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Inside TCU's 4-2-5 Defense - Building The Dam

by Jake Bertalotto on Sep 3, 2010 10:47 AM PDT in Oregon State Football




I may be on my way, but I'm nowhere close to being an expert on football philosophy. Fortunately, we have one of the best in the business when it comes to the X's and O's of football-- Dr. B at Shakin' in the Southland, SB Nation's Clemson Tigers blog. Clemson lost to TCU last season 17-10, and in preparation for that game, Dr. B put together an excellent preview of TCU's 4-2-5 defense. But before we get into the specifics, let's start with the basics. The main advantage of running the 4-2-5 is speed. In the age of the spread offense, teams are trying to create space for their fastest players. This defense is the answer to the spread-- five defensive backs and two linebackers, which eliminates the pressure that would be put on a middle linebacker in, say, a 4-3-4 look. But Oregon State doesn't run the spread-- how will TCU adjust? I reached out to Stefan Stevenson, TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, to ask him about this very thing. With Jacquizz Rodgers in the backfield and three receivers split wide, wouldn't it seem that more run support would be needed? "Yes, they'll cheat a safety up near the line, maybe two," Stevenson said via an e-mail. "That's what they do against Air Force and the triple option. Sometimes they'll bring in a third linebacker in place of a safety." So there you have it. We can study the base 4-2-5 look all we want, but Gary Patterson and defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas may have other plans on how to bottle up Jacquizz, with so much time to prepare. After the break, you'll find plenty more information on the intricacies of the defense.

An interesting thing I read about Patterson's defense is the way he teaches it. This quote comes from an article Patterson published at a Nike Clinic, via DrB: Our fronts and coverages have nothing to do with each other. The front is called by the use of a wristband. We break down our first 6 or 7 opponents and put the fronts on the player's wristbands. We dont have to teach anything new to our players during the season. The team's may change, but the fronts do not. We do teach during the season, but we dont have to re-teach our fronts. Also, he divides the secondary down the middle for pass coverages: "We divide our packages into attack groups. The 4 DL & 2 LB's are one segment of our defense. We align the front 6 and they go one direction. The coverage behind them is what we call a double-quarterback system. We play with 3 safeties on the field. We have a strong, weak and free safety. The free and weak safeties are going to control both halves of the field. They are the quarterbacks and they will make all the calls... ...In our coverage scheme we are going to divide the formation at the center every snap. We play with 5 defensive backs in the secondary... ...[If the passing strength is to the defensive left] the FS calls ‘read' left. The FS is going to talk to the LCB, SS, and the read side LB. The weak safety aligns on the other side and talks to the right corner and right LB... ...Starting in spring practice, the 1st Mon. we teach Cover 2 (Robber). On Tues. we teach our Blue coverage (quarters)....On Wed. we teach squats-&-halves coverage (Cover 5). After that we are done teaching our zone coverages... ...We don't worry about formations any more. When you divide the formation down the middle, to each side there are only 3 formations the offense can give the secondary. The offense can give you a pro set, which is a tight end and wideout; a twin set, which is 2 wideouts; or some kind of trips set that the defense will have to defend. That is all they can give you. In 3 days we teach our kids to line up in all 3 coverages against those formations...when we start talking about our game play, we never talk about lining up. All we talk about is what the opponent is going to be doing and how we are going to adjust to it. Unless the offense lines up in a 3-back wishbone or a no-back set, there are only 3 ways the offense can be aligned and still be sound. Unless we want the coverage to overplay something to one side, we don't worry about formations.... We'll now turn to Dr.B from Shakin' in the Southland, who will run us through TCU's secondary packages (emphasis mine).

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In the secondary we have 3 basic zone coverages. the SS and CB will matchup across the LOS with the FS playing deep-half. there will only be the WS and CB on the #1 receiver. In most of these the offense is in a spread look.buildingthedam@gmail. The problem with a 4-2-5 has usually been inadequacy against the rush. check out this video of TCU defensive highlights from last year. for example. Cover 5. If #2 to flat. The CB is not responsible for them..Building The Dam http://www. FS has #2 vertical. or Man defense.. Otherwise he goes with him on the post. The 1st digit in the number is the FS side and the 2nd digit is the weak 2 of 3 3/12/2012 7:19 PM . SS stays with him. Together with a cover 2 robber scheme to the other side. With 3 DBs playing on the strongside. If the hips sink. curl. only one side. Against a Strong offset-I formation. and play Cover 2 Robber to the side of the passing strength. the CB calls "in" or "out" and the SS must get under the route to "rob" them.Inside TCU's 4-2-5 Defense . They almost never play the whole field in Cover 5. Cover Blue: Cover Blue is a cover 2 "Read". What they tend to do against 2-back sets is slide a safety down into the box. What is Cover 2 Robber? To the 2 WR side. Then the SS jumps the route. If #1 runs an in/out route. In this case the FS and WS will cover the #1 receiver. The difference between robber and blue is who has flat. Blue is 2 read but safety run support (SKY). We split the difference in those 3 coverages and it gives us 9 total coverages. SS has #2 flat. In other playbooks I've read. where the FS and WS both have ---------Coverages For the majority of the time. and the corners are in a read (called Blue technique) which means they will follow the #1 receiver vertical unless #2 releases outside before 8 yards deep.. Also. CB plays outside #1 but on top of route if #2 blocks. and the combination will play what is called "squat and half" coverage or "bracket" coverage. not the Split-end side. This means the CB will come up to try to squat or sit on routes (bumping the WR at the LOS) with the WS playing deep coverage. The FS watches the backfield for play-action. . Both defenders maintain high-low coverage throughout the receiver's route. --Jake | (jake. the Robber coverage call is unaffected.. Note that by "weak" I am talking about passing strength. recall the coverage is called by the S to each side. but with Cover 3 in zone-blitz situations. except that the first defender never peels off the receiver to defend the flat. If #2 runs vertical. the FS is meant to get under On the weak side. If #2 runs an out. which are not as good at receiving as two true WRs to the strong side. That means we are playing Cover 2 (Robber) to the FS side and Cover 5 to the weak safety side. and once he reads pass his eyes immediately go to the #2 (slotman). so it looks like a 4-3. TCU still manages to have one of the best rush defenses in the country because of these presnap shifts. Generally on a wheel route. CB stops feet and WS gets over top of #1. If #2 runs an out. ---------Is your mind boggled yet? If you want to see what this looks like in action. The Free and Weak safeties are playing 2 deep zone with 5 men playing zone underneath. Cover 5: A true Cover 2 look with CBs in Cloud (they have run support). The weak side would be a TE and Flanker. but not in TCU's. In a sense this is also Cover 4 (quarters). so it might as well be man/man. for example.We can also play cover 25. he's going to break and stop (like a curl).. the SS waits for #1 and is watching for a curl or post route by watching the guy's hips. rob #1.. they run the FS down and leave the SS underneath. On posts. Cover 5 is a Cover 2 Man-under scheme. it would be difficult for the QB to read. Despite the lack of another LB. TCU runs a matchup zone coverage. Bracket coverage looks a little like a Cover-2 zone. Cover 2 Robber: CB has #1 deep and post. curl and wheel responsibilities. TCU is a Cover 2. TCU will shift their LBs over to the strongside (called a slide) and slide the WS down into the box at the last second. He'll be underneath the route most likely to "rob" it.

2010 12:26 PM PDT via mobile Here's one vote for way more of these. 2010 4:45 PM PDT Comments Nice post. Beavers at TCU Horned Frogs. 2010 1:39 PM PDT via mobile Seconded.Building The Dam http://www. 2010 10:48 AM PDT damn nice research. "Twin-headed infinite swirling vortex of grotesque suckitude known as Tony Clark and Eric Byrnes" by sergey606 on Sep 3. WTY's ERA+ = 147 : . Jake. TCU is good.Kevin Frandsen > Brandon Wood?????? by Figgi4life on Sep 3. Oregon St.buildingthedam. Beavers.) -.Kevin Frandsen > Brandon Wood?????? by Figgi4life on Sep 3. James freakin' Do you like this story? Like 22 people like this.) -. Read More: opponent previews. Inc. Beast. by The Orange Joe on Sep 3. WTY's ERA+ = 147 : . OpenCalais . TCU Horned Frogs. Jake.Powered by Thomson Reuters 3 of 3 3/12/2012 7:19 PM . We’ll see what happens thought. Sep 4. huuuge thanks & props. Oregon St.Inside TCU's 4-2-5 Defense . From a (wanna-be) football scheme-&-strategy nerd. Frequently Asked Questions Terms of Use Privacy Policy Guiding Principles up Newsletter Signup About SB Nation Advertise With Us Jobs @ Vox Media Contact Us Certain photos copyright © 2012 by Associated Press or Getty Images. 2010 1:56 PM PDT via mobile Comments For This Post Are Closed Copyright © 2012 Vox Media. All rights reserved. 2010 12:17 PM PDT "Is your mind boggled yet?" Yes. by ArbyOSU on Sep 3. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Associated Press and Getty Images is strictly prohibited.