MQ Film Study: App. State vs UNC (2019)

I’m always interested in teams that can do more with less. Appalachian State has been one of those teams. Starting in 2014, the Mountaineers began playing in the FBS (D1). They had instant success going 7-5 and couldn’t play in a bowl due to NCAA eligibility rules. The following year (2015) would be even better. App. State would end the season with an 11 win season only losing to Clemson and eventual Sun Belt conference champion in Arkansas St. (9-4/8-0). 2015 would also see the defense reach the top 25 in Defensive Efficiency. Outside of ’17, the defense has held a spot in the top 25, even reaching #6 in ’18. Impressive for a team that six seasons ago was playing in the FCS (D-1AA).

Nate Woody (current Army DC) would lead the Mountaineers until 2017 when he left to be the DC at Georgia Tech with former Head Coach Paul Johnson. Defensive back coach, Bryan Brown (DC, Louisville) would step into his place and have instant success. The defense would see its best year since joining the FBS. Head Coach Scott Satterfield would leave after 2018 and take the Louisville job, Brown would also follow him. Then NC State OC Eli Drinkwitz and DC Ted Roof (also from NC State) would leave their posts in Raleigh and head west to Boone. Again the defense would dominant the Sun Belt and finish in the top 25 in DEff. “Drink” would parlay the success of ’19 into the Head Coaching job at Missouri. Roof would leave for the DC job at Vanderbilt.

In the past four years, App. State has beaten North Carolina and South Carolina, took Penn. State to overtime, and almost beat a #9 ranked Vols team in overtime. Since ’15, the Mountaineers have only failed to win 11 games once (’17, 9-4) with the high watermark coming in ’19 (13-1, #20 CFP). That’s pretty impressive for a relatively “small” program nestled in the mountains of North Carolina. There is definitely something in the water in Boone, NC.

Throughout the multiple coaching transitions, the defensive scheme has stayed relatively the same. In fact, the App. State Tite Front defense is a great baseline look at how many teams around the country are playing Tite Quarters. Even Roof who came from a completely different tree stuck with the defense in ’19. This is similar to when Todd Orlando (DC USC) followed Dave Aranda (HC Baylor) at Utah St. and kept the defense that that was already there. The Mountaineers looked almost identical in ’19 as they would have the five previous years. Though Roof changed a few things (everyone has a personality), the foundation was there. The saying, “If it ain’t broke why fix it?” applies here.

Related Content: MQ’s primer on the Tite Front

The Mountaineers run what I call a reduction defense. This means they are using an edge rusher from the field or boundary to add in as a fourth rusher. This doesn’t mean they don’t use the interior delayed rush seen often in Tite defenses. With smaller D-linemen, the Mountaineers have opted to use movement as a base. This allows the defense to get their quicker linemen penetrating gaps versus larger opponents. The constant movement also puts pressure on the O-line post-snap. One issue with a true Tite Front is the static alignments and the ability of the D-line to hold gaps. If you are getting blown off because the O-line is superior to your smaller D-line, then you have issues. App. State solves this with movement.

One game in particular highlighted App. State’s ability to defend a Power 5 offenses in its game with North Carolina. The game a great study on how to defend what has become the prototypical offense of the NCAA. The use of a hybrid TE that can align as a Slot, FB, or TE has become a staple for most offenses at the college level. Former UNC OC Phil Longo (now Ole Miss) challenges defense with what you would expect out of this type of offense: QB runs/reads, RPOs, and a mixture of gap and zone schemes. App. State is a great counterpart because their defense is essentially the NCAA Tite/Mint defense that has, like Y-off, become the standard in college football.

The goal of this film study is to look at how App. State fits the run using their Tite Front structure. UNC, as stated, is a great baseline look at where the modern collegiate offense stands. Zone, Power, Counter, Stretch, and Slice Option are all looked at. The scheme developed by the Mountaineers reflects much of the ideals seen across the country and answers basic questions about how to fit runs from the Tite Front from a two-high shell.

Related Content: The Georgia Mint Package


The App. State Defense

01 App St Base 3-4 Continue reading “MQ Film Study: App. State vs UNC (2019)”

MQ Chess Match Ep. 6 – Saints vs Bucs (2019)

In this episode of MQ Chess Match, Coach A. details a 5-man pressure used by the Buccaneers on early downs versus the Saints. Though the Bucs didn’t win the game (beat 34-17), this simple 5-man pressure illustrates how defenses can manipulate pass pro to get a free hitter. 5-man pressures, in particular, are great on early downs because they are usually gap sound. The Trap 2 coverage is also great on early downs where defense is not expecting shot plays.



For more videos & clinics like this, make sure to checkout MatchQuarters’ YouTube.

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

Breaking Down Your Offensive Opponent

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

MQ Chess Match Ep. 5 – Kansas City vs Chicago (Tampa 2 Study – ’19)

In this episode of MQ Chess Match, Coach A. breaks down one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL versus one of the better defenses in the league. The Chiefs offense took the NFL by storm, scoring its way to a Super Bowl victory. The Bears finished the 2019 season in the top 10 in DVOA, meaning they were one of the more efficient defenses in the league. One scheme in particular showed up as a major scheme against the Chiefs, Tampa 2. Coach A. illustrates how the Bears used this scheme in an attempt to slow the Chiefs down.



For more clinics like this be sure to checkout MQ’s YouTube channel.

 

 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

Breaking Down Your Offensive Opponent

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

 

MQ Chess Match Ep. 4 – Dallas vs New England (’19)

In this episode of MQ Chess Match, Coach A. breaks down a top NFL matchup. The Cowboys were #2 in ODVOA in 2019. That means they were one of the most efficient offenses in the league in 2019. New England had a historic year on D and finished #1 in DDVOA. Coach breakdown several plays that detail the schematic matchups seen in the game.



For more clinics like this be sure to checkout MQ’s YouTube channel.

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s other books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

MQ Pressure Tape: Virginia vs Notre Dame (2019)

Virginia’s Head Coach, Bronco Mendenhall brought his attacking defensive style with him to Charlottesville after his long stint at BYU. Though the Cavaliers are not in the upper echelon of defense, the defensive staff at Virginia has found ways to cause havoc for opposing QBs. The program as a whole has been slowly rising their standard of play with 2019 being a high watermark accumulating nine wins. The most wins since 2007.

Defensively, the Cavs are not the most efficient defense in the country (#71 in DEff), but they made it count in “havoc stats” (3rd Down, TFLs, & Turnovers). The Cavs didn’t accumulate many turnovers (18/t-64th), but they were in the top 2t in TFLs (#22/7.1 a game) and Sacks (#9/3.29 a game). Their 3rd Down percentage was in the top third as well, with opponents only gaining a 1st Down on 36% of their attempts. Finally, the Cavs were 23rd in Busted Drives, which is the percentage of opponent offensive drives that earn zero or negative yards.

MQ will take a look at Virginia’s matchup with Notre Dame. The Irish were a top-25 offense in OEff (#25), winning 11 games, and only losing to Michigan and Georgia. Virginia would lose the battle but accumulated five TFLs and four sacks against a program that is known for offensive line play.


Pressure Tape

This particular pressure is a favorite among those attacking the middle of the line with a Bear Front. The Cavs align in a four-down Bear. They get to this from a typical four-down Jet Front (5s/3s) used by most four-down teams to attack pass-pro on 3rd Down. Mike shades the center to the RB’s side making it a five-man front. This type of alignment forces man blocking across the front. The RB will be in charge of the Will LB. This places a static blocker on a rusher coming from depth.

Continue reading “MQ Pressure Tape: Virginia vs Notre Dame (2019)”

Chess Match Ep. 3 – Titans vs Ravens (Div. Round ’19)

In this episode of MQ Chess Match, Coach A. takes a look at how the Tennessee Titans defended the prolific Lamar Jackson. Coach breaks down three main topics found in the game: man coverage, fitting Slice Read, & Inverted Tampa. Each topic is broken down in several clips. For more clinics like this be sure to subscribe and checkout MQ’s YouTube channel.



 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

Breaking Down Your Offensive Opponent

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

Chess Match Ep. 2 – New England vs Los Angeles (N) [SB ’19]

In this episode of MQ Chess Match, Coach A. takes a look at the now-famous defense used to stop the high-powered LA offense. This 6-1 scheme killed the Rams’ ability to attack the perimeter, essentially killing their wide zone scheme and play-action. Coach details the nuances in the scheme and the techniques used in the secondary to eliminate LA’s offensive prowess.

For more clinics like this be sure to checkout MQ’s YouTube channel.



© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s other books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

The Cyclone Pressure Package

MQ takes its annual look at the Cyclones’ defense.

By now everyone is familiar with the structure of Iowa State’s 3-3-3 or Broken Stack defense. In fact, most of the Big 12 has begun to use this defensive structure as it’s base look. Clemson’s own Brent Venables and staff even traveled to the Ames, IA to discuss how to run the defense with Cyclone Defensive Coordinator, Jon Heacock. Venables wanted to see how a defense that is built to stop the constant onslaught of high-powered offenses could hold the top spot in run defense in the Big 12. Clemson used the defense early in 2019 when they took on Texas A&M and would turn to it to help secure a victory in this year’s College Football Playoff victory over Ohio State.

Related: MQ Pressure Tape – Clemson D vs Ohio State O

What started as a shot in the dark for a struggling defense has begun an epoch change in college football’s defense of the Spread. The Odd Dime, or 3-3-3 (my friend Ian Boyd would prefer “Fly-Over D“), has taken over many of the Spread heavy conferences in college football. Turn on the TV any Saturday and you will see some kind of Odd Dime package being ran. Auburn and Georgia experimented with their own versions of a three-down “Dime” package to take on the vaunted LSU Tigers’ offense.

Related: Auburn’s 3-1-7 vs LSU’s historic O

Over the past several seasons, the Cyclones have evolved the scheme to fit their unique personnel and needs within the Big 12. The 2019 season could be seen as a down year, especially after 2018 which saw them finish the season winning seven-of-eight and barely losing to a 12th ranked Washington State team. ’19 would see the Cyclones finish 7-6 and 1-4 versus offenses in the top 60 in Offensive Efficiency. In DEff, the Cyclones finished #43 and were in the top 25 in DOA, defensive performance against their schedule strength, and 7th in DFD, which refelts the number of offensive possessions that earn a TD or at least a first down. Overall, the Cyclones defense was on par with how it has been doing the past several years and continues to be one of the better units in the league.

One topic of discussion that seems to be of interest to many coaches is the Cyclones’ unique pressure package that can be used to suffocate the run game and confuse QBs. Though the Cyclones are not getting many turnovers (#115/13 total) or Sacks (#64th/28 total), they are racking up Tackles For Loss in the upper third of college football (#36/85 total). This is due to how the Cyclones fit the run and pressure the offense. With so many DBs on the field, Iowa State can give multiple presentations post-snap to help negate soft spots behind their pressures.


Burn (3u/3d)

In the Cyclone language, Burn Coverage is their Fire Zone or three-under/three-deep coverage behind five-man pressure. From a three-high structure, the two seam and one hole player (rat) can come from almost anywhere. In may cases, the hole player is the Star or middle safety (MS). If an apex or overhang player is gone from one side, that safety will play the “Hot 2” technique or Seam. In the case the apex player is staying in coverage as the Hot 2 away from the pressure, the hash Safety will work to the middle third.

The CBs in Burn coverage are playing Press Bail playing what is referred to as a “Hot Third.” With eyes keying the WR to the QB, the CBs are playing zone trying to stay on top of any vertical but breaking off if the QB brings them down. If the CB has two WRs and both go vertical, the CB will play a mid-point technique playing deep-as-the-deepest. This is typical Fire Zone CB coverage.

Where Iowa State is unique is in pre-snap alignment. The ability to shift the secondary players and bring any defender outside the field CB, the Cyclones can give “exotic” post-snap presentations without playing exotic or unsafe coverages. With two Safeties on the hash, it is easy to defend seams because they are already aligned on their marker. It is also easy for them to gain access to the middle third. The Middle Safety is already aligned on top of #3 and can quickly close off the hole. Layering the coverage is critical to the Cyclones’ success and can play with the QB’s eyes post-snap. Below is a look at a Cyclone Burn pressure.

In this particular pressure, the Cyclones are sending two off the edge to the RB. This is the reverse of “America’s Fire Zone” with the first blitzer taking the heel-line and the second scaping for contain. The Sam LB will take the contain rush and try to get into the QB’s window or take the outside shoulder of the RB. By placing a 5 technique to the rush side, there is a D-lineman crossing the face of the tackle. The Mike, or first ILB, will read the OT and fit accordingly off his backside.

The Cyclones are playing Burn Coverage behind this pressure. The hash Safety drops down on #2 (Hot 2) with eyes to the QB. Baylor runs a “Swap” screen (WR screen to #2) and the Safety quickly triggers to take the screen. The MS (Star) sits on top of #3 while the other hash Safety (not seen in the clip) works to the middle third. With the Safety reading the eyes of the QB, he is too quick for the #1 WR and easily makes the tackle for no gain.

The front presentation is Iowa State’s Invert Front. This puts the Cyclones in their four-down package with two 5s, two 3s, and a mugged Mike (really the Sam) on the Center. The Will is aligned right behind the Mike. The pressure works the exact same way, except the personnel and presentation are a little different. The RB is in a static blocking position with the Will hammering down from depth. Simple inertia will push the RB back. Though the blitz is initially picked up, the RB can’t handle the LB’s rush and the Bears’ QB is sacked. The base pressure (Alamo) is detailed below.

01 Alamo Burn

Outside of coverage structure, the Cyclones give different front presentations to aid in the manipulation of pass pro. Below, the Cyclones run there Double “A” Mug Front and run the same pressure as above. Though the pressure doesn’t hit home, the QB feels the pressure in his face and releases the ball quickly. With EYES coverage, the hash Safety cuts the #1 WR’s slant and almost picks the ball.

The Cyclones have three versions of this pressure, two sims and the Burn pressure shown above. In the two sims, the Cyclones can either drop out the edge rushers or the mugged ‘backers. In the sim pressure where the edge players drop out, they run what they call Duece, which is a reduction Trap 2 concept. In Duece, the field CB is playing MEG (Man Everywhere he Goes) on #1, and the hash Safety will trap the slot WR with the MS playing deep 1/2. Again, the luxury of having five DBs. In the sim where the two ‘backers drop out, the Cyclones run a Trap 2 coverage with the CBs playing hard on the #1 WRs while the MS inserts into the field seam. The hash Safeties play Deep 1/2 and Will playing the weak seam and Mike playing the middle hole.

Related: 2019 Baylor’s Pressure Package (3-3-3)


Blaze (4u/2d – Trap 2)

Blaze Coverage is the Trap 2 concept ran behind some of the Cyclones pressures. Both CBs will play anything out by the #2 WR and if there is a single-WR, the CB will cut towards the box (below). This type of coverage is usually ran when a DB is in the blitz path. For instance, if the Cyclones were to bring a CB, the secondary would roll to that side creating a Trap 2 pressure. In the clip below, the MS is in the pressure making both hash Safeties the Deep 1/2 players.

The pressure below shows the boundary hash Safety inserting from depth with the Will LB. The CB to the boundary plays hard on #1 while the MS works to the Deep 1/2 taking the vertical by #2. The Mike will open to #3 and work vertically for any crossed. The pressure moves the QB off his mark and he throws a bad pass into double coverage. The field Safety almost gets the pick.

Playing a Trap 2 coverage, especially on base downs can pay off against a team that throws RPOs or perimeter screens. The same pressure as above is shown (Flash). The CB is playing hard on #1 and sees the QB throw the ball. The result is a TFL and a 3rd and extremely long.

With three-Safeties, the Cyclones can use them in pressures without messing with the coverage. In many cases, the coverage looks similar to the zone schemes they run on base downs. The addition of non-traditional rushers from depth is something that many teams facing the Spread are starting to move to. The O-line now has to account for players lined up at depth. This can bring havoc to O-lines that aren’t used to seeing players form depth or aren’t that great at pass pro.


Hot (2u/3d)

Hot or EYES pressures are great ways to send more numbers than the offense can handle. Instead of dropping a defender away from the pressure, Hot blitzes keep him in the fit to add a number. The two seam or “hot” players relate to the nearest man and read the “eyes” of the QB (also why it is referred to as EYES). This type of scheme places defenders in the “hot” or check-down window of the QB. Once the pressure hits, the QB is going to look for is “rush” throw or check-down. If done right, the seam player can get hands on the ball creating a turnover or force the QB to hang on to the ball, letting the rush hit home. One thing that can give these pressures difficulty is cruise or crossing routes (below).

With Iowa using a Slide-Insert pass pro where the O-line slides to one side, the tackle away from the slide locks on the DE, and the TE inserts in the gap, the Cyclones attack the blocker in the backfield (below). This type of pressure puts players on either side of a blocking back making him wrong no matter what his choice is. In the blitz below, the Cyclones load the “B” gap away from the slide. The TE can’t handle that many players and the LB comes free. The LB from the other side attacks the guard and wastes him by attacking the “A” gap.

Related: MQ’s primer on HOT pressures


Unlike Baylor that played mostly Cover 1/3 with their hash Safeties, the Cyclones have a wide variety of coverages to go with their pressure package. The ability to drop, roll, and trap from any one of the five DBs lends to the variety for Iowa State. Coverage wise, things don’t change except for the way the coverages play post-snap. This is why the scheme is so successful when done right. There is no predictability and any one of the DBs (outside the field CB) can work into the box or drop deep. Whether it is a traditional Fire Zone (Burn) or Trap 2 (Blaze) the Cyclones have a multitude of ways to attack a Spread offense. Finally, the timely use of Hot pressures can have a devastating effect on a Spread offense that is used to timing and freedom in the pocket.

For more 3-High resources go to MQ’s LINKS page & scroll down to the 3-High section.

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

Breaking Down Your Offensive Opponent

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

MQ Chess Match Ep. 1 – 49ers vs Vikings (Divisional Round)

In the pilot episode of MQ Chess Match, Coach A. takes a look at how Minnesota matched up with San Fransisco’s potent offense. Examples of three plays are detailed.

For more clinics like this be sure to checkout MQ’s YouTube channel.



 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s other books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

Breaking Down Your Offensive Opponent

The 4th book from Coach Alexander.

Get the latest book by Coach Alexander. If you’ve ever used any ideas from his series of breakdown articles, this book compiles everything into one place and beefs up the content. Includes diagrams, names, and a process that streamlines the opponent breakdown system for you and/or your staff.


The purpose of this book is to give defensive staffs a manual designed to streamline the weekend and opponent break down process. Today, there are services that will even break down things for you. I believe that the analytics should stay in house. The moment you outsource your break down you lose control of the process. By keeping everything in house, you can create an organic view of the offense you are trying to attack. This process also develops your staff into “experts” in their own “fields.” For a DC or HC, this can be invaluable. I want this book to be something a DC or HC can buy for their staff and give to each member as a way to get everyone on the same page, and speaking the same language.

Get the book today!!! (Click HERE)

 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s other books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

MQ Quick Hits Ep. 23: Cheat Steps – High Safety Play in Single-High Coverage

A clinic on defending RPOs from a single-high strucutre.

In this episode of Quick Hits, Coach A. details to teach your centerfield safety in single-high coverage to combat RPOs. Coach discusses two different variations of the technique from aggressive to a more passive approach. This technique can be played on early downs to help your overhangs with in-breaking RPOs (Slants/Overs/Crossers).

For more clinics like this be sure to checkout MQ’s YouTube channel and MatchQuarters.com.

 

 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

MQ Pressure Tape: Clemson vs Ohio St. (2019)

Venables takes on Day for a chance at the National Title.

Since Clemson’s Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables’ arrival, the Tigers defense has been one of the top units in college football. Outside 2012 (Venables’ first year) the Tigers defense has found itself in the top 25 in Defensive Efficiency, finish #1 twice (2014, 2019). The Tigers have a unique brand of aggressive four-down defense in a time were the Tite Front is king.

One thing that makes Venables stand out among his peers is his willingness to try new things. During their game against Texas A&M, Clemson trotted out their own version of the Odd Dime to combat the Aggie Spread. It was documented last Spring that the Iowa State and Clemson defensive staffs had conversed. This should come as no shock because Venables is a Big 12 guy, having grown up in Kansas, played and coached under Bill Snyder at Kansas State, and cut his proverbial DC teeth at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops.

2019 would see the Tigers play for their fourth National Title in five years. That is on the same par with Alabama who has become somewhat of a recent rival. Though the 2019 Tigers would eventually fall short versus LSU in the National Championship, the defense was still #1 in DEff for 2019.

One highlight from 2019’s defense is the jack-of-all-trades, Isaiah Simmons (#8 overall in ’20). Venables used him as a true hybrid player by placing him all over the field to create matchup issues (even at “Post” Safety!). The Tigers matchup versus Ohio State in the Fiesta bowl would highlight the flexibility of Venables’ scheme versus one of the best examples of the modern Y-off Spread. Below are three of the best pressures from that game.


Film Study

The first clip is a simulated pressure that attacks the edge of the Ohio State line. The Buckeyes initially align in a Trey formation and shift to a 2×2 Pro Twin set. Clemson is in their 3rd Down Dime package with Simmons on the TE (Ni) and the Di on top of the Slot WR. As the Buckeyes motion, both the Ni and Di stay on the same side, the Safeties just rotate to the hashes.

On the line of scrimmage (LOS), the Tigers are in an “Overload” Front. This means that there are more defenders on one side of the line than the other. In this particular look, the Tigers have the DE, Nose, and Mike LB all to one side. The proximity of the Ni also stresses the defense because he is in position to blitz (along with the Ni). Away from the TE, the Tigers have the Will in the “A” gap and another DE as a wide-5.

04 Overload Front

I’ve explained before how an Overload (above) look can force the offense to do two things. First, the offense can slide to the two “bigs” and lock the backside tackle on the opposite DE or EDGE player. Second, the mugged LBs in the middle of the formation can force man blocking or five-on-five, which is illustrated in the clip below. Clemson runs a different look with the Mike and Will mugged in the “A” gaps. Venables is known for his four-down “Double-A” pressures, but this is a great example of giving different presentations to force the offense to work. Continue reading “MQ Pressure Tape: Clemson vs Ohio St. (2019)”

CoachTube Course: Teaching Quarters – 2-Read (Palms/Cloud)

A MatchQuarters Production

This course takes you from the classroom to the field with Coach Alexander. First up is the foundational tools needed to build coverages. Then a look at a playbook. Practice implementation is discussed along with film. Finally, Coach A. goes through a clinic cut-up detailing the nuances within 2-Read Coverage. Tags are provided with examples, including the SQUAT and STICKS techniques. The goal of this clinic is to give you a foundational knowledge of the scheme so that you can implement it within your program.

Lessons:

  1. Intro to 2-Read
  2. Playbook Overview (whiteboard)
  3. Practice Implementation
  4. 2-Read Film Study

Variations of the coverage are included as well: Base, Squat, Press, & Sticks.

Click HERE to get the clinic!

 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

Evolution of the Odd Dime: Stopping the Tigers (LSU vs Auburn 2019)

The Odd Dime goes South(east).

The 2020 LSU offense will go down as one of the top offenses to ever suit up and play on Saturdays. We have all thought it (or dreaded it), what would happen if someone actually played offense in Baton Rouge? There has never been a lack of talent in the Bayou. Creativity on offense? Yes.

One of the main reasons Les Miles was fired was the lack of offensive production by the Tigers. Everywhere around the SEC, teams were turning to the Spread, but the Tigers were stuck in an antiquated system that lacked points. Orgeron was trying to get the right pieces in place and was running out of chances.

Enter Joe Brady, the nameless faceless offensive assistant for the Saints. In the Spring of ’18 Orgeron invited the staff of the Saints to come and visit. Understanding the offense needed to simplify after the Canada debacle, embrace the Spread wholly, and step further into modernity, the Tigers turned to one of the best offensive minds in the country in Sean Payton.

The main focus of the meeting would be on Saints OC Pete Carmicheal, but when the topic of RPOs and college offenses came around, Brady stole the show. Outside of the Saints office, many did not know that Brady was actually the mastermind behind many of the packages that featured do-everything athlete Tysom Hill. Brady would talk to LSU offensive staff about RPOs and the “college” packages they used in New Orleans.

Though Orgeron was not present for the meeting, he definitely heard about it. Brady had impressed the Tigers staff. Coach “O” couldn’t hire anyone at that point, but he got the chance following the ’18 campaign. Orgeron made his move. Brady would have to decide, stick with the Saints as an assistant to the assistant or go reshape the LSU offense. Sean Payton told reporters in January that he had told Brady he was making a mistake, then added: “So much for what I know!” Brady took a chance on the Tigers and it paid off immediately. The addition of modern, forward-thinking passing combined with Ensminger’s run game propelled LSU to its first National Title since 2007.

The Tigers offense will go down as one of the most efficient offenses to play since BCFToys.com began keeping track in 2007 (’18 Oklahoma is the only other at 2.20). QB Joe Burrow (#1 overall in ’20) would win the Maxwell, O’Brien, and Heisman completing the trifecta of offensive awards. Burrow would throw for 60 TDs (that’s 4 a game!) and would finish as the NCAA’s all-time leader in passer rating. The LSU QB would barely miss out on the completion percentage record. Regardless the Tigers would put up the most points in the NCAA’s history.

The WR corps of Jr. Justin Jefferson (1,000+ yards), So. Ja’Marr Chase (22nd pick in ’20 & Biletnikoff winner), So. Terrance Marshall and Jr. TE Thaddeus Moss (you know, Randy’s son) would collectively dominate opponents through the air. The use of multi-purpose RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (32nd pick in ’20) punished teams on the ground and Brady would use his ability to catch with routes out of the backfield. Most importantly, the offensive line was dominant, winning the Joe Moore Award that goes to the best O-line unit (three were drafted in ’20). The Tigers had it all.

LSU would lead the nation with 48.4 points a game. They scored on everyone, even Bama (46) and Georgia (37). The Tigers racked up over 568 yards a game, with over 400 yards through the air. To say they were dominant is an understatement. Mississippi State would hold the Tigers to 36 points in their matchup on October 19th in Starksville. It seemed the Burrow led Tigers were unstoppable. Then the other Tigers came to Death Valley, holding LSU to a season-low 24 points and put a scare into Orgeron’s dream season. Continue reading “Evolution of the Odd Dime: Stopping the Tigers (LSU vs Auburn 2019)”

MQ Pressure Tape: Clemson vs UNC (2019)

MQ reviews three of the Tar Heels best pressure schemes.

North Carolina Defensive Coordinator, Jay Bateman, made a name for himself at Army with his use of delayed pressures. Most notably the one that hit home versus Oklahoma in 2018 (below). A delayed pressure is a great way to give the presentation of drop-eight (rush three) only to have the ILB away from the RB insert on the guard. The goal is to get a static guard to block a more athletic LB.

The design of a modern 3-4 is to get LBs that can pressure yet drop out into coverage. This use of 240 lbs LBs as rushers is nothing new. The main transition has been to put them in the middle of the formation instead of always on the edge. This has fundamentally changed defenses. The 4-3 Under was created to get an athletic 3 technique in a one-on-one on a run-blocking guard. The natural evolution as the Spread has grown in popularity is to have LBs become major players in rushing the passer. James Light had a great tweet from a college coach explaining the idea behind using LBs, something Belichick has been using to kill the NFL for years.

Continue reading “MQ Pressure Tape: Clemson vs UNC (2019)”

CoachTube Course: Developing a Game Plan

Taking the next step in the process…

The design of this course is to help coaches and staffs streamline their weekends and help with practice planning during the week.

Coach Simpson takes a Head Coach’s and offensive approach detailing how he addresses game week and developing practice for the week. Detailed in Coach Simpson’s part of the clinic are scouting tips, creating a practice plan and structure, how to get the ball to your best players, and developing film time for your athletes.

Coach Alexander approaches the clinic from a defensive perspective. Starting on Saturday, Coach A. details how to take the data from your opponent scout and create a cohesive plan for the week. Efficiency is king and Coach A. details ways to help create a streamlined plan using your entire staff. Vertical alignment, practice schedule, card building, and how to develop your data into a game plan is discussed.

There is two hours worth of content!

 

Click HERE to get the clinic!

 


Other courses by Coach A.:

  1. Designing Pressures From a Two-High Scheme
  2. Belly-Key Technique for Linebackers
  3. Breaking Down an Opponent

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

 

 

MQ Quick Hots Episode 22 – Defending Jet Motion

MQ details how to defend pop motions from a split-field structrue.

In this episode of Quick Hits, Coach A. details how to defend Jet motion from split-field coverage. Learn to defend the final formation, adjust to quick motions, and how to teach your DBs to defend this type of offense.

For more clinics like this be sure to checkout MQ’s YouTube channel.



I have also started a series called “MQ DB Training 101” that will cover all aspects of DB play. Make sure to bookmark the playlist and subscribe to MQ’s YouTube channel as I will be adding more videos. Check out what is already there below:

 

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX

The Evolution of the Odd Dime: Baylor vs Oklahoma Pt. 3 – Pressures (2019)

Baylor’s 2019 defensive success was built on creating havoc. The creation of turnovers and negative plays directly correlated with Baylor’s ability to win games. Nationally, Baylor ranked 8th in DEff (Defensive Efficiency), but that didn’t mean they were dominant. The Bears were middle of the pack (#55) in First Down rate (the percentage of opponent drives that result in a TD or at least one 1st Down) and 39th overall in Total Defense. Where Baylor excelled was in killing drives and limiting TDs. To do that, a defense needs to dominate in negative plays (TFLs/Sacks) and turnovers.

Baylor was second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma in total TFLs (Tackles for Loss) with 102 total and 18th nationally. Included in that stat is Baylor’s 46 sacks, which led the Big 12 and was ninth nationally. Finally, Baylor was tied for second nationally in opponent turnovers, ending the season with 30 total (13 fumbles/17 intercepts). These stats were crucial to the Bears’ success. One way the Bears were able to cause havoc was to bring pressure. As shown in Part 1 (Coverages) and Part 2 (Fronts 7 Fits), Phil Snow’s 3-4 defense was transformed into a 3-3-3 in 2019. His aggressive style of play calling meshed with the roster Baylor had. Placing two converted CBs at “hash safeties” and hybrid LBs allowed Snow to bring pressure from all over. In Part 3 MQ takes a look at the most frequently used in the Bears’ scheme.


Delays/Green-Dogs

The “ameba” front highlighted in Part 2 of this series is a base down look for the Bears. By standing the D-linemen up, the O-line has no anchor point to go off or. The single-high look can indicate pressure is coming. In the prior article, I highlighted a clip that showed the Bears using this as a “bluff.” Below, the Bears Sam LB “green-dogs” once he has deemed the play a pass (green-dog refers to a “delay” pressure where you insert if your man blocks). With Cover 1 behind the front structure, the Sam can climb to contain once the RB and QB divvy out the mesh. The Sooners’ QB, Jalen Hurts, pulls the ball on a slight Waggle (no O-line protection) and the Sam climbs immediately. The pressure in the QB’s face forces an errant throw.

Continue reading “The Evolution of the Odd Dime: Baylor vs Oklahoma Pt. 3 – Pressures (2019)”

The Evolution of the Odd Dime: Baylor vs Oklahoma Pt. 2 – Fronts and Fits (2019)

In Part 2 of MQ’s Baylor Defensive series, we take a look at how Baylor fit the run & used their fronts.

Dave Aranda, the newly appointed Baylor Head Coach made an interesting comment during his appearance at 2020’s Lone Start Clinic in College Station, TX. When speaking about his new job, Aranda pointed out that he was interested to watch 2019 Baylor because they lived in a 505 front. If you are new to Aranda, he is considered one of the Tite Front gurus.

The Tite Front (4i/0/4i) and it’s Saban counterpart Mint, have become all the rage in college football when stopping the Spread from a 3-4. In terms of Odd Stack defenses, Iowa State is the obvious starting point. Baylor is different from the Cyclones in the fact they lived in the 505 look regardless of the offensive personnel on the field. Iowa State usually aligns depending on the backfield or personnel on the field:

  • 10p = Back Front – Set the 4i to the RB and the 5 technique away
  • 11p/20p = 505
  • Empty = Tite Front

As Aranda pointed out, Baylor had tremendous success from the 505, or what I refer to as the Buck Front. Like Iowa State, Baylor would “heavy” the 5 techniques and allow them to crash down on the offensive line. Aranda and the Cyclones call this a “fist” technique (I call it “heavy). This allows the LBs to be patient and read their Guards through to the ball carrier. The two 5 techniques also allow the Bears to create natural walls on the edge of the box. Below is a typical look the Bears showed versus a Y-off formation.

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 12.49.39 PM

One issue with the Tite Front and the use of 4i’s is the lack of a natural edge setter. The 505 solves this issue but opens up a gap in the interior. In the clip below, Baylor is ripping both of their 5 techniques into the “B” gaps. The addition of the Twirl motion pulls the Sam LB away from the box. The Mike LB steps inside, even though the Nose is “lagging” or falling off into his “A” gap. This allows the TE to seal the edge and the MOF Safety is the stop-gap six yards down the field.

Though this is from the 505 perspective, the Tite Front would fit the same. The Mike has to understand that he is a free player and all his help is to his left. By working into the box, he inhibits his ability to rock out. Had he of been patient and sat on the “B” gap, he would have been able to cross-face with the TE and hold his contain.

When utilizing heavy 5 techniques those interior gaps get squeezed shut. Add a Safety in the middle of the field (MOF) and the LBs are allowed to roam free. This combination made Baylor’s defense one of the best in the country in terms of efficiency (8th). Rushing wise, Baylor was middle of the road, 49th in Total Rushing (143 per game) and 27th in average rush per attempt (3.66 – 1st in the Big 12). Though not elite on the ground, many around the country took a pause and are interested in how Phil Snow fit the run. In the second part of MQ’s series on Baylor’s Odd Stack defense, we take a look at the fits and fronts Baylor used to create a historic 2019 season. Continue reading “The Evolution of the Odd Dime: Baylor vs Oklahoma Pt. 2 – Fronts and Fits (2019)”

CoachTube Course: Breaking Down an Opponent eClinic with Kenny Simpson & Cody Alexander

Coach Simpson shows how he breaks down an opponent each week from a Head Coach perspective. Learning how to act as a “funnel” and get information to the correct places and coaches. Simpson details how to use your staff, what is and is not important, and more.

Coach Alexander shows you how to wade through the convoluted mess that can be breaking down an opponent. First Coach A. takes you through his thought process then shows you how to use that information on Hudl. Finally, Coach A. demonstrates how to create a Hit Chart using your data.

The entire 2-hour eClinic is wrapped up by a question and answer from the audience.

The eClinic is broken into five parts:

  1. Introductions & Coach Simpson: Breakdowns From a HC Perspective
  2. Coach Alexander: Fundamentals of Breaking Down an Opponent
  3. Coach Alexander: Hudl How To
  4. Coach Alexander: Creating Hit Charts
  5. Final Q&A

Get the course HERE!

© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.


Go deeper than just X’s and O’s. Have a philosophy.

MQ’s books are available on Amazon and Kindle:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guidebook to Split-Field Coverages

As always, support the site by following me on Twitter (@The_Coach_A) and spreading the word to your coaching friends by liking and retweeting the articles you read (even sharing them via Facebook and LinkedIn).

Do not hesitate to contact me with questions through the site’s CONTACT page or through my DM on Twitter. I enjoy speaking with you guys (iron sharpens iron).

– Coach A. | #ArtofX