense before any blitz was diagramed or run. Naming the Zones Before naming each zone, we first started by naming each player on our defense. After the defensive players were named we could then call for any player to drop into one of the underneath zones. The under-

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •

The rule basically states that It has been my honor and priviledge to be a part of the 2002 Summer Manual. If full flow (both backs) is to him. The key blitzer is the linebacker that must read flow first before he can run his blitz. 3 receiver hook droppers. the coverage would be called Leo middle. The No. If full flow (both backs) is away or split. In all of our blitzes. We then named each underneath zone. “fire” was the weak side seam zone. the actual blitz was initiated. We could also drop the tackle and invert the free safety and call it tackle fire. The directional call we use is “seam right or left”. Communication from the safety to the seam player is essential. the blitz will be run in the Agap away Naming the Coverage Again after naming each player and the three underneath zones. The diagram below shows that we have dropped our Leo and inverted the strong safety to the middle zone. He is the first man through on all blitzes. 3 receivers. The seam zones consisted of a zone from four yards outside the hash to the offensive tackle. They can and will also expand with the routes run by the No. Diagram 2 if the No. 3 receivers. 2 receiver is expanded outside the box a directional call will be given to the seam player to that side by the safety. The blitz will always be coming opposite the key blitzer in the gap designated. from the key blitzer. we can create any coverage or drop by naming the defensive lineman designated to drop and the inverted zone to be covered by the safety. Thus. 2 receiver that the safety will now take over that seam responsibility and will now have the Fill and No. This call will tell the seam player to the side Diagram 5 Diagram 3 Diagram 6 Diagram 1 Naming the Blitz After teaching each player the terms necessary for our blitz package and the zones necessary for coverage. 2 and No. The key blitzer is always considered the second man through. All zones are usually about eight yards deep.neath three zones in our blitz package consisted of the two seam zones along with one middle zone. In these two cases. Adjustments to Formations We use a simple rule when facing different formations. 3 receiver hook zone is located from the tackle to tackle area. We named each blitz by using the terms key and blow for the blitzing techniques. It is also known through our scheme that the two defensive ends (Leo and End) will always be seam droppers and the two defensive tackles (nose and tackle) will always be No. 3 receiver hook zone. 3 receiver hook responsibility. of the expanded No. If our staff or I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to call. Diagram 7 Diagram 4 Diagram 8 This ability to drop any defensive lineman provides the coordinator flexibility to call any blitz and zone drop necessary. I hope all coaches are able to get something out of the Bowling Green’s defensive zone blitz package. the linebacker will not run the blitz. 2 and No. It is endless the type of zone blitzes that can be incorporated. The first name or initial in the blitz will is considered the key blitzer. In closing. we use names or initials to dictate which of the linebackers would be blitzing. The third significant letter in the blitz call will dictate where the blitz is coming. who again will always be the first name or initial in the blitz call. The second name or initial involved in the blitz call is the blow blitzer. The blow blitzer is the linebacker that will attack his gap of responsibility without reading flow. and “middle” was the name given for the No. I want to thank all the coaches and players that had significant contributions to the success we have had here at BGSU. After naming each player and underneath zone we could then establish the type of blitz we wanted to run because the coverage was already in place. the linebacker will then run his blitz. The underneath zones will expand and deepen based on formations and the locations of the No. “strong” was the name for the seam zone to the strength call. Best of luck this fall! • AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 • . the coordinator would then have to drop two defensive linemen into coverage. If all three linebackers were to be initiated in a blitz. This creates a multitude of blitzes through dropping any defensive lineman. I really believe in letting players play the game by telling them everything they must do to be successful each and every play.

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