P ut t ing th e Sting Back i n the Ye ll ow Jacket Defense

t is a distinct honor to be asked to write an article for this year’s Summer Manual. On behalf of our Head Coach Scott Boone and the entire Yellow Jacket family, we would like to thank the AFCA for allowing us to share some of our thoughts concerning pressure defense. Our defensive staff was brought in by Coach Boone in the spring of 2002, for one purpose, to change the style of defensive play at Randolph-Macon College. In 2001, the Yellow Jackets finished last in the conference in total defense (386.6 ypg.), scoring defense (29.8 ppg.), rushing defense (221 ypg.), pass defense efficiency (129.1), and turnover margin (-9). With our new pressure package, we finished the 2002 season first in total defense (294.4 ypg.), second in scoring defense (17.2 ppg.), third in rushing defense (110.3 ypg.), second in pass defense efficiency (103.1), second in turnover margin (+5), and put the sting back in the Yellow Jacket defense. Defensive Philosophy Pressure defense allows us to dictate to the offense their style of play. We pressure in order to stop the run and make the offense one dimensional. Pressure allows us to disrupt blocking schemes, get an extra man to the point of attack, and force the offense into definite passing situations. We are capable of overloading the pass protection, thereby disrupting the quarterback’s timing and making him throw hot. Constant pressure, quarterback knockdowns and quarterback sacks take their toll. Our style of pressure defense changes field position, creates turnovers, and wins football games. Our defensive mantra is “when you need to stop the bleeding, apply pressure.” In preseason camp we introduced our players to a short list of “buzz” words which best describes what it takes to be a great defensive football team. 1. Team: Take pride in doing your job within the team concept ( Be unselfish). 2. Master the Tools of the Trade: Alignment, Assignment and Technique. 3. Attack: Stem, Stunt, and Blitz. 4. Effort: Relentless pursuit and gang tackling. 5. Poise: Performing under pressure. 6. WIN ! Defensive Goals We are a goal-oriented defense. In the off-season we spent a great deal of time studying our conference opponents and


our conference’s defensive statistics. After careful review, we established a set of goals that would put us first in each of the conference’s defensive categories. At Randolph-Macon, we feel that we can win every contest if we achieve seven of the eleven team goals. This past season, we were fortunate to reach our defensive team goals in eight games. We feel being goal-oriented gives our players something tangible to strive for and helps them remain focused in their preparation. Our goals are as follows: 1. Three turnovers per game. 2. Score or set up a score. 3. Hold our opponents to 17 points or less. 4. Third down efficiency of 65 percent or more. 5. Tackling efficiency of 90 percent or more. 6. Ten or more tackles for loss. 7. No run over 15 yards. 8. No pass over 25 yards. 9. One hundred-fifty rushing yards or less. 10. One hundred-fifty passing yards or less. 11. Three hundred total yards or less. Scheme We are a multiple 4-3 gap control defensive football team. Our scheme allows us to get eight men in the box to stop the run, to pressure with movement and to pressure with the blitz. We have the ability to run blitz on first down and blitz against the pass on third down. We are committed to man coverage and play a high percentage of press man. Although we are predominately a manblitz team, we also have one or two zone blitzes in our weekly game plan. The key to our style of pressure defense is disguise and timing. We attempt to show the same look as much as possible. For example, from one of our base fronts, Under 1, we are capable of stemming, stunting, man blitzing or zone blitzing ( Diagram 1).

Diagram 1: Under 1

Stemming the Front Moving from one alignment to another or one defense to another prior to the snap is a

we blitz both Sam and Will with all the same combination of charges and options. Our strong safety (Jacket) has the tight end man to man (Diagram 9). backfield sets. formations. Our linebackers also can use their discretion within certain parameters as to which gap to blitz. Under 1 Ed or Under 1 Tac. our nose and tackle are seldom in the same alignment before or after a snap. Nose and Rock. Sam is our primary force player and Mike assumes responsibility for C gap versus run. etc. Right or left movements are determined by formation.big part of our package. For example. We can slant all four of our down guys by tagging the term Move to our defensive call. and responsibilities which differ from run blitzes. Individual moves are designated by the terms Ed. Wreck is an outside blitz to the weak side (Diagram 10). Diagram 3 Diagram 10: Under Wreck Diagram 7: Under 1 Switch Opposite Diagram 4: Stem Under In our six-man pressure package. We game plan to determine which combinations will be most productive based on what our opponents do and the abilities of our own players. Move is executed from a head-up alignment (Diagram 8). the pass. We have had a great deal of success with our five-man pressure on first down. There has to be an understanding of the purpose of the blitz. charge. we will Diagram 11: Under Smash/Wreck . etc. six. three players. We tie in man-free coverage behind the blitz. We feel that stemming is a simple way to disguise our defenses. We tie in zero-man coverage behind our six-man blitz and use the same force rules (Diagrams 11 and 12). In our five-man pressure scheme. Our package allows us to pressure with five. motion. One of our favorite two-man stunts is Opposite. Tac. of our two inside players (Diagram 6). a Switch call changes the alignment of our two inside players making it more difficult for the offense to trap inside or isolate on our linebackers (Diagram 2). seven. thereby confusing the blocking schemes and the quarterback’s reads. stunting. Because we lack size inside. One player. or play action. Pass blitzes may require an adjustment in alignment. It is sound against the run. we can put our players in a position to make big plays and force the offense into making bad plays. motion. etc (Diagram 5). or eight men backed up with man or zone coverage. For example. For example. We will also stem and stunt to cause more confusion (Diagram 7). Smash is a strong-side blitz with Sam coming off the edge and the End angling to B gap. By stemming. We are capable of multiple movements up front. Diagram 8: Under 1 Move Stunting the Front Changing gap responsibilities by moving on the snap is another way our defensive front can disrupt the flow of the offense and pressure the quarterback. Adding the term Stem to a defensive call alerts our defense that we will be moving from one defensive front to another (Diagrams 3 & 4). two players. or all four players will move based on the term we tag to the defensive call. based on our game plan. An Opposite call changes the gap responsibilities Pressure by Blitz When you decide to use a pressure system it is imperative that everyone be on the same page. and blitzing. Diagram 5: Under 1 Ed or Tac Diagram 2: Under 1 Switch blitz either our Sam or our Will depending on our opponent’s tendencies. Diagram 9: Under Smash Diagram 6: Under 1 Opposite We also stem into and out of entire defensive fronts.

now is the time to make them known to those who are involved. We regard this as a gray area for the quarterback. In our weak roll. In our strong roll. If we have low and over the top help. If our help is over the top. Communicate with your athletic director. Don’t wait until it’s too late. In this alignment we still have great flexibility as to coverage calls and blitzes. Whatever your thoughts on the issues. Our zone coverage is based on a match-up concept which allows us to squeeze receivers instead of covering Stay Informed About Issues That Affect The Football Coaching Profession Football coaches who are concerned about the welfare of the profession should be aware of major issues within the profession and be well informed about them. Diagram 15: Cover 3 (Strong) Diagram 13: Man Free Diagram 16: Cover 3 (Weak) Diagram 14: Man Free Conclusion On behalf of the entire Randolph-Macon football family. the Bandit will have a 1/2 match up depending on the release of No. Good luck in 2003. and make your opinions known early in the process. 1 (Diagrams 15 and 16). we have more ability to squeeze the underneath crossers. Besides the benefit of an extra hat at the point of attack. grass. we ask our safeties to stem down as late as possible. Let them know you are vitally interested in your profession. we will squeeze the low shoulder. This blitz-engage technique allows our linebackers to become pass rushers if their runningback stays in to block. We hope this limited view of our pressure package has been helpful. Our coaches are sold on pressure defense and our players love the up tempo. creating confusion in regard to run support and pass coverage. Therefore. Our pre-snap alignment in most cases is either a two deep shell or four across. . Make it a point to know about issues that could affect the profession and your job. In man free. especially those which are controversial and sometimes make headlines. Our inside linebackers will margin over. we would like to again thank the AFCAfor the opportunity to share some of our ideas. Prior to the snap we will walk down one of our safeties into the C gap at a depth of six or seven yards. Disguise and timing. we play a lot of man free and Cover 3 from the same look. we bring an extra man into the box. as stated earlier. the Jacket will have either a 2/3 match up (curl/flat) or a 3/2 match up (hook/curl) depending on the zone call. By aggressively squeezing the receivers we put pressure on the quarterback to make the perfect pass (Diagrams 13 and 14). are critical in our scheme. It is imperative in our scheme that our linebackers hug up the backs. faculty athletic representative and president. in your face style of play it allows.Diagram 12: Under Smash/Wreck Eight Men in the Box In order to stop the run. we squeeze the receiver’s up field shoulder. we leverage and squeeze based on where our help comes from. Coverage With the eighth man in the box. We teach our linebackers to flatten the runningback out to the sideline if he releases for a pass route.

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