American Football Monthly, Copyrighted Material

11/15/11 1:34 PM

Goal Line Defense: Lenape Valley’s 6-5 Scheme by: Don Smolyn
October 2010 Copyright American Football Monthly

When introducing our Goal Line Defense to our team, we stress from day one that we must stop the run at all cost – “We are fighting for inches not yards”. As a staff, three principles must be kept in mind at all times: 1. Instill in our players the mindset that “they cannot score by running the football on us – they must pass to score”. Also, attitude is as important as schemes and techniques. 2. Have a limited number of adjustments to formations and motions. 3. Install and be able to execute a limited number of stunts. Base Alignment and Responsibilities (Diagram 1) We have developed specific assignments for our entire defensive personnel to increase our chances of success. Defensive Guards are aligned in a four-point stance with their inside foot slightly outside of the center’s foot. The shoulders are at the shin level of the offensive linemen. They are as tight to the line of scrimmage as possible, and the charge is for penetration trying to get one yard deep in the backfield. We emphasize stepping with the inside foot and ripping the inside arm through to stop the “reach” block by the center. Defensive Tackles are aligned slightly outside of the head-up position, tight to the line of scrimmage in a low four-point stance. The defensive tackles will execute a low penetrating charge straight through the offensive tackles, being careful not to be turned out and opening the “B” gap. This would create too large of an area for the MLB to fill. Defensive Ends are aligned with their inside foot slightly inside the outside foot of the tight end with their outside foot back in a low two-point stance. Their initial charge is through the tight end. If the tight end blocks down, the defensive end must close tight to the defensive tackle. Under no circumstances should the offense be able to run the football between the defensive tackle and the defensive end. On flow away, the defensive end is responsible for the bootleg by the quarterback. The defensive end has the quarterback on option. Middle Linebacker is aligned head up on the center, deep enough that he can fill downhill into the “B” gap. One common mistake by the middle linebacker is that he aligns too tight to the line of scrimmage and his force angle is lateral and not downhill into the “B” gap. His pass drop is off of the number three receiver and vs. play action he looks for the crossing or drag receiver. If the quarterback breaks contain, he will now become the contain player. Outside Linebackers align with their outside foot in the crotch of the number two receiver, half the distance that the offense needs for a touchdown. Versus a tight end, the outside linebacker will key the initial movement of the tight end. If the tight end blocks down, the outside linebacker fills tight off of the hip of the defensive end who is closing down to the defensive tackle. If the tight end turns out on the defensive end, the outside linebacker fills straight ahead in the “C” gap. On flow away, the outside linebacker closes and is responsible for the “B” gap. Versus a pass release, the outside linebacker maintains an inside attitude on the receiver. If the receiver breaks out to the flat, the outside linebacker will maintain an inside attitude on the number one receiver who is now coming inside. Versus option, the outside linebacker plays quarterback to pitch. Defensive Halfbacks align three yards outside the tight end and no more than half the distance the offense needs for a touchdown. Versus a wide receiver, they will align slightly outside until they feel threatened by the “slant” route and maintain an inside attitude on the wide receiver. Versus a tight end, they are keying through the tight end to the near back. The near back will give them his run /pass read. Halfbacks must be coached not to align too tight width-wise off of the tight end. The halfback will then “set the edge” on run plays toward them and if they align too tight, they will have a limited force angle. On flow away, they must be aware of the waggle to the onside end or the drag route on the throwback pass to the opposite receiver. The halfback has the pitch man on option. Basic Adjustments

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Two years ago Smolyn was selected to the New Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame. “Fire” will have the defensive tackle attacking the “B” gap and the outside linebacker blitzing the “C” gap (See Diagram 5). etc. His teams have won seven state championships and eight conference championships during that period. About the Author: Don Smolyn has been the head football coach at Lenape Valley High School for the past 35 years. This will tighten their alignment down to where they have their inside foot slightly inside the center’s foot and will take away the quarterback sneak. Smolyn’s overall record was 273 wins and 109 losses through the 2010 season. we have used two methods: first. one backup middle The second method of practice that we have used would be to work in two-three “run” reps during our team defensive period on Tuesdays. the run and sound against the option and pass.The MLB maintains his normal position and allows the outside linebacker to run back on all motions. Selection of Goal Line Personnel A total of 15 players would comprise the first goal line defensive unit: the 11 starters plus one backup halfback. http://www. Team Stunts “Blitz” will have the defensive tackle charging through the “C” gap and the outside linebackers blitzing the “B” gap (See Diagram 4). and Wednesdays.php?article_id=5605 Page 2 of 5 . and the outside linebacker scrapping to the “D” gap (See Diagram 6).American Football Monthly. Copyrighted Material 11/15/11 1:34 PM This will include bringing the away outside linebacker over on a trips alignment (See Diagram 2). At our level of competition. the defensive end attacking the “C” gap. Many times we have gone three-four games in a row without the need for our goal line defense. and one backup lineman for both the guards and tackles. it is important that the staff conduct a two-three year self film study to gauge how often and how many times per season the team is actually in a goal line defensive situation. we will slide the MLB to the onside “B” gap and backside linebacker to the backside “B” gap (See Diagram 3). we have treated it as a “special team” and it would be practiced and installed twice a week similar to our punt. Practicing the Goal Line Defense Before deciding on how often and how much the goal line defense will be practiced. it would be difficult to find game worthy backups for all 11 positions. punt return and kick off team. He attended Adams State College in Colorado where he received his Bachelor’s Degree and received a Master’s Degree from Kean University.americanfootballmonthly. We must make a “tight” call to the defensive guards. The “6-5 Goal Line Defense” is a package that we feel can be implemented into any defensive scheme. “Pinch” will have the tackle attacking the “B” gap. one backup outside linebacker. Versus a “Power I” alignment. and three-four “pass” reps during our team defensive period on Thursday. On all stunts the players must be coached to step with the foot to the gap they are going and use a low aggressive charge ripping the backside arm through. Regarding practice set up. The 6-5 defense is very good vs.

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