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A Simple Approach to Multiple Pressure Defense

Joe Lee Dunn Defensive Coordinator Mississippi State University Mississippi State, Miss.

t is a tremendous honor for the defensive staff to represent Head Coach Jackie Sherrill and Mississippi State University at the AFCAConvention. We are very excited to have the opportunity to talk to you about our defense. We do a lot of different things defensively. Hopefully, from our talk, you can pick up a little something to help you. Our coaches are going to talk about a certain defense that is an integral part of what we do. Back in the 1970s, the favorite thing to do was to send the strong safety on a blitz from the outside and play man coverage with the other three backs. When we went west to the University of New Mexico, in 1980, we wanted to come up with an overload blitz that came from the outside out of the 52 look, but still contained the four defensive backs in the secondary. This is what transpired out of that and we call it Mad and Bad. Our first coach to present his part of the defensive presentation is John Hendrick, our defensive line coach.


Diagram 2: Mad Adjustment

Diagram 3: Bad Adjustment

Diagram 4: Mad Slam

John Hendrick, Defensive Line
I would like to thank the AFCA, Coach Sherrill and Coach Dunn for the opportunity to speak before this body, and of course the good Lord, for without his blessings, we would not be able to do what we do. In our defensive schemes, we have gotten a lot of production out of our loaded defensive fronts. We have the ability to run mad and bad (Mad overloaded to the offense’s strong side, Bad to the offense’s weak side) from any of our defensive fronts, but for time’s sake, we will concentrate on how we run it out of an odd defensive front alignment.

John Hendrick Defensive Line Coach

Kurt Woerner Defensive Ends Coach

Diagram 5: Bad Lightning

Diagram 1: Mad Alignment

Jim Tompkins Linebackers Coach

Melvin Smith Defensive Secondary Coach

slant the front weak to give balance and gap responsibility. Bad is an open side overload, so we slant the front strong. To get the movement in the right direction, we add a tag onto Mad and Bad. To Mad we add Slam, which gives us our movement weak (away from tight call). To Bad, we add Lightning, which gives us our movement strong (to tight call). Gap Responsibility Our defensive linemen are taught they are responsible for the next adjacent gap in the direction they are slanting, with the understanding that gap can move away from them or toward them. The tackle on the overload side is the pinch tackle. His gap responsibility is the B gap. The nose guard slants away from the

Alignment In our odd front, the base alignment for the defensive front is two four technique defensive tackles and a zero nose. We will adjust Mad by giving it a tight eagle look, and Bad by giving it a weak eagle look. Assignment Mad is a strongside overload, so we

• Proceedings • 77th AFCA Convention • 2000 •

Diagram 6: Gap Responsibility Mad Slam

Diagram 8: Mad Slam vs. Option

point, the tailback (Diagram 9). Option responsibilities are the same in Bad Lightning as in Mad Slam. The inside end has the quarterback and the wide rusher will have pitch responsibility.

Diagram 10: Bad Lightning vs. Option

overload, and he is responsible for the A gap in the direction he is slanting. The tackle away from the overload is the loop tackle. He is C gap responsible. Coaching Points Pinch Tackle: Visually key the guard, landmark is near hip of guard. Nose Guard: Visually key the guard in the slant direction, landmark is near hip of guard. Loop Tackle: Visual is tackle he is aligned on. Landmark is V of tight end’s neck. Technique 1. Forty-five degree angle lead step. 2. Numbers over knee. 3. Protect backside leg with backside arm. 4. Rip through gap. 5. Redirect to the ball.

Kurt Woerner, Defensive Ends
Let me begin by saying how thrilled I am today to be asked to speak at the first AFCA Convention of the new millennium. This is a privilege and honor I will always remember. As the defensive ends coach at Mississippi State University, I am going to talk about our Mad Slam and Bad Lightning stunts. Both stunts will be presented out of an odd or 52 front. Mad Slam and Bad Lightning are five-man line stunts creating an overload for the offense. Out of the 52 look, we create the overload by aligning the two defensive ends together (side by side) on the same end of our line.

When Mad Slam is called in the huddle, the defensive ends know that they will align to the offensive tight end, or if there is no tight end, they will align to the offensive strength (Diagram 7). The inside end will align himself on the inside eye of the tight end in a three-point stance. At the snap of the ball, he will step with his inside foot getting width and depth into the C gap. His second step will be up-field and he will rip with his outside arm in order to protect himself from the block of the tight end. We are looking for line penetration from him. The aiming point for the inside end is the fullback. Our wide rusher will align outside of the tight end getting in a position where he can run a straight line to his aiming point, the tailback. If action goes away from the overload, the wide rusher must stay as deep as the deepest man in the backfield, looking for boot and reverse. If option were to show, the inside end would take the quarterback and the wide rusher would be responsible for the pitch man.

In closing, this is a very brief overview off what we do with our defensive ends out of our overload package, but if there are any questions that you may have, you are always welcome to contact us at Mississippi State University. I want to thank AFCA again for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Jim Tompkins, Linebackers
It is an honor for me to be here to share some things about our linebacker play at Mississippi State. I appreciate being able to represent Coach Sherrill and our defensive staff. Coach Sherrill has often been called a players’ coach, and I can also say he is a coaches’ coach. He allows you to coach your players to perform, in the way you see fit. This is my eleventh season at State. I have been fortunate enough to coach with a lot of good coaches, and to coach a lot of good players. This is the fourth year that our defensive staff has been together with Coach Dunn. I don’t think we have ever left a meeting and gone to the practice field without being on the same page. I believe this carries over to our players. We all enjoy working together. This helps our players play with excitement and to have fun playing. We play a multiple defense with a variety of looks. It is important to me to present linebacker play so that it seems simple to my linebackers. I do not want them to think of it as something hard to do and/or difficult to learn. I want to instill confidence — to present playing linebacker at Mississippi State not only as something they can do, but something they can have fun doing. For today’s talk, I intend to emphasize the progression I use during the initial phase of my teaching. At the beginning of the individual period, my linebackers run to a marked hose that helps them see the

Diagram 9: Bad Lightning

Diagram 7: Mad Slam

Our Bad Lightning call is an overload away from the tight end or if there is no tight end, the stunt will come away from the strength of the offense. In Bad Lightning, our defensive ends will line up on the opposite end of the line of scrimmage from our opponent’s tight end. The inside end will align as if over a ghost tight end, tilted slightly, in a three-point stance stepping hard down off the tackle’s butt. It is very important he does not get straight up the field, if so he will cut off the wide rusher. The inside ends aiming point is the same as before, the fullback. The wide rusher will again position himself so he is on a clear straight line to his aiming

• Proceedings • 77th AFCA Convention • 2000 •

gaps and align themselves properly. This makes it easy for us to get in different fronts and review different calls. Using the hose provides an efficient and organized means of working the following drills:

Diagram 13: Overload/ Tight Side

Diagram 11

4. Guard pulls away, give Pull-Pull call. 5. Must have good eyes, trust your reads. 6. May force or plug to scrape. 7. Approach ball from inside out. - Stay on backside shoulder of ballcarrier (if you get ahead, force ball upfield). Blitz Technique Knowledge 1. Align with inside forward, speed rip on snap. 2. Not just cancelling the gap. 3. Explode on snap in low body position and dominate your gap. - Read on the move and be ready to redirect. - May have to adjust on the move to take care of your gap. 4. Be ready to flatten in or out quickly. 5. Pass rush vs. pass read. 6. Be relentless in making play.

Diagram 14: Overload/ Open Side

Stance-Steps-Starts Stance 1. Toes and knees straight — Feet parallel, shoulder width apart. 2. Weight forward, on inside balls of feet. 3. Power angles closed - Ankles, knees and hips flexed. 4. Back almost flat, arched. 5. Arms bent, not strained. 6. Neck bulled. 7. Performance stance (allow for individual differences). Steps 1. Lean Shuffle: Move backside foot first (chop steps). 2. Lean Angle Shuffle: Move backside foot first (chop steps). Starts Alignment a. Work on proper alignment with various front calls.

- He’s inside, I’m outside. - He’s outside, I’m inside. b. Teach gap responsibility. - May have to adjust after the snap. - Fit-up with pinch and loop. - Our basic front moves. 3. Read and Key a. Read through lineman to back. b. If guard uncovered, heavy on guard. c. If guard covered, heavy on back. 4. Attack the Line of Scrimmage (communication terms vs. the run). a Force (ball straight ahead). -Attack straight ahead. -Keep outside shoulder free. b. Scrape (ball outside). - Step at 45 degree angle and attack upfield. - Mesh or fit-up tight with tackle to end (he’s outside, I’m inside and vice-versa). - Stay square. c. Plug (ball offside). - Step up at 45 degree angle and attack up-field. - Mesh or fit-up tight with nose (do not round angle). - Stay square (insure cutback, then shuffle and pursue). General Points on Attacking the Line of Scrimmage 1. Stay square and parallel. 2. Attack the line at tight angles, then shuffle. 3. Chop your feet. - Short steps. - Step first with away foot.

Diagram 15: Overload/ LB Blitz

Diagram 12

Pass Rush Knowledge 1. Think speed rush first. 2. If blocker is soft (or is giving ground), use power moves. 3. If blocker is meeting you, use finesse moves. 4. Take advantage of anything he gives you. 5. If blockers set takes away your original move, counter with another move. 6. Always keep your feet moving. Coaching Point Tell them enough, but not too much. Rush Technique 1. Speed 2. Rip 3. Swim 4. Power 5. Step Over (Cut Block) Pass Rush Drill 1. Work various techniques on a pop-up dummy. We have a structured weekly routine, when pass skeleton and team period starts,

Example: 52 Defense - Align inside eye on offensive guard’s outside eye. - Four-and-a-half yards deep. Example: Overload Blitz - Slide away from overload. - May show blitz on any call. Responsibility a. Use defensive front as anchor points to teach fit-ups.

• Proceedings • 77th AFCA Convention • 2000 •

we back off and primarily coach players who aren’t in (we make necessary corrections in meetings, rather than stopping play). I give a written test each Saturday morning before the game (more of a review). I make the test out as early in the week as possible, and teach the test all week. Use this test as a coaching guide for the week. Having a simple approach allows us to apply pressure in a variety of ways We build this on sound fundamentals of defense.

Melvin Smith, Defensive Secondary
First of all, I want to thank God, the AFCA, Coach Jackie Sherrill, Coach Joe Lee Dunn, and my fellow defensive coaches for providing me with such a wonderful opportunity. It is, indeed, special to be able to share some of the ideas and concepts that have worked for us here at Mississippi State University the past four years. I will talk to you about how we coordinate our base man coverage with the overloads afore-mentioned in this particular presentation. As most of you are aware, we are a multiple defense up front. It is very difficult to be multiple up front and multiple in the secondary as well. We employ very simple and precise schemes in our secondary. We do not like coverage mistakes, Coach Dunn is very adamant about each person knowing what to do and doing it to the best of his ability. It is my job to make sure that my guys know what and how to do their job. When we call Mad or Bad, we in the secondary are responsible for all adjustments, and we have one simple rule that we apply. We will never ask a linebacker or a defensive end to cover a guy that aligns himself outside of the tackle area or box. The coverage that we employ about 98 percent of the time with the overload is called Five Free. We will check this coverage from Five Free to Cover Five vs. any type of one back set. Five Free to us means that verses a conventional twoback, we will play man on all eligible receivers and have a free safety in the middle of the field. This is my favorite coverage because we have a hat on every one with help. This coverage will change to Cover Five vs. any type of one-back set. What this means is we will adhere to our rule, whereas, we don’t allow linebackers or ends to cover receivers outside the tackle area.

Adjustment Our defensive backs are responsible for all formation adjustments in this particular coverage. I will go over alignment and basic assignment responsibility vs. four of the most common used formations. We have two types of alignments at Mississippi State, a teaching alignment and a performance alignment. The teaching alignment is designed to make sure that each and every one has a starting point so that they can learn what to do. The performance alignment is the one employed in the game base on situations, ability, experience, and things of that nature. The alignment that we will cover is our teaching alignment.

Diagram 18: Mad Slam 5 Free vs. Ace, Cover 5

Diagram 16: Mad Slam 5 Free vs. I-Pro

Left Corner: Align inside, seven to nine yards. Left Safety: Align head-up, eight to ten yards. Right Safety: Align inside No. 2, five to seven yards. Right Corner: Align inside No. 1, seven to nine yards.

Diagram 19: Mad Slam - 5 Free vs. TE Trips, Cover 5

I Pro vs. MS-5F Teaching Assignments Corners align inside technique seven to nine yards deep and earn your scholarship. Don’t allow the receiver to catch the ball, especially on a slant. Left safety aligns head-up on tight end, eight to ten yards deep and fits inside of overload rusher in running game. Right safety aligns between linebackers 10-12 yards deep, play pitch on option to open side, play ball to tight end side.

Diagram 17: Mad Slam 5 Free vs. I Slot

Mad Slam-5F Vs. Tight End TripsCover Five Note: Tight end trips open vs. Mad Slam 5F. Left Corner: Align inside, seven to nine yards. Left Safety: Align inside, five to seven yards. Right Safety: Aligns head-up on tight end. Right Corner: Align inside technique, seven to nine yards.

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Vs. I-Slot Left Corner: Eight to ten yards up on tight end, fit inside overload. Right Corner: Seven to nine yards inside No. 1. Left Safety: Ten to twelve yards between linebackers, pitch to open side. Right Safety: Five to seven yards inside of No. 2. Ace vs. Mad Slam 5F Note: One back set checks 5F to Cover 5.

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• Proceedings • 77th AFCA Convention • 2000 •