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Don Montgomery Defensive Coordinator Mount Union College Alliance, Ohio
Vince Kehres Defensive Ends
n behalf of Mount Union College, our head football coach Larry Kehres; our defensive staff, Joe Leigh (defensive tackles), Vince Kehres (defensive ends, Marty Cvelbar (linebackers), Jeff Wojtowicz (secondary) and our outstanding players, it is an incredible honor and privilege to be able to contribute to the AFCA 2002 Summer Manual. One factor that I have learned during 25 years of coaching is that change is both inevitable and necessary. It is necessary because our opponents are adjusting their schemes to beat our strengths. It is inevitable because without it, there would be no improvement or growth in our program. Yes, change can be intimidating and cause a good deal of adversity. However, if you see it as a challenge and an opportunity, it can be profitable for everyone involved. The change that we are going to share with you refers to the reasons and advantages of changing from the 4-4 defense to the 4-3 defense following the 1999 football season. After all, we had just set the record for most consecutive wins in NCAA history at 54 straight and won four Division III national titles (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998). So why the change? Read on! There Must Be an Atmosphere! A. First and foremost, there must be a reason established for the change. B. Second, there must be total staff commitment and dedication to adapt the changes to your scheme and personnel. C. Third, your players must believe that the changes being made are beneficial and necessary for their future success. The changes made by our football staff prior to the 2000 football season proved to be beneficial to our football program. They were based on the following criteria: Advantages of the 4-3 defense 1. Better Matchups: More teams are throwing the ball and using the spread offense. We were having a variety of matchup problems based on alignment and personnel. Linebackers were matched up on wide receivers in the perimeter of our Total Record Def. 10-0 312.3 10-0 272.8 10-0 216.1
defense. Moving to the 4-3 defense allowed us to match up more efficiently. As a result, the number of passes completed against our defense has dropped dramatically. 2. Adjustment Efficiency: With the wide variety of formations that our opponents were using, we found that the 4-3 scheme allowed for more efficient adjustments made by our secondary instead of our linebackers. We have found that we spend less time on adjustments in practice and more time on practicing our schemes. 3. Deception and Versatility: We are able to execute a wide variety of coverages, zone dogs and man blitzes from the same look. By utilizing pre-shifts and the field clock, we can confuse the quarterback and disrupt the offensive game plan. When we were in the 4-4 the quarterback only needed to look at the FS and weak OLB to determine what coverage that we were executing. 4. More Efficient Run Support Angles: The 4-4 enables you to commit 8 defenders to the run. The 4-3 enables you to commit nine defenders to the run when the situation exists. We have found it to be an enormous advantage to get our secondary involved in run support. 5. More Aggressive up Front: Because of better matchups and run support in the perimeter by our secondary, the 4-3 defense enables us to be more aggressive with our defensive line and linebackers. 6. Practice efficiency is increased: The 4-3 defense can adjust to anything your offense needs to see for execution purposes in practice. This is beneficial to our offensive practices. With our terminology we can simulate any defensive scheme that our offense needs to see in practice. Below, (Diagram 1) is a brief statistical analysis of our defensive performance for the past three years (based on 10-game schedule). Based on the statistical analysis of our defensive performance, the changes that we have made proved to be beneficial to our defensive execution and success. What cannot be seen is the overall enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and fun that the change has brought to our football program. Overall Record 12-1 14-0 14-0
Year Scheme 1999 4-4 2000 4-3 2001 4-3 Run Pass Comp TD Pts Per Avg. Avg. % Int Pass Game 119 193 49.5 13 13 16.3 92 181 45.5 16 14 14.2 109 106.8 38.7 17 5 8.6
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •
A scheme is nothing without players that will carry out their responsibilities and a philosophy that is used to attack our opponents. Our philosophy has remained consistent but small changes had to be made emphasizing the execution and benefits of the 4-3 defense. Defensive Philosophy 1. Play 11-as-1: do your job first and contribute to team success. Run the ball, team pursuit, be relentless. 2. Defend and attack (PFP) Players, Formations and Plays. Make them beat you left handed by taking away what they do best. 3. Stop the run. 4. Force them to pass, harass the quarterback by deception and pressure. 5. Win the third down battle. 6. Create turnovers. 7. Score on defense. 8. Win the kicking game. 9. Keep it simple to maximize performance. Keeping it simple has proved to be a vital component to our execution and success. We align in three fronts. We have a reason for executing and aligning in each of them.
Diagram 2: Tiger
Diagram 3: Lion
Diagram 4: Eagle
Note: Linebacker alignments are based on coverage.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce our defensive ends coach, Vince Kehres. Vince has done an outstanding job coaching our defensive ends. Both of our ends were All-Americans last year and were a vital part of our defensive success. I attribute that to Vince. Moving to the 4-3 scheme has been beneficial to the execution of their techniques. Vince will share with you some of the coaching philosophy he employs coaching our ends. The transition to the 4-3 defense has allowed us to be more aggressive with our defensive line particularly the defensive ends. In the 4-4 defense our ends were taught to read first and then react. In the 43, we teach our ends to go on the snap of the ball and react on the move. Our philosophy is “Play Fast.” We drill all of the defensive linemen to burst out of their stance on the snap. This puts them in a better position to rush the quarterback on a pass. It also enables them to make plays from behind and aggressively attack any trap or kick out block, forcing the ball to spill outside to our perimeter defender(s). I often read defensive schemes that emphasize defensive linemen occupying blockers so that the linebackers are free to run to the ball and make tackles. At Mount Union we emphasize to all of our players on defense the importance of defeating blocks and running to the football. We expect our players to be productive and that is a major factor in our evaluation of them. Simply occupying a gap of responsibility without making plays is not good enough. The defensive linemen are evaluated through a point system in which their score is determined by dividing the number of points they scored on the production chart with the number of plays they were in the game. This system has motivated the players to compete for those points on the field and to thoroughly prepare themselves each week so they can anticipate what is coming from the offense in the game. I like to consider our defensive staff as “do” coaches as opposed to “don’t” coaches. Instead of constantly telling the players what we don’t want them to do (i.e. get reached, get chopped) we are constantly telling them what we want them to do and how to do it. By constantly giving positive reinforcement when they do what we want them to do they gain a great deal of confidence. I also feel that players will perform better when they are not afraid to take risks
and if they have a say in what they are being asked to do. After all, they are the ones playing the game. Allowing our defensive ends to play aggressively in our 4-3 style of defense has been very successful for us. In 2001 both of our starting defensive ends had 18 tackles for loss during the regular season. In 14 games the defensive line had accounted for 35 of our 44 sacks. Aggressive play from our defensive front still allowed us to play solid against the run and intensified our pass rush as we held our opponents to under 39 percent completion percentage. In closing, the change to the 4-3 defense has been beneficial and challenging. We hope that this article will prove to be beneficial to you by giving you some ideas and hope for future success. We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the AFCA Summer Manual and wish all of you continued success.
That’s what a coach asks of his players and that’s what the American Football Coaches Association is asking of football coaching staffs at all 700 plus institutions fielding college football teams throughout the country. One hundred percent membership in the AFCA by coaching staffs will result in a more effective voice in matters affecting the game and the coaching profession, from rules legislation to coach of the year voting. Set the standard. Be sure every member of the football staff at your school is a member of the AFCA.
• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •
American Football Coaches Association Code of Ethics Summary “The ultimate success of the principles and standards of this Code depends on those for whom it has been established — the football coaches.”
Ever since the AFCA adopted its first formal Code of Ethics in 1952, the organization has had a keen awareness of its importance and has done all in its power to keep the public aware of the AFCA’s concern with morality and integrity. A complete copy of the Code of Ethics is sent to every member.Vital tenets include: “PREAMBLE: The distinguishing characteristic of a profession is its dedication to the service of humanity. “Those who select football coaching must understand that the justification for football lies in its spiritual and physical values and that the game belongs, essentially, to the players. “The welfare of the game depends on how the coaches live up to the spirit and letter of ethical conduct and how the coaches remain ever mindful of the high trust and confidence placed in them by their players and the public. “Coaches unwilling or unable to comply with the principles of the Code have no place in the profession... “The Code should be studied regularly by all coaches and its principles should always be followed. Violations of the Code should be reported to the Ethics Committee.” “PURPOSE: The Code of Ethics has been developed to protect and promote the best interests of the game and the coaching profession. Its primary purpose is to clarify and distinguish ethical and approved professional practices from those considered detrimental. “Its secondary purpose is to emphasize the purpose and value of football and to stress the proper functions of coaches in relation to schools, players and the public.” The AFCA Code of Ethics deals at length with the following subject areas: Article One: Responsibilities to players Article Two: Responsibilities to the institution Article Three: Rules of the game Article Four: Officials Article Five: Public Relations Article Six: Scouting Article Seven: Recruiting Article Eight: Game day and other responsibilities Article Nine: Acceptance of all-star assignments and other all-star coaching honors
Be A Responsible Member Of The Football Coaching Profession Follow The AFCA Code Of Ethics
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