The Tite Front is here to stay. Starting in 2015 the trend to defend the Spread from a three-down front began to grow popularity. In the early 2010s, the 4-2-5 or 4-3 hybrid was all the rage mainly basing out of an Over Front. The issue with four-down fronts is that there is always a B-gap defender in conflict. At the turn of the decade, many Spread teams were still tinkering with the pure Air Raid that featured four wideouts. This gave birth to the Zone Read-Bubble which was made famous by Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia.
The B-gap bubble created issues (and still does) for four-down defenses. How do you defend the gap while still defending the pass. A defender can’t be in two places at once. Hence the term conflict. One way teams running a four-down closed the “B” was to use a HEAVY technique by the 5 technique to the Nose’s side. If the Tackle were to base out on the DE he would rip into the “B” gap. When the OT stepped down away from the DE he would shoot the heel line to take the Dive or spill any puller. This technique allowed the defense to be “fluid” in the B-gap and essentially eliminate it by reading the OT. The overhang to that side just needed to fit off the DE.
The explosion and creativity of Run-Pass Options (RPOs) took advantage of the rules by the defense. Since there is always a bubble in a four-down, offenses found clever ways to manipulate it. First, teams started running Pistol out of 10 pers. formations. This allowed the QB to check to the bubble’s side to manipulate the read. Second, teams began to “swipe” the Tackle (arc to next man) or run Zone Lock with the OT pass setting to create space for the RB and forcing the LB to fold. Finally, offenses started to “flop” the read away from the RB (below).
© 2020 MatchQuarters.com | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.