Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 9

Two-Back Run Fits Teaching Fast Flow and Leverage in an 8-Man Box by: Mike McMahon

December 2011 Copyright American Football Monthly

Fast Flow rules assign specific roles to each linebacker which creates an eighth defender and gives the defense an advantage. One of the first lessons I learned as a young coach was grounded in Bill Walshs logic. He said, A system should never reduce the game to the point where it simply blames the players for failure because they did not physically overwhelm the opponent. In my first year of college coaching, Coach Mike Van Diest the exceptionally successful head coach at NAIA powerhouse Carroll College explained that two-back run fits demand winning the numbers game against the offense. He called it Fast Flow Rules, and, now that I am a coordinator ten years later, much of my understanding of two-back run fits can be traced back to this system. At the University of Mary, as long as the offense stays in one-back formations, we will play single-gap control defense. Our head coach, Myron Schulz, will often tell our players: One back equals one back, reinforcing to them that every player is responsible for a single gap vs. the run. As soon as the offense creates a two-back formation, however, single gap control quickly falls apart. To demonstrate this foundational concept, we can examine one of the most basic run plays in football - the isolation play to the bubble, or open B-gap. For simplicitys sake, our diagrams will show our base 3-4 defense that we run a reduced to an Under front vs. a 21 Personnel, Pro I formation (Diagram 1).

Diagram 1: Base 3-4 Defense

Many coaches might tell the Sam linebacker that he has the B-gap and the Will linebacker that he has the A-gap. As a young coach just entering the college game, that was certainly my understanding. Once the fullback inserts in the B-gap, however, the offense has created an extra gap. Unless the Sam linebacker is a vastly superior player to the fullback, the fullbacks block will force the linebacker to choose one side or the other. The tailback will cut to daylight off of the fullbacks block, and if the Will stays backside, the play is sure to gain solid yardage (Diagram 2).

Diagram 2: Fullback in the B-Gap Of course, the Will linebacker can take away the front side of the isolation play by scraping over the double-team combo and fitting off of his Sam linebacker. While this strategy is certainly preferable, many offensive coaches will teach the tailback to read the backside linebacker on iso. Even a mediocre running back can see the Will fly over the top of the double team and bounce back to the backside A-gap (Diagram 3).

Diagram 3: Will Runs to Backside A-Gap Without additional run support in the tackle box, the Sam and the Will linebackers cannot consistently stop this basic play without help. According to Coach Walshs logic, if the offense does its job and the defense does not physically overwhelm the opponent, then the RB should have a tremendous game. This dilemma is not limited to an under front. A 4-3 team can easily find themselves in a two-linebacker box against a standard 20 personnel formation (Diagram 4) or even vs. an offense that features a slot player (Diagram 5). Much of todays modern defense has been dedicated to finding a method to play sound defense without adding an extra defender to the box. While there are many strategies for playing the box short including line stunts such as the pirate and coaching the frontside linebacker to eliminate a cutback by violently spilling (wrong arming) all blocks the most obvious way to firm up run fits is to add the eighth player to the box.

Diagram 4: Vs. 20 Personnel

Diagram 5: Vs. a Slot Player No coach reading this article will find this insight earth-shattering. Common sense tells us that if seven players cant stop the run, try eight. Many under front defenses accomplish this by inserting a secondary player to the weak-side as the eighth defender. As soon as we insert an eighth defender, instead of telling each player that they are responsible for one gap as we do in a one-back formation we now operate under Fast Flow Rules. By assigning specific roles to each of

the three linebacker-level defenders, our players will know exactly who to key and how to fit all gap and zone plays from the offense. Of the three linebacker-level defenders, the player in the middle is defined as a Fast Flow player (Diagram 6). The other two linebacker-level defenders one on each side of the Fast Flow player are labeled Leverage players. The Fast Flow player keys the fullback, follows his path, and makes the play inside out. If the fullback tries to block him, then the Fast Flow player spills or wrong arms all fullback blocks out to his adjacent Leverage player. The Fast Flow player, then, becomes the extra defender when the fullback creates an extra gap on iso.

Diagram 6: Fast Flow and Leverage Players The Leverage players key their near guard first, then see the fullbacks path. If they get an iso play to their side, these players make the play outside in. If the fullback tries to block him, the Leverage player must Box or leverage the fullbacks block back to their Fast Flow player. If the fullback goes away, then the backside Leverage player stays behind the play for the tailback cutback in the open window (Diagram 6). This point is crucial. There is no need for the backside Leverage player to get over the top on a play away. He can stay backside, and he will also pick up any low crosser from the far side of the play on a play-action pass (Diagram 7).

Diagram 7: Vs. a Play-Action Pass

By teaching the linebacker-level defenders their role in run fit, the players quickly recognize that the offense is outnumbered. They see that if they fit the play correctly, the defense will always have an unblocked defender ready to make the play. In order to execute these assignments effectively, our players will often cheat their alignments. The Fast Flow player will align nearly over the center, and the Leverage players will widen over the tackles. Naturally, the rules and keys for these linebackers carryover for other gap and zone scheme plays. If the players trust their reads, then their fit will logically follow. Diagram 8 shows a lead zone play to the A-gap. Diagram 9 shows a toss play to the TE side, with each player fitting according to their key.

Diagram 8: Lead Zone Play A-Gap

Diagram 9: Toss Play to TE Side Diagram 10 shows a standard Power O play to the TE side. The Sam linebacker will first read the down block from his OG, then get his eyes on the fullback to see his track. When the fullbacks track leads outside, the Sam will follow. The Will who is the Fast Flow player sees the fullbacks path and follows, running through the first open window he sees and spilling all blocks. The free safety sees the guard pull and begins to follow, getting his eyes on the fullback. Once he sees that the fullback is away, he will take a path to tackle the tailback that denies cutback.

Diagram 10: Power Play to the TE Side

While our defense allows us to add substantial variety to these basic fundamentals of Fast Flow Rules, our staff still uses their central lesson as a cornerstone in two-back run fits. While many alternative methods exist for stopping the run against two-back formations, our staff often comes back to this concept as we attack opponents. We feel that by teaching Fast Flow Rules, we ask our players to perform essential tasks that are within the limits of their ability, allowing them to play with confidence. Mike McMahon is completing his fifth season on the staff at the University of Mary. He has been the defensive coordinator since 2008. McMahon also coached at both Utah State and Carroll College, his alma mater. He holds a Bachelors Degree from Carroll and a Masters from Utah State.

More Articles on this subject: March, 2008 Shutting Down the Zone Option April, 2007 Playing it Safe In the Red Zone