Base 3-3-5 and Wing 5-3-3 Defensive Package

“11 Relentless Tigers to the Ball”

Defensive Philosophy: We are an attacking, gap-control defense that will blitz at least one player on every down. These blitz’s are designed to work well against both the run

and pass with the emphasis on sacking the quarterback and forcing all run plays towards the sideline- were we are able to run and pursue the football with all 11 players at full speed. Our defense is also designed to give offenses multiple looks up front and in coverage without being overly complex. Each position is given a set of rules to follow for alignments, coverages and blitz’s; once these basic rules are learned the players are then able to run any aspect of the scheme without over-thinking responsibilities or alignment. Players in this defense are able to line-up easily and attack on every play without allowing the offense to dictate responsibilities or reads. An emphasis on stripping the football, sacking the quarterback and turning all turnovers into touchdowns is an important aspect of this defense. All collisions on the quarterback are viewed as strip opportunities, all fumbles get “scooped and scored” and all interceptions are returned with the intention of becoming touchdowns. This same philosophy spills into our special teams units and allows our players to be aggressive and relentless on every down. Defensive Lineman: We use 3 defensive linemen in every package and scheme. The basic alignment is head-up on the center and tackles. Defensive lineman must be able to line-up in both right and left-handed stances. We emphasis beating the offensive lineman off the ball and attacking the next man’s half-body or gap depending on the call. Each defensive lineman must not allow the man that he is lined up on to block him and must also not allow the lineman that he is moving towards to block another defender. We use a “dip and rip” technique in which the nose and ends “rip” to avoid being blocked by the man that they are head-up on and a “dip” in order to occupy the adjacent gap. His read is always on the offensive lineman that he slanted towards. If the lineman pulls- he gets in his “hip-pocket” and runs; if the lineman blocks down on him- he fights across his face not getting pushed off the ball; if the lineman pass blocks- he pass rushes his gap at full speed and if the lineman goes to attack another defender he must cut him off.

“Slant”

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Defensive lineman know which direction to “dip and rip” towards in one of two ways. The first way is a direct call in the huddle- these calls include “slant”, “angle” and “gap”. In the “slant” call the lineman move towards the tight end call made by the linebackers in the “angle” call they move away. In the “gap” call the lineman shift towards the tight end call and occupy the gap taking-on and reading which ever lineman attacks them. The second way in which a lineman knows to move in based on the blitz call. If the linemen are not given a direct call in the huddle, they simply move in the direction away from the nearest blitz. For example if we have a strong side “A” gap blitz (“Tight Go”) call- the nose goes weak “A” and the ends move towards the tight end or imaginary tight end.

Imaginary TE

“Tight Go”

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In the diagram above you can see that the lineman simply moved away from the blitz. Whenever a defensive lineman moves towards an imaginary tight end he has contain rush and run responsibilities. He also has quarterback vs. option and should initially read his near back to pick up his run or pass read. Imaginary tight end movement will also give that defensive lineman reverse control and boot responsibilities if he gets flow away from him. If a defensive lineman is moving to his right he should be in a right-handed stance and if he is moving left he should be in a left-handed stance. This stance enables him to rip his on lineman and get his body moving into the gap. Linebackers- In this scheme linebackers stack directly behind each of the defensive lineman (the backer to the tight end will line up on the tight ends inside eye) and always have gap responsibility opposite of the lineman in front of them. For example: if we have a slant call the linebackers will be responsible for their gap away from the tight end.

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Therefore, in this scheme every gap on every down versus every formation will either have a lineman in it- a linebacker responsible for it- or a linebacker blitzing it at all times. Linebackers must not run away from their gap responsibility too soon. They must always use the “read step, shuffle, and lateral run” progression on every snap in order to be successful. Linebackers read their gap responsibility only with their peripheral vision. Their true read is in the back field. Linebackers always read their near back. In man coverage this will also be the back that they are responsible for in coverage. In split

backs the “Mike” or middle linebacker reads the back to the tight end side. Linebackers have basic back read rules as follows:

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At least one linebacker will blitz on 80% of downs in this scheme. The “Mike” linebacker has calls that can send him to the “A” or “B” gaps. The right and left linebackers have calls that can send them to the “A”, “B” or “C” gaps. These calls are based on formation or field position. “Field” or “Short” calls send the backer to blitz his gap based on hash marks the “Tight” or “Open” calls are based on the tight end call. Only “Field” and “Tight” calls are made once the offense lines up the “Open” and “Short” calls are assumed. The “Go” and “Blast” calls send the Mike to the “A” and “B” gaps respectively. The “Backer” call sends the Right and Left to the “A” gaps. The “Exit” call sends them to the “B” gaps and the “Loop” call sends them the “C” gaps. The calls can be put together in any combination. For example:

“Tight Go Open Exit”

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“Open Backer Tight Loop”

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These calls can be put together in any combination desired as long as they keep with the rules of the scheme. Another call that can be used is a “Dawg” call. This call is used with and “Angle” or “Slant” call. This call simply sends the linebacker to the opposite gaps that their defensive lineman moved towards. All calls can also be made in doubles. For example: “Angle Dawg” or “Double Exit”:

“Angle Dawg”

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“Double Exit”

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When blitzing, linebackers are to rip the lineman to the blitz side and not just shoot the gap without contact. Their eyes should also be reading their back read responsibility as they go. These blitzes are designed to hit the line of scrimmage at about the same time that the ball is snapped. When a “Dawg” call is used- a “Stay” call can be added. This call tells the Mike backer not to blitz. This is usually used in man coverage and allows for the Mike backer to cover the back out or to spy quarterback.

Spurs- The most difficult position to play in this defense is the Spur. This position calls for the football player to act as a combination safety, linebacker and defensive end. The Spurs are used as coverage “adjusters” in pass and outside contain men vs. the run. This player must be able to run with receivers in man coverage, play the quarterback in option, contain the outside run and rush the passer when asked to blitz. Great size is not needed to play this position but the player must be able to run and be a great open field tackler. Alignment for the Spur position is referred to as “logical alignment”. Simply put, the Spur lines up wherever would be the logical place for him based on his assignment and coverage. The Spurs are the players that give this scheme the most pre-snap variation and cause the defense to look at times like a 4-4, 5-3, 4-3 or 3-3 defense to the offense. Spurs will never “flop” sides. The alignment is based primarily on the coverage call but they also have two different blitz calls. These calls include the “Smoke” or the “Streak” call:

“Open Smoke 3”

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“Tight Streak 3”

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When moving on a “Smoke” blitz the Spurs must be very aware of aiming points and down and distance. This blitz can be used against both run and pass and is primarily used in conjunction with the basic cover 3. Aiming point should be the toes of the nearest running back. When going on a “Streak” blitz the Spur uses the same technique as a linebacker moving on an “Exit” blitz. Cover 3 rules are simple. The Linebackers to the “Smoke” side drop flat and hook to curl in the direction of the blitz, in essence replacing the Spur. The same in true for Linebacker blitzes. The “Mike” backer knows to always drop back towards the direction of the blitz playing hook to curl and the right and left backers always drop hook to curl to their side unless they have a “Smoke” which sends then sends them to replace the Spur in the flat. Open Smoke 3

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Tight Loop 3

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In Cover 1 or man coverage the Spur always covers the #2 receiver against balanced formations. #2 may be a tight-end- a slot receiver- or a back in the backfield. Once again, logical alignment is used. The Spur must ask himself, “where is the best place for me to align and cover this player man-to-man?” Against regular tight end trips, the Spurs cover the tight-end and the #3 receiver. Tight-end trips is the only formation in which the Spurs don’t cover the #2 receiver. Another coverage exception in cover 1 for the Spur is vs. Trey and Spread Trips, in this case, the Spur will “Switch” with the Free Safety and use his technique and the Free Safety plays man on the #3 receiver. Motion can put the Spur and Free Safety in and out of the “Switch” call. The most difficult “Switch” takes place when a team breaks the huddle in TE trips and then motions #2 across the formation- we will switch and unswitch vs. that formation and motion. Corners run with motion but spurs never do. Cover 1 vs. Pro

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Cover 1 vs. TE trips

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Cover 1 vs. Trey

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Cover 4 is yet another variation for the Spur. He must be able to play as a deep safety in this coverage similar to his responsibility in the “switch” call. He will start in his Cover 3 alignment and then back-off to 7-9 yards deep and play quarters with the Corners. In other words, he will cover deep 1/4 of the field. Linebackers in this coverage play the same rules as Cover 3 with only 3 underneath. Therefore, the right and left backers play hook-to-flat and the Mike backer plays the middle of the field if he’s not on a blitz. The Free Safety plays the middle of the field vs. balanced formations and robs underneath vs. trips formations of any kind. The Free Safety can also go on a “Fire” blitz which sends him to the Open “A” gap. Cover 4 vs. Pro

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Cover 4 vs. Trips

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Cover 4 vs. Trey

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Defensive Backs- Corners and Free Safeties in this scheme play traditional Cover 3 and Cover 1 or Man coverage techniques. Corners will play outside leverage at about 6-9 yards in Cover 3 and inside leverage from 0-6 yards off in Cover 1. Free Safeties use a basic triangle read and alignment- placing themselves half-way between the two widest receivers in any formation and reading the triangle of wideout-to-QB-to-wideout in both Cover 3 and Cover 1. Corners vs. option will go to pitch and the Free Safety runs the alley from QB to pitch. Against any other run plays, corners are secondary contain for the Spurs and the Free Safety will always run the alley cut-back lane.

alley triangle

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Cover 4 presents new techniques for the Defensive Backs. Corners are playing a narrowed version of Cover 3, allowing them to be more aggressive with the #1 receiver in short routes like outs, hooks, and slants. They have to be also aware of passing #1 on sooner than they normally would to a safety. The Free Safety must be able to cover the whole middle of the field from 8-14 yards deep against balanced formations and rob against any triple formation. He must also be able to blitz the “Open A” gap in the “Fire” call playing run or rushing the QB. “Open Fire 4”

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Wing Package or 53- This scheme is a 5 man front used primarily against Wing-T, Fly and Pro-Set Offenses. This package enables us to load up against the run and bring 8 to 10 defensive players into the box (depending on formation). We can use Cover 3, 1 or 0. Cover 0 can only be ran against 2 back formations, when calling 0 in the huddle the players must check into cover 1 if the offense presents or motions to a single back formation. In Cover 3 we are unaffected by formation or motion of any kind. In this package the Spurs walk up and become stand-up defensive ends or outside linebackers. They will primarily rush the passer in this scheme. This package also enables us to put some more size on the field and replace the Spurs with larger players such as Linebackers or Defensive Ends. Against Wing-T teams the Spurs will use a “jam and replace” technique on the wings keeping the outside arm free while taking on all pulling guards: “Wing Slant”

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The defensive linemen in this scheme will primarily “Slant” or “Gap”. These two techniques get them moving in the direction of the key offensive blockers in the Wing-T, the offensive guards and the tight-end. Their primary job in “Wing” is to insure that these offensive players do not block another defender. If the Spurs and Defensive Linemen do their jobs effectively, this enables our Linebackers to play their back read techniques and run free to the football on every down. Defensive backs align to wide-outs or directly behind the Spurs in cover 3: “Wing Gap 3”

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The Spurs and Linebackers must also factor in the far-side wing in their back read progression. For example: if both backs flow away the backside Spur and Linebacker must move their eyes all the way to the far side wing to play the tackle trap and sally counter plays in the Wing-T:

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Notice that in the diagram above, the backside Linebacker and Spur wind up reading all three backs through their progression. Another important aspect of playing the run in the “Wing” defense is the Defensive Back alignment. When the corner has a receiver split out wide, the corner just plays his normal cover 3 rules. When playing against a single width formation the DB’s align directly behind the Spurs and play “Stack” run read rules with the Spurs:

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In the “Stack” run rules the DB’s play off the Spurs as secondary players. In other words, if the Spur gets caught too far inside or up field the DB will replace him and play contain. If the Spur gets knocked off the ball or runs too far outside, the DB will dump inside and play tough on the run. According to down and distance, a “Cover” call can be used that tells one of the Spurs to play his normal cover 3 alignment anticipating pass: Wing Slant Open Cover 3

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This alignment allows the Spur to help in coverage vs. the Wing-T roll-out pass plays that send multiple receivers to the flat.

The 53 package can also be used against Fly offenses and 2 back sets in conjunction with Cover 0 to give maximum pressure on run plays. This scheme can give us 9-10 players in the box to play run. Cover 0 also allows us to blitz one of the linebackers on every play giving us 6 rushers against the pass and not allowing the QB time to find an open receiver. Wing Gap Tight Exit 0

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If the offense motions to ace back or breaks the huddle in an ace back set, we must check out of 0 and into cover 1. An automatic blitz will also be used to insure at least 5 pass rushers. To keep the automatic simple we will use a “Slant Dawg Stay” call, as a result, 7 of the 11 defenders are unaffected by the ace back: Wing Gap 0 (Check Dawg Stay 1 vs. Ace Back)

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Lemoore Tiger Football Terminology Sheet

Open Short

Tight Field

imaginary TE

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Open- the side of the formation away from the “Tight” call Tight- the strong call –based on tight end or multiple receiver side of the formation Short- small side of the field or the boundary side based on hash marks Field- wide side of the field Go- Mike linebacker A gap blitz Blast- Mike linebacker B gap blitz Backer- Right and Left linebacker A gap blitz Exit- Right and Left linebacker B gap blitz Loop- Right and Left linebacker C gap blitz Smoke- Spur edge or D gap blitz Streak- Spur B gap blitz Dawg- Linebackers blitz their run gap responsibility Double- both backers or spurs run the blitz (loop or smoke for example) Slant- Defensive lineman move towards the Tight call Angle- Defensive lineman move away from the Tight call Gap- Defensive lineman stem to the tight side gap nearest them and occupy that gap Stay- Mike linebacker doesn’t run the blitz Soft- sets the Defensive backs deeper into the chosen coverage Play it- tells the defense not to run any auto-checks and to play the call in the huddle Wing- tells the Spurs to walk-up and play outside linebacker and to rush vs. pass

Switch- tells the Spur and Free Safety to switch responsibilities in man coverage

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