Align for Success Installing the Eight Man Blitz Package
David Bailiff Defensive Coordinator Southwest Texas State University San Marcos, Tex.
t was an honor to be asked by the AFCA to contribute to the 2000 Summer Manual. On behalf of our head coach Bob DeBesse, we appreciate the opportunity. I am very fortunate to coach with great professionals and dear friends Mike Hudson, Jim Dawson, Chad Glasgow and Robert Crivellari, who make up our defensive staff. The defensive package we installed is not mine. We have taken ideas from all of our stops and incorporated what we feel is a simple, but multiple package to combat the complexity of the offensive schemes we face. Our defensive meetings are lively, we have some guys with great personality and defensive minds. We tried in great detail when we started, to all be on the same page. We went through and examined each formation, blocking scheme, run and pass route, discussed field zone philosophy and then we established our Bobcat defensive language. It required new learning for all coaches, but streamlined the installation and meeting time for the defense. Utilizing the knowledge acquired from the staff’s different coaching stops, we established an extremely wordy defense. Each of the 11 defensive positions were given a name. Every alignment was given a name. We packaged blitzes by name with the alignment terminology within the blitz package. We believed that if we told the players where to align or where to blitz, each snap we would eliminate assignment and alignment confusion and give our players the confidence to play fast and furious. While we initially taught hard alignment rules, our defensive goal was to gain knowledge so our players could “align for success.” We will teach different alignments according to down and distance and offensive formations. Up front, we will play right or left side. We will not flip the defensive line as we want those guys to excel at playing one side of their body. We will flip the linebackers; the Sam will be to the call or Eagle side and the Mike will be to the away or Bubble side. Our secondary will align to the passing strength. The strong safety will always go to the tight end side or to the field in a balanced formation and the Kat will go to the open side. The free safety will set the strength and the safety away and put us in the best coverage according to down and distance and offensive formation.
Diagram 1: Tite 4 Check vs. I
Diagram 2: Tite 4 Check vs. Near
Tite 4 Check- Two Back Alignments
Diagram 3: Tite 4 Check
Diagram 4: Tite 4 Check
Tite 4 Check- One Back Alignments • Tite linebacker will make a “right or left” call to the run strength. • Four Check, the free safety will make a “Linda or Rhonda” call to the passing strength. At the beginning of our installation, each defensive position had a list of vocabulary words they had to learn. Each of these words were unique and “hot” to their position. The player must listen in the huddle for a hot word that will change their alignment or assignment. If a player does not hear a hot word, they will play their base technique. Blitz Package Along with the wordy alignment and
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2000 •
Tite Split Field Boundary Under Take Tank Army Silver Cop Drop Void Fire Blast Loose Twist
Tite Split Field Boundary G Go Outlaw Aim Toro Tank Pinch Okie Tex Ex Fist Loose Twist Over Stab
Tite Split Field Boundary Double Stack Sam Mike Bullets Bobcat Dog Glue Bang Coyote
Solid Smoke Cross Bobcat Waco Cut Kong Blast Dog Coyote OT Rob Roll
Waco Bail Press Coyote Cut Kong Sky OT Cloud Rob Roll
using wide and short, these will give us a blitz from the field or boundary. If we want to bring the safety from the tight end side, our call will be “strong smoke.” A safety blitz from the open side is called “kat smoke.” We will bring both safeties off the edge with a double smoke call. If we want to slant the line and bring a smoke at the same time, we may call “boundary army short smoke.”
Diagram 10: Tite Strong Smoke 4 Check
Diagram 5: Tite Outlaw 4 Check
want the threat of the blitz to be something an offense must prepare for. Bullets If we blitz one linebacker, our huddle call will be Sam A or B or Mike A or B. The “A or B” tells the linebacker which gap to blitz and alerts the defensive line of any gap exchange. If we blitz both linebackers, we call it “bullets.”
Diagram 6: Tite Fist Blast 4 Check
Diagram 8: Tite Sam B 4 Check
Cross Cross is another safety blitz. A cross blitz is simply a gap exchange between the safety and the defensive end to that side. The safety will blitz the B gap. His key will be the offensive tackle. If the tackle zones at him, he will immediately take his eyes to the adjacent guard. If the guard is also zoning, he will get up the field in the B gap. He will come under any fan block by the offensive tackle. If the safety is getting zone away, we want him to run flat at the heel line of the offense line and be there to make the play when the ball is pulled up or when the running back cuts back. We still may run wide, short, strong and kat crosses. We want the cross blitz to be a little slower, as this will open up the gap and define the hole for the blitzing safety.
Diagram 7: Split Solid 4 Check
Diagram 9: Tite Bullets A O Silver
Diagram 11: Cross vs. Zone To
assignment calls, we have developed our blitz package using the same thought process. Each blitz has its own name for immediate huddle and formation recognition. We are going to pin our ears back and blitz. We want to keep an offense guessing and off balance, at times we will “show” and not blitz and other times we will bring a blitz from depth. We want the element of surprise on our side and we
• Tite aligns the front to the tight end. • Bullets A tells the defensive line and linebackers what gap is being blitzed. • 0 coverage man no help. • Silver defensive end hot word to alert him to take the runningback on a flare. Smokes We call our safety blitzes “smokes.” We dictate which safety we want to blitz by
Diagram 12: Cross vs. Zone Away
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2000 •
Diagram 13: Cross vs. Fan
If we get drop back pass, the defensive end will rip under the offensive tackle to shorten the blitz line for the safety. We will use this teaching point anytime a safety is involved in a perimeter blitz. Bobcat The last blitz we will carry into every game is an eight man read-blitz we call “Bobcat.” A bobcat blitz is read-blitz that involves both linebackers and safeties. We will have a four-way spy on the runningback in a one back situation. If he is on an inside path, the linebacker on his side will be responsible for covering him. If the runningback flares or releases wide, the safety to that side will cover him. We can use different exchange coverages to add an element of surprise.
a double eagle defense. We achieve this by adding the words outlaw and double stack to the tite call. Outlaw will move the nose to a three technique and double stack will move the Mike linebacker down as a nose guard and the Sam linebacker will stack behind the Mike. We may still use all of our base blitzes in double stack.
Diagram 20: Tite Outlaw Double Stack I
Diagram 14: Tite Kat Cross 4 Check
Diagram 18: Bobcat vs. Two Back
Dog We call our four-to-a-side blitz package a “dog.” We get four men from a side by bringing the linebacker and safety to that side. We may blitz the linebacker and safety in any gap. We will again use wide, short, strong and kat to determine where we want the dog coming from.
Diagram 21: Tite Outlaw Double Stack Kat Smoke O
Diagram 15: Tite Kat Dog O Diagram 19: Bobcat Cop O Silver
Diagram 16: Tite Okie Kat Dog A
Diagram 17: Tite Okie Kat Dog A Cross
• “Tite” will set our eagle to the tight end side. • “Bobcat” is the buzz word for the linebackers and safeties. • “B” tells the linebacker and defensive line what gap the linebackers are blitzing. • “0” tells we are playing man cover with no help. • “Silver” is a word for the defensive end and it tells him to cover the back on a flare, if for some reason the safety to his side is not able to blitz according to formation. • “Cop” is another buzz word for the defensive ends and it tells them if there is a tight end to their side and they have him man. Double Stack Double stack is our way of getting into
Cobra In addition to our blitz and base packages we will play cobra. Cobra is our dime package and we try to get as much speed on the field as possible. The defensive tackles come out and we send in two more defensive backs. We will move the defensive ends inside and one linebacker and defensive back will become the new defensive ends. We will utilize our cobra package in second or third and long situations or when we want to match up with a three or four wide receiver set by the offense. This package is about attitude. Our players take a great deal of pride in cobra and they expect great things to happen when cobra is called. This package allows us to get over the top help versus the pass. We will play halves coverage or man under in base cobra. The defensive line works independently, by this we mean each side of the line may call its own twist. We tell the defensive line that they have no run responsibility and to get up the field. We still have the ability to run any of our blitz package when we are in cobra. The terminology and the teaching points remain constant, so we do not have to spend a lot of extra time trying to find a time to practice cobra. When
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2000 •
we make a cobra call, we will just use the word cobra at the beginning.
Diagram 25: Cobra Viper 2
Diagram 22: Cobra
Diagram 26: Cobra Viper Bobcat O Diagram 23: Cobra
Diagram 24: Cobra Short Smoke 2 Void
Cobra Viper Cobra Viper is the next blitz package we will use with our dime personnel. The line will shift prior to the snap to a three down lineman and two linebacker. We can tighten our safeties to be in a 50 front or keep them loose in coverage. From our viper look, the entire blitz package is available for use. Bullets, Smokes, Dogs and Bobcat. The installation may at first seem confusing, but our players understand their “hot” words. Their knowledge of the pack-
age and great communication allows us to add hot words on a weekly basis as needed by game plan. We are able to be this wordy defense due to the fact that we operate off wristbands. The wristband is divided into categories of possible calls for the week. Each call will be numbered under the category. We signal in the category we want with the number. The linebacker will refer to the category and make the call to the defense. The players and coaches believe in what we do. The players believe we are on the cutting edge on defense. We sell our defense to our players by calling it high tech and we are going to make sure they have fun. Our players know we care about them and trust in them on and off the field. We will not be afraid to make a call no matter the situation and our players know it. Therefore, they take pride in their performance and look forward to the challenge when their number is called. In conclusion, I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank the individuals who have taken their time to share their knowledge and passion for this great game. They include John O'Hara, Dennis Franchione, Bob DeBesse, Mickey Matthews, Jim Bob Helduser, Fred Bleil, and Gary Patterson. I will always be in their debt. Thank you.
NCAA Position on Gambling
The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering. Sports wagering has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community. Sports wagering demeans the competition and competitors alike by a message that is contrary to the purposes and meaning of ‘sport.’ Sports competition should be appreciated for the inherent benefits related to participation of student-athletes, coaches and institutions in fair contests, not the amount of money wagered on the outcome of the competition. For those reasons, the NCAA membership has adopted specific rules prohibiting athletics department staff members and student-athletes from engaging in gambling activities as they relate to intercollegiate or professional sporting events.
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2000 •