t is with great honor that the Geneva College football program presents the following article for the

AFCA Summer Manual. Personally, I would like to thank the AFCA for facilitating and fostering the idea of exchanging information among coaches. It truly makes our profession adhere to the most basic core of what we are called to do as educators; teach what we have learned and continue to learn that which we do not know. At Geneva College we have enjoyed the most successful decade in the 112 years of football history by adhering to this same philosophy. We have put a premium on teaching the whole person academically, athletically and spiritually. This philosophy is captured in a small manner in the structure of our defensive scheme by holding our coaching staff accountable for teaching the player in the most simplistic manner. We know that the opponent is time and the balance is somewhere between being mundane and complicated. By using the concept of efficiency, doing the right things, at the right time, in the right manner, we feel our players are prepared for the test that takes place every Saturday. The Geneva defensive system is based on simplicity by utilizing basic structures to create a foundation. Upon that foundation we build multiplicity that remains efficient. The structure is built as follows: Package — Front — Stun t— Coverage The tool that allows us to use this system is the Trigger Term Package. Researchers say that most learning is done by association and by grouping material. The Package System allows for this process by creating a box that contains information specific to that defense. Nomenclature, wording and jargon must be captured in the Trigger Term — a term that will “trigger” a response by a particular player. To achieve this each player must be coded differently so that the term will apply to only the designated player. Example: Field Package This is the most basic defense we run. It is the first defense our freshmen are taught, as it is the first building block of our defensive structure. As shown in Diagram 1, the names of these players are defined as follows: Wide: Corner aligns to wide side of the field. Short: Corner aligns to short side of the field.


Diagram 1

Geneva Defense: Simply Multiple

Fast: Fast linebacker aligns to the field. Big: Big linebacker aligns to the boundary. Rush: Rush end aligns to the field in a six-technique. Tackle: Tackle aligns to the field in a three technique. Nose: Nose guard aligns away from the field in a shade. End: End aligns away from field in a five technique. Drop: Drop linebacker aligns away from strong safety. Strong: Strong safety aligns to field in support. Free: Free safety aligns deep. There are five basic rules that exist in the Field Package that bridge to our other packages. Namely, the rush, tackle and free saftey all align together and the nose, end and big linebacker align together. This arrangement holds true for our other packages of split, tight, right and left. One other rule that also is true for the other packages is the meaning of the name of the package. This becomes the call once the package is selected. Field is the call made to the wide side or strength if the ball is in the middle. Split is the call made to the split side (Diagram 2).

Eugene DeMarco Head Coach Geneva College Beaver Falls, Pa.

Diagram 2

Tight is the call made to the tight end (Diagram 3). Right is aligning the R, T and F to the right (Diagram 4). Left would align the N, E and B to the right (Diagram 5). Trigger Term Previously mentioned was the use of

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •

Diagram 3

Rush: Sprinter stance — play pass. As you can readily determine, the seven calls have something unique that will trigger the memory of the rush. We purposely name the trigger term with the same first letter of the position player. Trigger Terms for Defensive Sets By using one term, the entire defensive front can be changed. For example, the following trigger term can be added to the package call to create different looks. In Field Bad (Diagram 6) the front now becomes a double eagle.

Diagram 9

Diagram 4

the blitzers. The trigger term Screw enables the free safety to take a specific receiver allowing that defender to blitz. Coverage Matching the coverage with the front, stunt or blitz is critical to the overall effectiveness of any defense. We have generally grouped coverages according to the package. In the Field Package all odd numbers are used, in our Tight Stack Defense, all even numbers are grouped. In our Split Bear Package, colors are used to call coverages. We then can tag any coverage with a trigger term to expand that basic coverage. For example, in our Field Package, the double coverage we play is Cover 5 (see Diagram 10).

Diagram 6

Diagram 5

In Split Bear (Diagram 7) the shade defense is now changed to a true bear front.

Diagram 7
the trigger term that will signify a specific technique or alignment for one defender. Although this may sound like something trivial, imagine yourself as a first year rush, thrust into the game. While in the huddle the defensive call is given. You listen first to the package — Field, then to the trigger term that only pertains to your position. This creates a mentality of accountability that you must do your own job and not worry about the other players. The amount of learning that is required is contained in about seven trigger terms. Each rush must recognize about seven different terms, actually as little as five and no more than nine. Why? Educational psychologists readily accept that memory is shaped by clustering seven plus or minus two pieces of information. A great example of this is a phone number with and without an area code. I find myself writing down the 10 digit number. The following are the seven trigger terms for the rush. Ram: Align as seven and crash C gap. Rough: Align as nine and crash D gap. Red: Watch for back out. Rebel: Drop to flat. Rat: Twist with tackle in stunt. Rust: Twist with strong in stunt.

Diagram 10

In Tight Stack the eight man front switches to a 4-3 (Diagram 8).

Diagram 8

By adding the term roll, the coverage becomes a three-deep scheme (Diagram 11).

Diagram 11

Trigger Terms for Blitzes Using the same logic, we can designate any blitz using the trigger term. In our Field Package, one such blitz that has been very useful in the last 10 years is a check package that assigns different blitzers according to offensive formation. The trigger term Check Blitz allows us to send six while playing blitz coverage (Diagram 9). The trigger term Cross simply crosses

To compliment these two, the trigger term Read allows us to play a quarter-quarter half zone (Diagram 12). Summary Learning is the key to execution. Execution is the key to success. Without a system in place that allows for simplicity, the opportunity for success greatly

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •

Diagram 12

diminishes. Many great ideas and plans have been created only to fail because of the implementation process. The responsibility to teach falls on us. We must strive continually to simplify the learning process. Coaches who accomplish this obtain the most from their player’s ability. Programs that place an emphasis on the learning process continue to win on a yearly basis. Again, I would like to thank the AFCA for this opportunity and hopefully, this concept will help you on either side of the ball.

Since taking over Geneva College in 1994, Gene DeMarco has suffered through just one losing season, led the Golden Tornadoes to three NAIA playoff berths and won three conference titles.

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• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •

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