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we faced another 4-4 defense today.

we had some success running the ball, and a little bit

passing. i knew coming in to the game that we would be running into a good defense, they
have only allowed two touchdowns all year and that was by one of the perennial powerhouses
of our league, they lost that game 12-0. they lost another game 2-0, to another good team.
the game they won was 7-0. they don't have much of an offense, but we don't have much of a

we looked good vs their defense in the first half. we drove the ball several times but beat
ourselves with penalties and dropped passes. we managed to end the half down 12-6. we
drove the ball 70 yards on our touchdown drive. the problem came at the beginning of the
next half. they started blitzing and we couldn't do anything with the football. we had been
successful with the wedge so they blitzed the middle. i thought it would be the perfect time to
try out our brand new speed play we put in after suggestions from this board. wb wasn't fast
enough and was run down from behind. we got outside the blitz, but they just ran it down. the
kid i have at wb is not slow, he is one of the fastest on the team, it's just that the other team
was much faster. normally i would roll out pass, but we had a hard time passing today. we just
couldn't catch for some reason. we ran an adapted wedge pass. wb runs a 3-5 down and out,
qb fakes to the fb and passes. the qb hit the receiver in the hands with nothing between him
and the endzone and he dropped it.

our defense didn't really come to play today we gave up two td's off of missed assignments.
one on a punt return. one td was a cheap one. we had a mpp in at corner. our 5' tall mpp vs
their 6' tall starter at wide receiver. so in my mind we should have won that game 6-0, but
here in the real world it ended in a 24-6 loss.

my question:
what do you do to attack a defense that is sending everything at you, and you don't have
enough speed to break it outside?


First, you must recognize that a "4-4" is a very, VERY good defense. The ONLY reason you
don't see more of it is because it takes too long to teach. Otherwise, it's just as good as the
DC-46. The first time I faced (and got beat by) a "Split 4-4", it took me 90 days to figure out
how I lost.

You tried to go "outside" the blitz and found it didn't work. No surprise. A 4-4 is only using
four defenders to blitz with. They can still bring four more defenders outside against the
sweep, even with the blitz on ( Yeah! They did it to me too.).

The first thing you want to try against a 4-4 is two TE's and see if the four down linemen
spread. They're not supposed too, but they might. At the very least, you should draw "2" techs
instead of "1" and "3" techs. That's easier to wedge.

Next, you can't let four defenders beat your wedge. On "Super Power Wedge" you have TEN
BLOCKERS versus FOUR DEFENDERS. Your wedge was badly run - But don't feel bad. So was
mine. The first 4-4 I played had the entire wedge stood up by ONE LBer and he played QB on
offense. If you run wedge and you can see DAYLIGHT between your linemen, you don't have a
good wedge.

Next, you must TRAP or MIDLINE a Split 4-4 (I assume you're talking about a "Split 4-4"?),
JAIL BREAK screen it, or hit the TE on the QUICK PASS (And, eventually, with a lateral back to
the FB). Remember! As the two inside LBers blitz to stop the wedge, the TE is wide open on
the slant.

When I play a "Split 4-4", to me it's a war against the inside four. I don't care about the other
seven. They take themselves out of every play.
6 in the box" can be a pain if you're not prepared for it. Five cannot block six. But the quick
wedge pass to the TE should have been an easy throw. Work on that and include a pitch back
to the FB after the catch.

Also, work the receivers hands.

Originally posted by headtrip

do you have any suggestions for working on the receivers? i come from an
o-line background and don't know much about how to teach people to
catch. most of our passes were wide open, including the wedge pass they
just had a hard time hanging on to it. qb was right on for the most part. he
put it where only the receiver could catch it.

The first step is to take duct tape and tape the receivers thumbs together, end to end (Kind of
like one of those Chinese finger trips.). Now have the receivers run their routes with the tape
on. Unless your throwing low balls, the tape should stay on. But, if the kid comes back with
the tepe pulled off his thumbs, it's because he's separating his hands too wide for the catch.
This is one of the two top reasons for dropping a pass. The second is taking the eyes off the
ball. At the nose of your ball, between the seams are what we call "panels" - often a rough,
pebbly surface for gripping. Taking a marker, write a number one inch high (say a "4") on each
panel as close to the nose as panel. Every panel has the same number inked on it (In this case
case "4"). On the opposite side of the ball, write a different number (say '3") on all the panels.
Now, as the receiver catches the ball, he calls out the number on the panels he sees (In this
case, he'll either call out a '3" or a "4"). He calls it as soon as he makes the catch. The only
way he can know the number is he looks the ball all the way into his hands. Make it a
competition to see who can call the correct number the fastest. Some will call it in the air.
That's CONCENTRATION! If you see a kid having to look at the ball after the catch, he has no

They must call out the number EVERY CATCH including SCRIMMAGE. That's the most
important time because that's when they most want to take their eyes off it and "look to see
who is coming".

Credit for these drills goes to Mike Mahonz and Brian Rosenthall

so far, 5 games into the season, we've faced 3 4-4 d's and 2 odd defenses.
against the two odd defenses we've posted a total of 30 points, against the
4-4s we've put up 6. part of our problem is we can't pick up the blitz.

You must practice picking up the blitz using the "5 on 4" drill. Without practice, you'll end up in
a "mini call" to keep them out.


those 4 interior defenders basically control our offense.

If they can control five with four, you're dead.


we were able to get the team this week to stop blitzing by lining up in the
dcwt gun with our wing split wide and running slants with the wing and se.
only after 4 or 5 completions did they stop though.

In those 4-5 completions you should have had the receiver lateral back to another player for
the TD.

Did you?

Once they stopped blitzing, you should have been running, traps, wedge, and jailbreaks.

Did you?


we put our biggest o lineman against their biggest d lineman and started to
move the ball on the ground again. their big d lineman was able to
manhandle our starting guard and blow up the wedge by himself.

That ain't good.


we didn't find out until after we were able to get them to stop blitzing

Trap time.


how do you get your oline to pick up the blitz? do you run against it or do
you try to pass behind it? we tried running a screen, but they were too fast
and got to the qb before he could get rid of the ball. we couldn't run inside
and we definitely couldn't get outside at all.
Again, the blitz is not hard to pick up. The "5 on 4" drill covers this.

The "5 on 4" drill specifically uses your running backs as the blitzers. That's because a good 4-
4 defense is going to play four monsters inside. They know their four must be better than your

You found out what happens if try and run outside.

Again, this is a very SLOW defense to install but, once it's in, IT'S VERY GOOD.

One of the FIRST THINGS you have to do is go TWO TE'S. If you don't do this, the DT's will
line up as "1" techs weak and "3" techs strong. This is is the absolute BEST WAY to defend an
SE. If you were playing with an SE, you walked right into the lion's den. I know this because,
several years ago, I played my first (and only) "Split 4-4", played an SE, and got myself
hammered. It took me THREE MONTHS to figure out how I lost.

As soon as you go two TE's, the front shifts to two "2" techs. Much easier to wedge.

Remember! If you play against a "4-4", it's a WAR between your 5 and their 4. If they win it,
you'll lose the game and they won it.

It does not matter what offense you run. If you're going to run the ball, you must beat their 4
with your 5 or they win. Your only other choice is to throw the ball. For some reason, and I
don't what it is, "4-4's" don't defend passes as well as you think they will/should.

If you think you will make the playoffs and meet these D's again, there is a play called "Midline
Option" you may need to add.