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,,DEFENSIVE

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GUIDING PRINCIPLES

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The offense

will n eve r dicta t e

d e f e nsi v e

~ alignments', schemes, or . co v e r a q es .

Tho se '

issues will

be defensive

d ec i s i o n s .

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3)

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Sound option

Inherent . aspect > 6f every defensive sch e m e .

respon$i . bilit t esr11 u st b e : an

Every defensiye ' scheme must i nclude the

vertical .

defense

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of

four

The number of defensive

must equal the the box.

,

players i n the box

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number of offensive

playe r s In

Avoid the use of a fou r man side unless y o u

have calculated

the

risk . '

Eliminate the effectiveness

of the gap sche m e .

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Offensive coaches are creatures

full advantage

of that

fact.

of hab i t. T a k e

Be the offensive

coac h es ' worst n i ghtmare .

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ERSONNEL

holes.

Putting

the square

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in the

NOSE: He does not need to be big. Strength is important, but quickness

and , toughness are more important.

kid. Remember, the nose is a penetrator, His ability to escape and avoid

is paramount .

I personally look for a wrestler type of ,

3 TECH~IOUE:

this defense, everything.

becomes a key factor versus ' inside run.

like a kid who loves to build- his body, espec i ally his lower body.

He needs to be a bigger and well muscled type of kid.

starts with quickness ' .

However,

the

I look for a weight room body.

In

3 TECH

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5 TECHNIQUE: - This

courage are most important

is probably

our least skilled kid . ,

than physical attributes .

, , ~19settie - edge

and splatter arehis top tralts

Coachability and His willingness to

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9 ' TECHNIQUE:

This

is our best , athlete ~,

He needs to have the total '

package.

Height at this position is a ' definite plus,

MAC: This position requires

He must

sorrie size.

Heig h t is no t an i ssue; neither i s

on yo ur '

speed. , schedule ' .'

be

able to

physically handle the fullbacks

His ability

to read ' and: a willingness to attack are crucial.

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This ' kid will show up in many shapes and sizes .

1 look for one

thing:

A passion to get to the football.

That ' is not something you coa c h .

. " This kid "is my quarterback.

He understands the game :' He ' must ha ve t h e

, ability

to check audibles and keep you in the best situations

defens iv e ly .

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dimension:

nurtured. He must, however,

He mus t ' possess the qualities necessary to play LB with on e ad d e d

a greater

ability

to

run.

His touqhness

may ne ed t o

b e

be willing to ' run and hit.

These two

LB's who again possess a greater ability to run,

good tacklers.

SIS

AND W IS:

players' are interchangeable .

in this

defensive

scheme,

The y are r e a ll y

In ' addition, the y m u s t , be

a r e

Remember

the s afe t i es

typically

not accounted

for in the blocking scheme .

Obv i ous ly , w e w a n

our better

athletes at these positions.

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CORNERS:

These

kids are man guys.

I want as much

speed and

quickness as you can .find at this position .

Do not. worry about

toughness.

That must be nurtured.

I like track guys

and basketball guys. Remember,

you cannot

coach

speed. You must recruit

it.

Remember,

these'

are some guidelines that have worked for us. This is not

an exact science.

It is probably safe to say that you will have a few kids

1"-

out of position,

especially early in the season.

coni fort zone.

Study your film and talk to

your playersabouttheir

square pegs plugged in. Then just keep doing what you've been doing .

By game #3, you need to have your

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DEFENSIVE PH ILO SOPHY

,. Mul ti p l e Sc h eme .

~ 4-3 Tea c h ing ' Base .

, . M a tch C o v erage: C ombin a ti on Man to Man wI Zone Under

,. ,. Defend for m a t i ons n o t the field. ,. M ai nt ain an equa l pla y er ratio in the box. , . Simp l e reads / aggress i ve emphasis. ,. S t op t he run. ' Force team ' s to throw effectively. , . Do not expect inside LB's to ~efend the pass. '

Be Ga p S o und .

GENERAL INFQRMA TIQN

GAP ASSIGNMENTS

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INSIDE TEGINIQUES

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BASE DEFENSE

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POSITION

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RESPONSIBILITY

S tay on top of #1J2nd Contain -

BlOckReaction .

Block Reaction

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P~ecrati()n - .

Block Reaction Read R . ~action

Block Reaction Read R . ~action

Read Reaction . Read Reaction TE Man to Run Support Read Reaction

 

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EACHING THE SPLATTER

My research on offensive theory and philosophy has led me to one major conclusion. Defenses become ineffective when they fail to dose the edge versus any down block scheme. Therefore, it is imperative that we develop a defensive concept that addresses. this number one concern. In addition, I must stress that until we can effectively and consistently defeat the down block schemes , every thing else is immaterial.

Understand that this technique will be a radical change to what you are presently doing with your down guys. This technique encourages an aggressive take-off. We want these down kids to attack and react . Unlike most techniques, we do not want any contact with the offensive lineman versus a down block. Rather, we want the defensive player to run the foot line of the offensive lineman.

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· ALIGNMENT

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.In order to promote the urgency to close the edge,a1l four down guys will align in a tilted position. Aligriment will vary from player to player. Two basic rules prevail: 1) Get as much of the ba l l as y ou possibly can; 2 ~ leverage the outside shoulder of your offensive key.

STANCE

We want the inside foot back and the inside hand down . This 'alignment

do w n with his first step. With

outside foot back, a cross-over step would be required to accomplish the .:down move.

and foot position allows

the player to step

KEY (TRIGGER)

the

offensive lineman's near foot will tell us everything w e need to k no w . When the foot goes inside, we are screaming. We teach our kids to expect the down block In addition, we get our focus off the ball, off the cadence , and off an y other distraction.

We read the near foot of the offensive man . In our wa y, of : thinking ,

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4-3 FRONT ALIGNMEl'~T

The Screamer Drill gets the defensive lineman in an

attackattitude, TIiat is' critical for me. In addition, it also allows the coach to work with different anatomical problems that you will find with every kid. Flexibility;

visfon; : size . r ete , willchangetheallgnmentof

each kid.

TEACHINGPROGRESSION

In the summer, the first drill ' that we use is called

Screamer Drill . We do this in shorts and T-shirts.

It's a

. great drill to get kids : into a scream and splatter mentality. We always go on the movement of the QT . Coaching point: Teach all of your players from a 5 TECH.

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SCREAMERDRILL

COACH

. ~~~he second phase of the spladder pro-

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~.~ however, hand shieldsare worn by the .

offensive players. We control the physical aspect of the drill .

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This phase is done once you are in pads. It is the heart and soul of the scheme. Wewillintegrate every block . scheme our opponents will use in this drill . The primary schemes are rep ' d 75% of the time. They are as follows:

aT down/FB dive, or down/FB lead, O'I down/G pull, O'T pull/Ff block back, aT base, or hinge.

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The following ~ drills are critical to teaching and effectively implementing this defensi scheme. You must provide enough developmental time in your practice plan f~e . ~• to occu~

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G DEFENSIVE LINE: THE SPLATfER DRILL

Defensive reaction to the ''Down Block" is first and foremost in our teaching progression. All of our down guys work this drill from the 5 Technique. The thought process off the down plock is dive. trap chase, climb. The coach will point opt the offensive assignments. The drill begins on the movement of the QT .- Everyone watches him. (Note: We do not

use a ball in this drill.)

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Chase

Chase&Oimb

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70% of the drill time is reaction to the down block . The "Reach and the Hinge Block" are the other top priority blocks. Our basic thought process vs. these blocks is to get up field "

and find the ball.

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All of our down people, except for the nose, use these basic techniques. Thei r r elative distance from · the ball relates to the speed or time things occur.

Throughout my , IS years coaching linebackers, we have read guards, FB ' s, both backs an any other key. The concept that I will present is by far the best that I have found. The ke to this drill and the success of your linebacker play is the involvement of the safeties. In ' our , way of thinking , we play with FIVE LINEBACKERS NOT TIIREE . The overall thought process is one of remove and replace. The ~B never worries about what is behind him. Cutback is not his problem. This is a , critical coaching point . It promotes aggressive '

play! We 'want them running to the point of attack .

My early reluctancein playing the 4 - 3 centered around the three bubbles in the defense , Incorporating this drill and the reads associated with the drill removed any doubt about

the defense being soft .

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In order to set upthe Barrel Drill, you will need 4 garbage cans and 8 :- 10players. Our back-

ups provide the personnel for the drill

3 . reps to 10 reps for the starters) ', ' The

The second's get about 20% of the drin time. (2 or cans represent theposition of thedownIineman ,

· We .donotuse a ban and we goon

' . They createexceflentIandmarks

fortherunninglaries.

the movement of the TE. The Coach points out the movement to the offensiveplayers.

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The S, M, W, and W/S read the path of the

reacts to flow. We want to splatter the FB as deep as possible.

The S/S reads t he TE for block and then

The third drill that we work on is called the CORNER DRILL . We teach Man Techniq with our cornerbacks from day one. The three techniques we teach are PRESS, BAIL an

OFF

PRESS because that is the toughest thing to master

play press. During the season, we probably play press 20% of the time.

OFF is our base coverage. However, most of the coaching time is spent working on ' .

All summer, we want to

In all of these techniques, our focus is the extended receiver. Our primary mind-set is to take away the deep "all . Secondly, we do not allow any-yards after the catch. We tell our corners never expect anyh~]p! You have one man to defend. ' Cet the job done.

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The first phase of the Corner Drill is about positioning on your man. We do not use a

ball . W erotate4-5 corners irr this drill.

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We teach the corners to defend six things that tITeYwill typically see from a wide - out . (Fade, Slant, Post, Out, Curl, Stalk, and Crack)

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THOUGHTS ON TACKLING

I think that most coaches would agree that effective tackling is the key to any defense. The problem is how' you implement the techniques of tackling and how you maintain that sharpness throughout an extended season. Let's face it, you only have a certain number of players. The good ones play "NICKED-UP." That's a reality of the game. As coaches, we need to find a balance between the technical skills and. the brutality of the game. In 1991, I made a conscience effortto limit the amount of full speed (to the ground) contact, The approach paid-off as we maintained our overall health throughout twelve games. Here are a few of the ideas that we implemented ,

1. A daily low impact activity. that stresses "rolling your hips".

2. Eliminate 1 on 1 tackling drills.

3. "Live" 7 on7 Skelly Period., Weplay "Cover 0" and allow onlyone man to make the

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tackle.

"Live"

. 2 minute drill in the preseason .

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5. 30 minutes per day - Indy Drill, "Bang and Release".

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The techniques shown below teach the fundamentals of good tackling . These techniques do not require pads and can be imp l emented in your ~ummer workouts.

Form Position

PHASE:ffl

. The t ackler bends at the knees in a r eady position. ' His nose should touch the belt buckle of the offensive man.

On calli the defender will throw h i mself upward and catch the offensive man's shoulders .

The two players will be engaged and still . The defender w i IIn old this · p osi ti o n un tn - t he ' coac h says - - down. The finishedposit i on is an extremely arched · . back with the laces of shoes mak i ng contact with the ground. ' We are trying to promote "hitt i ng on rise ". This drill helps s t rengthen the lower back

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PHASE #2: In this phase, we want the defenders to get their f eet . m oviag - T he n w execu1e _ the - 1l : ! - - RQ - W - & - H6cB .

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PHASE #3: In

offensive man and assume the hitting position in Phase #2. They wait for the THROW COMMAND, Holding until the DOWN COMMAND.

players are 5 yards apart , On command; they sprint to the

this phase, the

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PHASE #4: In this phase, we will begin 5 yardsapart , We · will repeat Phase 3. However,

on command, the' defender will attempt

the coach calls down. This phase builds strength and timing. In addition,

the

to lift his man off the

ground. Again, hold until

the players learn

value of maintaining s,?me flex in their legs. If they lock up,

their hitting base is lost .

PHASE #5: Again we will repeat, Phase #3 &#4 . However, after the lift, we want some leg

drive. The defender

must walk his man four steps backward and hold. '

We do this 5 Phase routine everyday.

We fhid that these drills develop the strength and coordination of those muscle groups

specific to tackling.

It is part of our pre - game warm up on game night .

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In addition ; we ' ~ii rn , inat~ the . f~ar factor, especially in the inexperienced player.vl find that courage is directly related to confidence. The young players will get better. Remember,

they are all you've

got!

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The most common question that is asked . in regards to the 4 - 3 is a concern ' about Double Tight End formations. I will cover some of my thoughts on the issue. Number One: Don't screw with your front . I cannot stress that . near enough. Number two: Make it simple for the kids. Number three:

Maintain your man ratios in the box.

Our first adjustment is to bring the W/S down in-what we call a loaded position. He ~ll align o~n ; apoutside shade of the TE (similar to the SAM in Stack Defense). His key is the TE. His progression is Dive, Trap, Close, Climb. Identical reads as the 9 TECH. The Corner's match is the TE . Versus TE Block the corner will now be involved in the run ratio. Therefore, you must work ' theBf in the Barrel Drill. o

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for all ten players remain the same. Jf the Be is an aggressive

kid:-he could load up on the TE . The W/S gets more Barrel Drill time s6 it's

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· The second adjustment that we will make is called G - SEVEN.This takes ' . out of our outside shades on the weak side and puts us in two inside

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· 'One stunt I really like on the backside is NATO. We only use the stunt

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o u r STACK DEFENSE. We call this stunt TEAR .

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OPTION

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In order to . have a sound, effective

defensive package,

responsibilities must be understood and built into every scheme. If your BASE DEFENSEcannot stand up to the option, you need a new Base. ' Gimmicks vs. Option football will eventually -breakdown.

Since we attack and react versus. block schemes, option principles are taught from Day 1 in drill work . Small - Group or 1/2 line option drills will coordinate player responsibilities. (NOTE: We never use a ball when

coaching option responsibility.)

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READ . CALL

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RE . ADCALL is our Bas~ scheme vs Option. We are always prepared for the . threat of option. 'YQumay . see it at any - time. COACHING POnIT:Optio n . ·

• - : » :> respcrisfbilitiesaredetermlned

WEAK SIDE VEER

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EASY CALL

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EASY CALL Is the second way we handle option. In theEA$Y CALL, we

predertermine all option responsibilities. This makes for a good change up. However, natural seams are created because we will not close hard off the

d o wn block .

COACHING :POINT: The EA.5Y CALL matches to 4-4 Principles rather than 4-3 principles. 50 as we align personnel, the defense takes on a 4-4 appearance.

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BOOTLEG

In most defensive schemes, the responsibility to contain QB BOOTis placed on the Defensive End. In this scheme, the responsibility for contain will only rest on the DE if the Of is ina Ba . seor Reach Block , If the O'T turns back to block the "B gap", the 5 TECH will "treat this as a down block and . hopefully will splatter the pulling guard. This removes all QB ' responsibility from the ' DE . The primary Boot player in this scenario is the W/S~ He is the cutback player on flow away. Boot action is counter-action to us. The QB must be treated as a potential run threat. The W/S must main tain his leverage and become . the primary forte . on the QB. Since we are in match coverage, all potential receivers are covered .

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.' Another ' critical coaching point with respect to BOOTis with the LE'S. I make a major point when coaching the LE's about the intensity of the running backs. I find tha( . the intensity for attacking the LOS is ' diminished. Even the well coached RBIs do not sell the run on BOOT . Therefore, BOOTReaction for the LB's must be schooled every day. This is . done in the Barrel Drill .

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Boot to the TE is treated the same way. However, the SAM'is now the

. ·· · · clltbackplayer

·· l : f · wee . xpect ' Strohg Side ·· Bod~We · willgame·

' plan " llie .

SAlvI .We will Widen his alignment in Base Defense, Stack Defense puts the SA1 ' vfonthe LOSand he would have the QB- on Boot .

One last coaching point:

established with respect to BOQT,an EDGEBlitz will discourage it .

If a Down 'and Distance tendency can be

WAGGLE

Waggle action is not an issue to

the same side Of the formation. The path of the FE'will bring the MAC directly to ' the QB. SAM has the FE in the flat. ' The Will works to wall the

us because the FB and the QB end up on

Post. If the QB .

theWILL get too deep on his run read, he will continue to pressure

NOTE: The W/S

has the TB on throwback screen.

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BLITZ

, L willshew - y ou -threebli tze s th athave Wi thsto~d the test of time. W~'' ' ' ;··:~~·~~ri~

pr a ctice these blitzes versus every conceivable aligiunent and pla y. ' R e m e mb e r, there is a risk factor associated with any blitz. A . ' properly ti m ed bl i tz may create a huge play. A poorly executed blitz could cost vou a game.

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Because of the . a ggr e ssive nature of this defense ! you will li m it the use of the blitz. That's really a blessing ; Calculate the risk and be sure that your kids are prepar~d to h~< : lle as many situations as , they are likely to see.

RULES FOR BLITZING

1) Not all kids are good blitzers . Find t he good ' ones and l et ' em go.

2) Option r e sponsibilities must be thorough l y . drilled for ever y BUTZ ~

All ,Blitzes are

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' 3}Li r i i i i the number of BLITZESyou use. Quality not quantity.

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Personnel, Blocking Scheme, Down/D i stance, etc.) 5) ' Provide enough pr a ctice time to SChooland practice all your B I lTZES . 6) When in doubt , DON'T BUTZ!

Find atendencyand/ or a weakness and attack it with a BilTZ . (ie .

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. , BLAST/COVERZERO

This is my #1 BUTZ. It is the best BLITZin all of football and it is one of the simplest to teach. It is really a 4-4 BLITZ. We shoot the MACand t he WILLinto both "A GAPS" . It puts . pressure on the Ce n terand t he Fullback i n BLITZPICK-UPsituation s .

~OACHING POINT: Treat all BLITZESas RUN BLITZES. Never let a

RB

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Prababl~ Cause all RB ' s . The QB is our last con:ern :

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. backs are looking for internal pressure.

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I like this versus turn back or Sprint Protection.

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DOUBLE WING/DOUBLE TIGHT BONE

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-~ - -- - ----- - --- Rece n tly t hesetWo -- sets and the offensive play selection that aceompany ,

I believe that the philosophy is

. similar to the Service Academies (Air Force, Army, etc.). They rely on finesse and deception, multiple sets, no huddle, etc.; as the attempt to do more with less is- crucial.

these sets

have returned to the game.

This past season we faced these offensive styles.in the playoffs. Initially, it was a serious cause for concern. We had only seen one true Winged-T team ' all year and Double Tight sets were in goal line offense situations. We hadfive days to prepare. The major question was, can _we stay inour 4-3 Base. The answer isyou must. Here's what we did!

LUCKY/RINGO

DEFENSE

Thefirst .thing. : we , did was to analyze J t : heit ' Offerise ~, ~() were their big playguys? What did they want to hang their hat on? How effective were they throwing the ball?

The first opponent averaged 4.5 , passes per game . Their FE had 1300 yards in 9 ball games. They had good size in the line and played a number

of kids both ways.

Winged-T.The one TE had 20 catches for the season.

They ran the option" the belly series, and some

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After two days of second-guessing and experimentation, we conduded that

we must maintain our concepts up front. We had come too far to change now. After all, if we were to lose faith in the scheme, what would ' the kids do. We stayed with the Base Front- but we made some "read" changes and

.: included what we called

LUCKYfRINGO

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Technique for the down kids remained the same. We thentook

our SAM and BC and put them nose to nose with the TE 1 s. ' They had the TE

man to man. We gave these kids one job: DON1T

B~. If they made any other contribution on ~e night, it was a bonus .

LET THE TE CATCHA

Next we took the 1v1ACand the WILL and gave them Split Back reads. This is something you will need to do early in your season because the FB reads

ar e I Back read s . Split bask reads are simple: If he comes, I come. If he

goes away, I stay. ' If hegoes outside, I stay. ~

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Next , 'we dealt with the FE . Remember, he had 1300 yards i n 9 games. We .put our w i ld card player on him. I knew that the FB was going to touch _ the ball often. I wanted our kid down hillin his face every ti me . (Also, we "booked" the QB in the option game. This means that we really did not put .a JTIan responsibility o n him. I wanted the QB to beat us r unning the ball . )

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S5 worked off the FB DIVE to help on the belly.

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COACHING POINT:

We schooled the SIS to see the dive fake.

deep enough to be_?:_~l!g:psonthe second back .

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of the scheme dealt with our C and WIS.

Film study led me

TIlE PATH' OF THE HALFBACKS DICTATED \

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Of . THE ' FARHB ,

, WOULP : SELL , THE PLAY. ' So we usedanoldLbconceptwlth . our

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1) If my back shows option, beat him to the spot' and probable cause "

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If my back runs an isolation ' on the LB, run to it inside out.

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If my back runs the Belly, maintain outside leverage.

the -next concern was an ' adj ustmen t to the Double ~Ving. This

~o s~ift tp Double Wing. F.oru: ~e adjus~ent~as simple

Just matched ' off on the wings Just as we would versus a Wlnged-T tearn

team lik~d C and W/S '

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If the Wing motioned, they would run with their man ~_ jROYCALl}- _

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have a cut back player.

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-We installed - all the - comporierrisonTuesday . - Thufsda) i; the ' kidsreally . felt

good. As the comfort zone grew, we added more of OUf . old stuff.

1) We ' added TEAR & NATOstunts to the

TEAR

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NATO

2) We sharked the 1'-1AC and the WILL. Nothing

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- --- ~ - ) - we : r a n BLAST. The only change here back man to oman.

was the C & W/S had their

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package . -We used our "Bla~t Blitz" only

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WINGED-T

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This offensive concept has been around for a long time. More and more teams are utilizing the schemes especially at the high school .level . The structure of the offense is very adaptable for high school . The results

speak for themselves.

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Defending the WINGED-Tis quite a challenge. I believe that the attack 4-3 is the best way to defend it for several reasons.

1)

Penetration causes execution problems.

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Splatter technique hurts the "gap or down block scheme."

3)

The ability to incorporate your safeties in the run ratio leaves them unblocked. - .

4) . Match coverage provides extra runsupport . ; 5) . the threatof 4verticai is nevera problem .

Your game plan vs the WINGED-Tmust include a few elements that allow you to dictate what

1) · You must elimnate the run game to the TE side. 2) . You mustbeable to adjust to quick motion. 3) You must - cover all possible receivers versus Boot and Waggle. 4) Be sound versus misdirection.

We start with our BASEversus WINGED-T,with one adjustment. The S/S and the Fe switch men. We want the Fe to be matched to a stationary guy - and the S/S to be matched to a traveler .

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The WIS is matched to the HE and makes a VERTI-ALERTCALL . · FOUR VERTICALis always a threat.

The first premise it to eliminate the TE Run game. We do this with a WING KILLCALL . What we wan t is vertical penetration through the inside gap of the wing and the inside gap of the TE . We do this 2 different - ways .

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The SAM must be alert to the QB BOOTsince he , is the cut back player to the TE side.

Penetration is a major concern for WINGED-T TEAMS. It disrupts timing

and interferes with backside pullers. I devised a Blitz mechanism that has beenextremely effective versus WINGED-TTeams. We call it . MQ BLITZ. '

Quick motion triggers the

blitz

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They can counter with the other Wing or FE . That condition is already accounted for in our cut back scheme .

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NOTE: . As an integral part of our overall cutback theory, the WIS is responsible for QB Boot .

The next concern is quick motion. You must understand that quick motion changes the offensive player ratio. Therefore, we must have a method of changing our player ratio.

We do this. with a Roy or Bobby Call . These calls relate to the safety

Remember, you . only need to .

rotation that must occur with quick motion

rotateaway from the

HeIs your extra,

The ROY CALL isa mahcall. ; The SISmmntains his man and moveswith

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A BOBBYCALL is a SWITCH call between the SIS and the WIS. The S/S would bump the W IS and take his man. The WIS would become the contain player or extra.

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In . our . match . coverage . we - account

for every potential receiver including the QJ3. I find that most WINGED-T teams expect the Boot Pass to be · a Big Play for them. We want to eliminate it from their game plan.

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Those are the basic concerns that I have with respect to , the Tendencies that surface throughout HIm study must be covered. Down/Distance tendencies must really be obvious to make them an issue. I find that Down/Distance tendencies that happen during the game are more reliable.