The Dime Package

An introduction to the three down Dime package.

One of the greatest luxuries in football is when a defense has enough depth in the secondary to create a Dime package. As spread has become the norm in football, the Nickel package, replacing a linebacker with a secondary player (usually a safety), has become the norm and many defenses’ base. Most teams have “tween” or hybrid players. Utilizing these players on defense has made it easier for defensive coordinators to adjust to the onslaught of spread teams. The Dime package, in particular, is different than its sister the Nickel package. Instead of replacing a LB with a safety, the Dime package puts two defensive backs in and replaces either two LBs (four-down) or a LB and a defensive lineman (three-down). The specific package being discussed in this article will cover the three-down, three safety Dime package most generally seen in college today.

A 3-4 Base

If a defense’s base is a 3-4, it can easily adjust to the spread by putting a Nickleback at Sam, much like its counterpart, the 4-2-5. A three-down Dime package takes the Mike off the field and inserts either a safety or a CB depending on the DC’s preference and the scheme being used. The front most used in a Dime package is the Buck Front or a 505 front. This ensures an edge rusher on either side of the quarterback that will define the box. The Nose’s role is to get a vertical push on the pocket and make the QB move.  Below is a diagram of a 3-4 Buck Dime Package:

.01 Buck Adj (2x2)

The first decision that has to be made when developing a Dime package is who is going to be part of the Dime package personnel? If looking to run more of a man scheme, a DC is more likely to bring on two cornerbacks and leave the two most athletic LBs on the field. As stated earlier, more defenses are shifting to a Nickel/Hybrid base. This means the traditional Sam LB is actually a safety. In the case above, the Nickelback is more than likely a third CB while the Dimeback is another safety.  Continue reading “The Dime Package”

Episode #1 — MQ Quick Hits :: Quarters Clinic

A 5 minute video on the “Art of X.”

Introducing MQ Quick Hits. Episode #1.

This week MatchQuarters discusses Quarters install, in particular, Press Quarters.

Continue reading “Episode #1 — MQ Quick Hits :: Quarters Clinic”

Defending Flare/Quick Motion

Offenses use Flare & A-Behind motion to force the defense to move. Don’t get out leveraged.

Quick motions are a great way to get the defense out leveraged. The fast motion is like eye candy for linebackers and safeties, using the speed of the receiver to get the defense to over shift. Jet motion in particular forces the defense to try and cut off the motion because of the tempo at which the motion attacks. To combat Jet motions many defenses turn to spinning towards the motion so the overhang can force a cutback. Though this technique can work in the shorthand, spinning to the motion tends to leave teams vulnerable away from the spin safety.

As offenses have evolved, quick motions have become an integral part of spread concepts. In a traditional motion, the WR changes from one side of the formation to an another on a flat path. The speed of the WR depends on the route he will run. For the most part, traditional motions have the WR jog across the formation. As the spread has evolved from traditional motion to jet motions, another way offenses have learned to attack how defenses react to motion is by flaring the running back out of the backfield. This type of quick motion forces the LBs to push and gain width between their run responsibility and the man they are responsible for in the pass. This width creates conflict, and as all defensive coaches know, offenses love conflicted players.  Continue reading “Defending Flare/Quick Motion”

Defending Trips – Special Coverage

If the offense won’t throw to #1, lock him up and reduce the field.

When defending a team that runs Trips it is important for the defense to have multiple coverage options. Depending on how an offense chooses to attack a defense the selection of the right coverage can be crucial. Being able to switch from base coverage to base coverage allows the defense to keep the offense on its toes. If a defense only runs one base coverage against Trips, offenses will quickly find a way to exploit it. This fact alone should encourage a defensive staff to carry multiple coverages into a game and be able to use them when the opportunity arises.

Many times offenses use the #1 receiver as a decoy or chooses to run him off to create a void so the #2 or #3 WR can run an out route into space. One way to counteract the nonuse of #1 and outs by #2 or #3 is to run Special Coverage. Unlike Stress where the Sam is blind to what the #3 WR is doing, Special eliminates the #1 completely and reduces the field. The Sam takes on the responsibility of a Two-Read CB. His eyes are squarely on #2 and will carry the vertical of #2 if the offense runs vertical routes. Like Stress, the key player is the Sam linebacker and his ability to run with a vertical route. Eliminating #1 puts the Sam on an island with #2. As stated earlier, having options in coverage is important to defending the spread. A defense must be able to adapt to any situations and adjust to any formation/scheme thrown at it.  Continue reading “Defending Trips – Special Coverage”

Defending Trips – Stress Coverage

Most HS QB’s can’t throw the 15 yard Comeback. So make’em.

Defense is reactionary by nature. The offense knows the play and the defense must be structured enough to counteract and defend. Outside of forcing the offense’s hand through pressure, a defense must play on the law of averages and use the tendencies of the offense against them. For most high school offense the #1 wide receiver in a Trips set rarely gets the ball, and when he does it usually comes by way of an underneath route or a sprint out by the offense. Few high school QB’s can make the 25-yard comeback throw from the opposite hash. The few that can make the throw must execute the long throw which can tend to hang in the air long enough for a good corner to react to it. Plus, most high school offenses won’t run a four vertical play and attack the #1 WR to the Trips side. Usually, it is the #2 on a bender or the “X” WR to the boundary (especially if the defense is “kicking” to the three WR side). Using the law of averages can give the defense an advantage and protect itself from the backside fade and a “solo-ed” CB.

Defending Trips is about sectioning off the formation and forcing a weak armed QB to make a long throw. Some defensive coaches turn to Special coverage against Trips because the #1 WR rarely gets the ball. In Special, the CB will lock on the #1 WR and the defense runs a Two Read scheme by bracketing the #2 and #3 WRs. This allows the Sam to move to outside leverage of the #2 and drive on any out routes. The #3 WR bracketed by the Mike underneath and the field safety (Cover Safety – CS). There are several issues when Special is the base defense against Trips. One, the coverages is susceptible against crossing routes by the #1 and #2 WRs. Since the CB is locked on the #1 WR he must follow him everywhere he goes (MEG coverage). Offenses can easily use rub and pick routes to wall off the CB and knock off the Sam. Another issue with Special is the vertical of #2. Since the Sam is outside leveraged, and the CS is holding the inside of the #3 WR, it is easy for the offense to use a four vert scheme to attack the coverage. Most teams will run the #3 WR on an “over” route to the opposite hash allowing the #2 WR to bend into the middle of the field (MOF) creating a window and a relatively easy throw for any QB. By alignment, the Sam is beat to the inside and must work outside-in to get hands on the WR. Special is great when teams are running out routes with #2 and #3 and is a coverage all two-high defenses need in their repertoire. If teams are attacking vertically, Stress is best.  Continue reading “Defending Trips – Stress Coverage”

Defending the Spread’s Unbalanced Sets

Ideas on countering the optical illusions of unbalanced formations.

Offenses use unbalanced formations to get the defense out leveraged. An offense does this by creating an extra gap by moving a guard or tackle to the opposite side of the formation. Unbalanced sets are optical illusions created by the extra lineman to one side. Teams can also use wide receivers when creating unbalanced sets. By putting a WR on the line and covering him up, the offense has now freed the single WR (“X”) so that he can motion across the formation. Many defenses refer to this set of unbalanced formations as “X-off” formations.Unlike pro style unbalanced formations that just shift the line one way or another with an extra guard or tackle, X-off formations use a player that is normally static in the motion game.

Unbalanced sets, in particular, are designed to be optical illusions to the defense. In a pro style (11 personnel) unbalanced, the defense is so used to seeing the same Center over and over, that they fail to realize the shift on the line and can’t identify the new three-man surface. This causes the defense to be a gap short and out-leveraged by the offense. In an unbalanced spread set (20 pers./10 pers. – mainly Trips), the offense uses the WRs to create the illusion. It can be hard to identify WRs on the line, especially when tempo is involved. The defense can be surprised by the jet motion from the “X” WR if an unbalanced set goes unnoticed.

Offenses can use quick huddles and tempo to throw off the defense when using unbalanced sets. Defense generally lineup off of personnel and identify key players on the offense (like the Center’s number or a slot WR). It is important to teach the front seven to identify the three-man surface when playing pro spread teams that use unbalanced out of their 11 pers. sets. When facing a spread team that uses WR unbalanced sets, the key is to identify if the single WR is off the ball. To the front side, the secondary players (and cover down) must identify if multiple WRs are on the ball.

Continue reading “Defending the Spread’s Unbalanced Sets”

Steal Coverage to Combat Air Raid Offenses

A “how to” guide to defending the Air Raid’s top pass concepts.

00-1-mtrush

With the birth of the Air Raid offense under Hal Mumme and its expansion under Leach, the Air Raid concept has flourished alongside the advancement of the spread in modern football. The Air Raid offense, in particular, is married well with the no-huddle concept and can be run out of multiple formations even with the added effect of tempo. True Air Raid offenses base out of 20, 10, and 11 personnel sets. Many of the concepts needed to run the offense utilize 2×2 and 2×1 sets to put pressure on the defense’s back seven.

The Air Raid offense and its vast offshoots still boil down to several basic concepts. The key to any Air Raid offense is the use of “triangle” and simple high-low reads. The offense has been used to rewrite many record books and its concepts are present in most modern spread offenses. The main way Air Raid teams attack a defense is the soft middle of the field left by vertical pushing routes with the outside wide receivers. This vertical push forces the safeties in a two-high look to climb with the outside WRs. The zone dropping linebackers are left to defend WRs coming from the opposite way behind their view. These simple crossing routes are deadly to a defense that cannot get support from the backside safety or simply spot drop. One way a defense can counteract the Air Raids propensity to attack the soft middle vacated by the boundary safety is to run “Steal” coverage.

Steal Coverage

Unlike “Read” Coverage that takes advantage of the offense attacking the front side triangle (think pick/flat/corner), “Steal” coverage uses the boundary safety as a “robber” for the crossing routes. Much like its sister versus Trips coverage “Solo,” Steal uses the boundary safety as a spy on a front side WR. The main objective of the DS in Steal is to read the crossing route and hold his ground in the window vacated by the Will LB. The diagram below demonstrates Steal Coverage:  Continue reading “Steal Coverage to Combat Air Raid Offenses”

Defending the Spread From a 3-4

Running an Okie Front to defend the modern spread attack.

Defensive linemen are at a premium. For many teams, it is hard to field a deep roster that can lend itself to a four-man front. Running parallel to the defensive dilemma of lineman depth is the popularity of the spread. A natural conclusion for many defensive coordinators around the country has been a shift away from a four-down front and into a 3-4 scheme. The flexibility of the 3-4 and the added athlete on the field makes the scheme spread friendly. The multiplicity within the scheme allows DCs to attack the offense from multiple directions without sacrificing pass distributions. Running a two-high scheme behind a three-man front meshes well with teams that have a history of running a 4-2-5 or 4-3.

The Okie Front, in particular, can be of service when defensive coaches are looking to defend the spread from a three down front. With a 5 technique, a shaded Nose, and a 3 tech. (or 4i) to the weak side, the Okie’s anchor points fit the spread much like its four down sister, the Under Front. To the weak side, the Jack linebacker (boundary OLB) is technically a wide “9” in the run fits and controls the edge of the box to the boundary. The Jack LB, in particular, is useful when defending offenses that like to attack the boundary through the air. Even though the Jack is technically a conflicted player (he is responsible for the “C” gap), his alignment allows him to read the offensive tackle and slow play the run. In most four down fronts, the boundary OLB (Will) is the “fold” player and is considered conflicted because his gap is in the box. The Okie Front eliminates the fold and replaces it with a loose overhang (much like a natural Will/DE exchange in a four down front). Continue reading “Defending the Spread From a 3-4”

Defending 20 Pers. With Read Coverage

Use a field “robber” scheme to defend 20 pers. pass schemes.

Defending the run versus 20 personnel is hard enough. Factor in offenses using this set to RPO the defense, it can be difficult for a defensive coordinator to decide how to attack it. Using multiple coverages, fronts, and stunts/pressures can keep an offense on its heels, but there has to be a plan. If a DC moves the Sam closer to the box and plays quarters behind, the offense can take advantage of the lack of cover down and throw out routes or stops all day. These routes play off of the leverage of the safety, which in quarters happens to be deep and inside. Spinning to the two receiver side leaves the offense vulnerable to the backside RPO or weakside run (lack of plus-one). A weak spin is sound and keeps the defense even, but still gives up the flat and backside choice route. 20 personnel is one of the hardest formations to defend because the offense has added an extra player to the box and can create a new gap on either side of the formation.

Staying Two-High

Playing Four-Press (Sky) to 20 pers. can be a great deterrent to offenses that utilize RPOs in their scheme. The pressing corners eliminate much of the route tree and force low percentage throws outside (ex. – Fades). The Down Safety to the boundary acts as a catch-all and plus-one versus the weakside run. In Sky, the boundary safety can “rob” the underneath of #1’s route and will drive on any slant. To the field, the Sam can cover down to the slot, essentially deterring bubble routes while the Cover (field) Safety fits off the Sam. The issue in Quarters versus 20 pers. is the outside flat to the field. If the Sam is aggressive to a run look (like he is in the Narduzzi/Dantonio scheme), the offense can take advantage of the Sky safety basically being in man coverage on the slot and the corner being run off by #1. Even versus an out route the Sam, who aligns inside (apex in Narduzzi’s Pitt defense – quick box force), can be frozen by a run read and late on the pass. See below:

02-sky-vs-sz-pap

In many 4-3 (apex cover down) schemes, the Sam linebacker is taught to gain a run read while relating off the slot WR. The problem with this technique is the Sam is late on out routes. If the Sam is over aggressive, the offense can take advantage of his vacated area. Late in the second quarter of the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl, Northwestern started to take advantage of Pitt’s aggressive Sam versus 20 and 11 pers and Narduzzi’s Press Quarters scheme. Northwestern turned to a Smash concept (stop/corner) to take advantage of an aggressive Sam and the inside leverage of the safety, but Narduzzi had checked to his Read Coverage or a field robber that disguises as Press Quarters. The Field Safety shifted to the outside of the slot as the QB gave his indicator. The outside leverage helped the safety defend the Corner route by the slot. The QB had to place the ball high and away leading to an incomplete pass.

On third down, Northwestern ran a Divide scheme (three verticals dividing the field into thirds) and took advantage of a blown coverage by the safety (Trap 2 Zone Blitz – roll strong & the safety didn’t “top” the fade), getting the Wildcats inside the Pitt 30 yard line.

Assuming Pitt would stay in their traditional quarters look, Northwestern turned to a zone RPO out of Trey to attack the crashing Sam and isolated safety. The QB read the Sam working into the box and flipped the ball out to the slot on a stop route. The safety missed the one-on-one tackle and the WR worked deeper into the Red Zone before being tackled. Northwestern would score on the next play, taking advantage of a missed assignment by the DE to the boundary and scoring on the bounce of a zone play. 14-3 Wildcats.

After Pitt scored quickly to bring the game to within four, Northwestern quickly turned back to attacking Pitt out of 11 pers. Trey. When the Wildcats lined up in 10 pers. 2×2 and motioned the H-back into the formation Narduzzi called a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Wildcats went back to the formation, but Narduzzi had changed the coverage to a Read Coverage. Assuming Narduzzi knew that Northwestern felt Pitt had made adjustments to the Trey set and was now switching to a new look, he called a quick timeout after seeing Northwestern align in 20 pers. Out of the timeout, Narduzzi switched to Read Coverage to combat Northwestern’s new set to take advantage of the soft spot to the outside in Pitt’s Quarters coverage. This small sequence highlights the constant cat-and-mouse game that is football and a great change-up coverage to split field quarters versus 20 pers.

Continue reading “Defending 20 Pers. With Read Coverage”

Packaging Your Blitz Calls by Formation

How to formation your call sheet.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to formation your blitz calls, as well as packaging different calls that are similar (click HERE for the original article – Formation Your Defense ). The best way to approach packaging blitzes/pressures is to create a master list and sort blitzes that are from the same tree. For instance, all blitzes that send an edge pressure from one of the outside linebackers can be lumped together because they are mirrors of each other. The next step is to draw them up against basic formations and decide if you like the look of one pressure over another. In the truest sense, this is blitzing to formation, or BTF.

Blitzing to Formation

05-side-by-side

Each BTF stems from a base blitz and that blitz is adjusted to defend each formation it sees. An example of an adjustment is a defensive coordinator may not want to send an edge blitz into the face of a TE when coming up against 11 personnel. A better alternative would be to blitz the openside versus a TE. That rule can be carried throughout the packaged blitz call. By packaging the blitzes, a DC can eliminate long call sheets and dense verbiage. Against spread teams that tempo, seconds matter. I’ve been asked several times what my call sheet looks like, or what did it look like for Coach Bennett at Baylor. I’ve never used one, and Bennett kept the sheet in his pocket. Packaging your blitzes eliminates the call sheet altogether because you have you bread-n-butter calls already memorized, and they attack the formation how you want it because you taught your players to adjust to the formation (the definition of BTF). Continue reading “Packaging Your Blitz Calls by Formation”

Teaching Gap Exchanges & Defending the Zone Read

Teach the LBs to read their anchor points & play assignment football.

Without moving the front on a line stunt, a defensive coordinator can set up the fits to create gap exchanges and stay sound against zone read teams. Even if a team is running a simple inside zone scheme, teaching gap exchanges between the front seven can allow the front to “cut-off” the runningback’s path and force a cutback to free hitting linebacker. Understanding the structure of a front is key for any defense to be successful. Teaching the LBs to read their “anchor points” can allow the defense to be fluid against zone schemes. Defensive lineman must know their gap assignments just as well as the LBs. In the age of spread, it is important for the front seven to understand how each gap is going to be fit and how each player’s movements effects the link behind them (DL-LB-Secondary). All great defenses start with a solid technical structure.

Spread offenses want to attack the open “B” gap and the conflicted LB. The zone read is nothing more than a modified Dive Option. Add a bubble route (or any receiver screen) and the offense is running a modern version of the Triple Option (the offense can use orbit motion to create the same look too). 01-titleEven if the offense is aligned in a spread set, option structure is still there. As a DC starts to game plan and create a defense to defend a spread attack, he must look at a zone-read heavy offense as though he was attacking a Triple Option attack. Someone has to take the dive, the QB, and the pitch. How a DC chooses to set the front will determine who carries the ball versus a zone read/option team. In the diagram to the left, the defense is set up in an Over Front to a 10 personnel 2×2 set. The Sam can cover down to the slot because he does not have a box fit. The Mike and Will each have a gap to hold versus a run. Since the front is set to the RB (5 and 3 technique), the most likely scenario versus a zone read is a handoff (dive), the Will folds into his box position and the Sam takes the bubble (pitch) away from the play. By setting the front to the back, the DC has created a predictable situation in which the QB will hand the ball off to the RB. Just on alignment alone, a DC can force the offense’s hand. Defending zone-read heavy teams is all about cover downs and changing the “B” gap. The most important decision a DC can make versus spread teams that run read/option plays is to decide who is the worst ball carrier, and force that player to carry the load. Continue reading “Teaching Gap Exchanges & Defending the Zone Read”

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Art of X Show (Pod)

  1. Apple
  2. Spotify
  3. Audible
  4. YouTube
  5. Substack

CoachTube Courses

  1. Designing Pressures from a Two-High Shell (Half-Field Zone Concept)
  2. MatchQuarters Guide to the Belly-Key Technique for Linebackers
  3. Breaking Down an Opponent eClinic with Kenny Simpson & Cody Alexander
  4. Developing a Game Plan with Kenny Simpson & Cody Alexander
  5. Teaching Quarters: 2-Read (Cloud/Palms)
  6. Defending 21p from a 3-Safety Structure
  7. Defending the Spread From a 3-Safety Structure

Essential Playlists (YouTube)

  1. The Art of X Show (Pod)
  2. The Art of X Show Minis – Short breakdowns on particular plays
  3. MQ DB 101 – Quick clinics on different DB techniques
  4. MQ Quick Hits – Various clinics on major defensive schemes
  5. MQ Chess Match – Coach A. takes a look at different matchups in the NFL
  6. MQ Mini-Clinics – Various short clinics on a multitude of defensive schemes
  7. 2020 LA Rams 3rd Down Clips
  8. Pressure Paths & Blitzes

Conversations with Coach A.” (’20)

  1. Patrick Toney, DC, Louisiana (’20) [$]
  2. Warren Sharp, Sharp Football Analysis/NFL (’20)
  3. Matthew Powledge, STC/Safeties. Baylor (’20) [$]
  4. Doug Farrar, USA Today/Touchdown Wire (’20)
  5. Randall Joyner, DL, SMU (’20) [$]
  6. Andrew Thacker, DC Georgia Tech (’20) [$]
  7. Ted Nguyen, The Athletic (’20)
  8. Brian Vaughn, Blitzology (’20) [$]
  9. Seth Galina, PFF (’20) 
  10. Will Windham, Safeties Kent State (’20) [$]


Substack Top-10

  1. Top 10 articles from 2022
  2. Top 10 articles from 2021

Defending the Spread

Run Fits

  1. Zero the Mike (Belly-Key)
  2. Using Natural Gap Exchanges in Your Front Seven
  3. Utilizing a HEAVY technique in the run game [$]
  4.  Line Twists to Combat Heavy Zone Teams
  5. Defending the Zone Read
  6. Defending the Power Read
  7. Defending Split Zone
  8. 5 Tips for Defending Spread Option Teams
  9. Defending BAsh (“Back Away”) Concepts
  10. Defending 20p Two-Back Power
  11. Keeping it simple vs a running QB (’21 Bucs vs Eagles) [$]

Clinic Notes/Defensive Structure/Special Coverages

  1. Creating a Defensive Nomenclature (Language)
  2. MQ Film Study: OU vs Alabama (2018 – 1st Half)
  3. Jim Knowles & the search for the ultimate hybrid defense. [$]
  4. Toledo’s EXIT Stunt [$]
  5. Using an EXIT stunt to combat Zone-heavy offenses (Liberty vs Arkansas ’22) [$]
  6. Coverages
    1. Saban’s Rip/Liz (Match Cov. 3) & How it Applies to Quarters
    2. Creating a simple way to run Match 3 [$]
    3. The “CHEAT” Technique for MOFC Schemes on Early Downs [$]
    4. Read” Coverage (20p Field Robber)
    5. Three Coverages Tags Every Quarters Team Needs
    6. Three Coverages to carry this Fall [$] 
    7. Changing the Picture: 2-Roll Coverage
    8. The Jets’ Stab tag in Quarters coverage (’22)
  7. Vic Fangio System (Brandon Staley & Rams)
    1. The Argument For A Light Box (Fangio System/LA Rams Defense)
    2. The Fangio Philosophy Pt. 1 (Foundational Concepts)
    3. The Fangio Philosophy Pt. 2 (Run Fits & Pass Distributions)
    4. Rodgers & LaFleur put on a clinic vs the Rams (’21 Divisional Round) [$]
    5. Where Single-High & Two-High Collide: 6-Cross [$]
    6. Rams Defensive Primer Pt. 1 (’21)
    7. Rams Defensive Primer Pt. 2 (’21) [$]
    8. Flipping the Script (Fangio’s Cover 6 – HQQ) [$]
    9. Has the Rams’ defense gotten “soft”? (’22)
    10. The Eat Front within the Penny Package (Broncos ’22)
  8. Defending the Air Raid System
    1. Defending the Air Raid with “Steal” Coverage
    2. Taking STEAL Coverage to the next level [$]
    3. Air Raid Killers – Washington’s Defense vs Wazzu [$]
  9. Defending Offenses
    1. Defending the Morris/Clemson Offensive System
    2. Solving the McVay Offense (Super Bowl LIII)
    3. Football is Back!!! (UCA vs Austin Peay & defending the Flexbone)
    4. Aaron Rodgers & Pre-Snap Motion [$]
    5. MQ Film Study: Michigan vs Minnesota (’20) – Defending RPO/Check Heavy Offenses
    6. MQ Film Study: Notre Dame vs UNC (’20): Defending an uber-RPO system
    7. Fitting DUO from a TILT Front (Under) – Indiana vs Rutgers (’20) [$]
    8. Film Study: Cincinnati’s “Hybrid” Defense vs Notre Dame (’21) [$]
    9. 5 Things Defenses Hate in the Low Red Zone [$]
  10. Michigan State’s 4-3 Quarters Defense
    1. Master Class Pt. 1 – Michigan State’s ’18 4-3 Quarters Defense
    2. Master Class Pt. 2 Michigan State’s ’18-19 Coverages & Blitz Package
  11. Alex Grinch Defenses (Oklahoma)
    1. Sacking the Longhorns – OU vs Texas (2019)
    2. Manipulating the Cover Down (OU vs Baylor 2019)
  12. Clinic Notes
    1. Don Brown (Univ. of Michigan) Lone Star Clinic Notes (2017)
    2. THSCA Football Lecture – Kirby Smart’s (HC, Georgia) Defensive Evolution (’18)
    3. Mike Elko (Texas A&M) Lone Star Clinic Notes (2019)
    4. Dave Aranda (Baylor HC) Lone Star Clinic Notes (2020)

Defending Motions or Topics on Motion

  1. Defending Jet Motion
  2. Defending A-Behind and Flare Motion

Defending Spread Formations

  1. RPO Stop Calls
  2. Defending 10p 2×2 Pistol
  3. Defending Quads Bunch Formations (Bills vs Chiefs ’21) [$]
  4. Defending Trips/Empty
    1. Why You Should Run an Under Front to 3×1 Sets
    2. Defending Trips — Fitting the Run
    3. Top Trips Coverages Explained
    4. Specific Split-Field Trips Coverages:
    5. Empty
  5. Spread Unbalanced Formations
    1. Defending the Spread’s Top Unbalanced Sets
    2. Defending Two-Back Unbalanced Trips (Michigan St. – 2018)
    3. How offenses take advantage of MOFC coverages with unbalanced sets [$]


3-4/3-Down-Dime Resources

  1. Okie Front (5/Shade/4i)
    1. The Okie Front (Under)
    2. Defending Modern Spread from Okie
    3. Baylor vs Boise (2016) – How a hybrid 3-4 defends a multiple Pro Spread offense
    4. Defending 11p from a 3-4
  2. The Tite Front/Mint Package (404)
    1. The Tite Front (303/404)
    2. Todd Orlando:
    3. Georgia’s Defense:
      1. The Modern Bear Front (Georgia vs Notre Dame – 2017)
      2. Georgia’s Mint Front
      3. Georgia’s Defensive Philosophy (’22)
    4. App. State Defense (vs UNC ’19)
    5. Tite Front Essentials (What you need in your toolbox) [$]
    6. Building on the Tite Alignment: Shake 2 [$]
  3. 3-Safety Packages
    1. Iowa State Cyclones 3-3-3
    2. Baylor Bears 2019 3-3-3  – Phil Snow
    3. Auburn’s 3-1-7 vs LSU (2019)
    4. The Bearcat Stack (Cincinnati ’20) [$]
    5. The Katy HS (TX) Hybrid 3-4
    6. Blitzing from an Odd Stack vs a pro-style offense (Ole Miss vs Kentucky ’22) [$]
    7. Dime Package 3-High:
      1. Tampa Bay’s X-Front (3-High) vs Kansas City (SB LV ’21) [$]
      2. MQ’s Simple 3-Down Dime Package
  4. 3rd Down
    1. Attacking 3rd Down With Multiple Fronts
    2. Jim Leonhard (Wisc)
    3. 3rd Down Calls From a 3-4
    4. The BOSS Front (Bigs On Same Side) [$]
    5. The BLAZERS Front (9s/5s)
      1. The BLAZER Front [$] 
      2. Mike Elko’s Split Front (Blazers) [$]

Defending Formations/Personnel Groups

  1. Defending 11 Personnel (Pro Spread)
  2. Defending single-width or “nub” formations
  3. 12 Personnel (Ace/Ace Trey)
  4. Y-off or 20 pers. (H-back/Sniffer)
    1. 20 Personnel — Over vs Under (Setting the Strength)
    2. How Don Brown (DC – Michigan) Defends 11/20p 2-Back
    3. Keying the H-back/Sniffer (vs Y-off Formations)
    4. Running a 5-1 Bear Front vs 2-Back Spread (’21 – Georgia vs Tenn.)

  5. 21 Personnel (Defending Power Football From a Hybrid Defense)
  6. 30 Personnel
  7. Defending the Wing-T

Stop Calls/Pressures/Blitzes

  1. Run Down Stop Calls
  2. Dog Check (Single-Dog Pressure)
  3. Pitt’s SPECIAL Coverage (HOT) [$]
  4. Phil Snow’s (Panthers) Double A-Gap Series (W2 vs Saints ’21) [$]
  5. Five Concepts from the National Championship Game (’22) [$]
  6. Blitzing the TE – “Saints” (Safety) Add Pressure [$]
  7. 2020 MQ Pressure Tape Series
    1. North Carolina Defense (Bateman) vs Clemson Offense (2019)
    2. Clemson Defense vs Ohio State Offense (’19 Fiesta Bowl)
    3. Virginia Defense vs Notre Dame Offense (2019)
    4. Pitt Defense vs UCF Offense (2019) [$]
    5. Georgia Defense vs Texas A&M Offense (2019)
    6. Texas Defense vs LSU Offense (2019)
    7. Ravens Defense vs Browns Offense (W1 2020) [$]
  8. Blitz of the Month
    1. July ’20 – Tampa Bay’s Trap 2 5MPRS [$]
    2. Aug. ’20 – Boise State’s Fly Mug SMPRS [$]
    3. Sept. ’20 – Cincinnati’s Dime Bluff Mex 2 SMPRS [$]
    4. Oct. ’20 – Tampa Bay’s [Ni] Over Cross CRPR [$]
    5. Nov. ’20 -Washington’s Jet Shoot C1
    6. Dec. ’20 – Chicago’s BOSS Bears C1 5MPRS [$]
    7. Jan. ’21 – LAR’s Over Weak Bomb 6 CRPR [$]
    8. Feb. ’21 – Indiana’s Over Wick 1 Rat CRPR
    9. Mar. ’21 – Dolphins’ Odd Mug Stun 1 Rat SMPRS
    10. April ’21 – 49ers Odd Mug “Back” HOT
    11. May ’21 – Northwestern’s Odd Bears Ni Add FZ 3 
    12. June ’21 – North Dakota’s Odd Stay Lynx (Will/CB) 6 Safety
    13. July ’21 – San Diego State’s Odd Wolf Switch 1
    14. Aug. ’21 – Pitt’s Odd Cowboys Hot blitz
    15. Oct. ’21 – The “Brady” Path (Boundary Insert)
    16. Nov. ’21 – Denver’s BOSS CHIEFS (Field Not) “Go!” 5MPRS
    17. Dec. ’21 – Tulsa’s Back SPURS “Add” 0 blitz
    18. Jan. ’22 – Chiefs’ Under BOAT 0 max blitz
    19. Feb. ’22 – Gophers’s Dbl A-gap pressure attacking the boundary (Bills)
    20. March ’22 – LAR’s Over “Read” Pressure [SIM]
    21. April ’22 – 49ers “ALAMO” Blitz (3-through-the-A)
    22. BONUS May ’22 – Browns Safety 5MPRS & Creeper [$]
    23. May ’22 – Clemson’s HOT pressure variations vs Wake Forest [$]
    24. June ’22 – West Virginia’s MAC 3-Buzz Sim [$]
    25. July ’22 – Troy Trojans Study & Using Sims to Create Natural Cross-Dogs [$]
    26. Aug. ’22 – Louisiana’s BOSS Back Check Sim [$]
    27. Sept. ’22 – Attacking the RB with a Cross-Dog Progression [$]
    28. Oct. ’22 – The Buccaneers’ BOSS Mug Cross Trap 2 (5MPRS) [$]
    29. Nov. ’22 – The Dolphins’ NOT stunt to & from the boundary [$]
    30. Dec. ’22 – Georgia’s “Pod” Alignment & EYES blitz. [$]
    31. Jan. ’23 – San Diego State’s Torch Stunt from a Nic Front
    32. Feb. ’23 – Western Kentucky’s Mug Diner Tampa Sim
    33. March ’23 – Eagles Safety Simulated Pressure in the Divisional Round
  9. Pressure/Blitz Design
    1. 5 Tips for Developing a Blitz
    2. How to Packaging Blitz Calls
    3. Building a Better Zone Blitz
    4. Blitzing the Formation (BTF)
    5. 5 Tips For Blitzing From The Secondary
    6. Designing an Odd Cross-Dog Blitz [$]
    7. HUG & SHARE Rush Concepts [$]
    8. Attacking the Guard in Pass Protection
    9. Miami Dolphins “Plug” Blitz (Boyer/’22)
  10. “TAG” Pressures (Max Drop-Out)
    1. The Dolphins’ “TAG” max pressure [$]
    2. “TAG” You’re it! (UCLA’s version of TAG)
    3. Miami’s 7-O look is more than just a “cool” pressure [$]
  11. Simulated & Creeper/Replacement Pressures
    1. Simulated Pressures from a “Positionless” Defense (Texas – Sugar Bowl ’19)
    2. Attacking the Center (BELLY/MANNING) [$]
    3. Building a Creeper Toolbox [$]
    4. Creating an A-Gap Progression Series (Mex/Manning/Missouri) [$]
    5. The Ravens’ “DOG” scheme to create Sim Pressures [$]
    6. The MEX Path: An A-Gap Sim [$]
    7. The FALCONS Path (Saban NFL Sim) [$]
    8. The FAVRE Path: Field Edge Creeper [$]
    9. Attacking the Passing Strength (Favre Path/Baylor ’21) [$]
    10. Packaging Your Creepers & Sims [$]
    11. The WHIP replacement pressure (Titans vs Bengals ’22) [$]
    12. Attacking the Offense Away from the RB [$]
    13. The Fire Zone isn’t Dead [$]
    14. Layering the Fit (Creepers, Sims, & Fluid Fronts) [$]
    15. Attacking early downs with an A-gap 5-man pressure (Raptors) [$]
    16. Attacking the edge of the box with a “pin-loop” (Rodgers/Packers path)


Cool Clips Series

  1. Southern Miss’ Fluid Front & Trap Coverage
  2. Oregon’s Odd Front Flush Concept
  3. Georgia’s “Big 12” pressure vs. TCU (Half-Field Zone)
  4. Defending a Stack Mills concept (UCLA vs. Pitt ’22)
  5. Defending “pause” bubbles
  6. The Eagles’ “Quads” Zone vs. the 49ers (’23)
  7. The Chiefs “return” motions in the Super Bowl (’23)
  8. The 49ers’ (BOSS) Wrap Stunt
  9. Tulanes’ “Pyramid” Scheme (Travel)
  10. Tennessee Vols’ “Bears” Sim
  11. Oregon State’s MARS off-ball Sim (Marino/Mahomes)

Quarters Pedagogy and Drill Tapes

  1. Get the self-titled book Match Quarters
  2. DB 101: Drill Work From Winter to Fall
  3. Creating a Fall Camp Indy Schedule [$]
  4. MQ’s DB Resource Page
  5. LB Philosophy and Fundamentals

Analytics/Install/Opponent Breakdowns/Practice/Self-Scout

  1. MQ’s Full-Length Opponent Breakdown Manual
  2. Building a Hit Chart
  3. Four Day Install Plan for a 4-2-5
  4. Weekly Schedule (Practice Plan)
  5. 5 Cut-ups to Improve Your Self-Scout
  6. Throw Out the Stats – “What really is a “good” defense?
  7. Three questions to ask yourself after a clinic
  8. 5 Reasons You Should Use Simple Efficiency Data This Offseason

Special Projects

  1. ’22 Off-Season Study Guide [$]
  2. MQ Previews the 2021 NFC Championship: Bucs vs Packers
  3. Desert Heat Pt. 1 – The Air Raid Invades the NFL (Kingsbury) – The Roster (’19)
  4. Desert Heat Pt. 2 – The Air Raid Invades the NFL (Kingsbury) – The Scheme (’19)
  5. Moving Away From Winning as a Metric (Win Rate & Bias)
  6. If you are playing a Zero-Sum Game, you are losing

Hudl Newsletter

  1. Creating an In-Season Scouting Report in Hudl Beta
  2. How to Create Great Tendency Charts Quickly in Hudl Beta
  3. Scrap the passing chart—these four columns give you a better…


Pro Quick Draw Blog

  1. 5 REASONS YOU SHOULD USE SIMPLE EFFICIENCY DATA THIS OFFSEASON
  2. FIVE TIPS FOR DESIGNING YOUR DEFENSIVE PLAYBOOK FROM SCRATCH

 

© 2016 – Present | MatchQuarters | #ArtofX | Cody Alexander | All rights reserved.

Defending 20 Personnel – Over vs Under

How to attack 2o pers. using the offense’s tendencies.

There is a reason so many spread teams are using 2o personnel as a base formation. Slot-T teams like Auburn use jet motion and pulling guards to out leverage the defense, even using RPOs to find wide open receivers downfield. Florida St. uses a split-backfield to 01-pop-setsattack the defense with speed to the edge. Teams like Baylor and Ole Miss use 20 pers. formations to use RPO style attacks, Baylor with the third level vertical option routes and Ole Miss with Arc-Read RPOs. There are multiple ways to attack a defense from 20 pers. just using the backfields alone. Each set can create a different read for the QB (all this without using unbalanced and motion). The diagram to the left depicts some of the more popular backfields an offense likes to run out of 20 pers (this doesn’t even include Pistol or “I” sets). When breaking down a 20 pers. offense, each backfield creates a new formation. If an offense uses each one of the above backfield sets in their offense, it forces the defense to look at the formational data with a more critical eye.

For a defensive coach, 20 pers. causes problems not only in the backfield but with the three receivers. There is a tendency by some DC’s to spin against 20 pers. The thought process behind spinning is the offense has added another blocker, and potentially another gap, so to counteract tspin-to-hhat, a DC will spin. The diagram to the right depicts a defense that has spun to the H-back. This allows the Sam to work back to the box. Though the defense has created a plus-one to the field, they have left themselves exposed to the boundary. All an offense has to do is run a simple Arc-Read to the boundary and the offense has a numbers advantage. If a defense is going to spin against 20 pers., it is in the defense’s best interest to spin weak. Leveraging the boundary allows the pass distribution to the field stay intact, and a defense can play a hybrid quarters scheme to the boundary. The issue with spinning to the boundary is the third-level RPO read off the dropping safety. Teams that run a backside choice with the single receiver will see the dropping safety and run a post/slant right behind him. The best plan of action versus a 20 pers. offense is to stay in a two-high scheme and use the safeties as extra box players. The question now is, what about the front? Continue reading “Defending 20 Personnel – Over vs Under”

Throw Out The Stats

Five ways to judge a defense.

“Some teams will play 55 snaps today. I think we defended 17 possessions, 110 (snaps), so we just played two ball games… That’s why the yardage thing is so irrelevant.”

– Glenn Spencer/DC, Oklahoma St. | via Kyle Fredrickson, NewsOK.com.

It’s time for defensive coaches everywhere to start changing the way they view modern defensive football. The “spread movement” is real, and it is not going away. The spread scheme, though vast in its styles has one basic principle, create one-on-one matchups by using the entire width of the field. Adding tempo to spread schemes creates more possessions and opportunities to score points. It is not uncommon for college teams to run 90+ offensive plays in a game or a high school offense to reach 75-80+ plays. As the amount of snaps being played in a game increase, it puts more pressure on the defense to line up correctly and play every snap. Most teams in the Big 12 will play a half game or more each week compared to its SEC counterparts. As Glenn Spencer stated in the quote above, the yardage stat is becoming less relevant than ever before. To gauge how great a defense is in the modern football era defensive coaches and pundits everywhere need to readjust the standards for what makes a great defense.

Five Points of Emphasis

Points Per Possession

Conditioning against tempo teams is a premium for the defensive side of the ball. More possessions create more opportunities for points, thus more opportunity for mistakes. Spread teams operate by creating one-on-one matchups and “spreading” the field to create space. As more spread teams implement tempo and gain more possessions, the old stats of yards per game and points per game become irrelevant. If a team gives up 28 points and defends 8 possessions (3.5 PPP), are they better than a defense that gives up 35 points but defends 15 possessions (2.3 PPP)? Defensive coaches need to be less infatuated with yards and points. The only points that matter are the ones needed to win a game. The PPP stat evens out teams that play spread versus teams that play traditional huddle-up offenses. If looking at the PPP stat, one can better determine the strength of the defense because it focuses on how many drives turn into scoring drives. A drive is a drive, the difference is how many did a team defend, and did it give up some points? A good number for a defense is anything under 2 points, elite is under 1.5. Continue reading “Throw Out The Stats”

MQ’s Three Ways to Attack Empty

Prevent prevents you from winning.

04-empty-pic

Three Ways to Attack Empty

1) Cold = Double Tex:

The Double Tex line stunt is a great way to use all five linemen while keeping gap integrity in the middle of the formation. The point of using a Tex stunt is to bait the quarterback into stepping up the field, or the offense into running a QB draw. Many DCs are afraid to blitz Empty because of the threat of the QB draw. Using Tex stunts allows the DC to gain all back seven defenders in coverage while putting pressure on the offensive line.

05-bob
Big-on-big protection vs Under.

The defensive ends screaming up the middle eliminates the threat of a QB draw. In the diagram below, the DEs presses upfield to get the tackles to kick out to them. The Tackle and Nose loop to the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles and secure contain. Once the offensive tackles kick back, the DEs loop in and aim for the inside hip of the guards. Against “big-on-big” (BOB) protection, the Center should step to the Nose. This opens the weakside “A” gap for the incoming boundary DE and looks like an enticing window for the QB to step up into. Even if there is a draw on by the QB, he will be stepping into two incoming DEs.

The coverage piece behind it can be whatever the DC is most comfortable with against Empty. In the case below, a “looseSpecial scheme is the chosen coverage. The Mike and the Will are allowed the luxury of hanging outside because the DEs are responsible for the interior gaps. If the Nose or Tackle cannot get to the outside, the Mike and Will are able to attack the QB once he leaves the pocket or the QB bounces outside on a draw. The great quality of the Double Tex stunt is it gives the DC the best of both worlds, it protects the interior line from a QB draw and allows all the back seven players to drop into coverage.

01-dbl-tex Continue reading “MQ’s Three Ways to Attack Empty”

Defending Jet Motion

Don’t take the bait. Don’t get out leveraged.

01-auburn

The jet motion is a great leveraging tool that offenses use to either move the defense (to counter the opposite way) or cut them off (speed kills). Auburn under Malzahn has utilized the jet motion to create deception and outmaneuver opponents. The speed at which the jet motion attacks, forces the defense to recognize the motion and adjust accordingly. Because the offense is using a fast motion, the defense is forced to plus alignments or spin an extra player down to the side the motion is moving. Many times, an offense uses their best athlete on the jet motion to focus even more attention on the movement.  Offenses can even use the jet motion as a decoy because the defense has to honor the motion. To gain width, or to freeze an OLB/DE, offenses will send a jet motion to one side and run a play going away. This “freezing” of the defense allows an extra lineman to climb to the next level. This focus causes tunnel vision and can lead to exposure away from the direction of the motion.

Offenses use motion as a leverage tool. The Slot-T version of the spread, which Auburn runs, uses the jet motion to move the defense into compromising positions. Every 03-auburndefensive coach knows that when an offense uses motion (especially jet motion), the defense is forced to adjust promptly to the new formation. As stated earlier, the speed of the jet motion can make defenses over rotate to counteract the quick rotation of the offense. For many defensive coordinators, it is easier to rotate safeties (spin) than to bump linebackers because of the tempo at which the WR or slot is running. The introduction of unbalanced formations (X-off) and the utilization of the quarterback in the run game have made it more difficult for defenses to defend jet motion teams. In the picture above, Auburn used an unbalanced set to attack the Alabama defense. Out of the stack set shown, the offense can run a double lead jet stretch, running back counter weak, jet power read with two lead blockers or any QB run they choose. With so many play variations off of one formation and motion, it is no wonder many spread teams are using this type of motion to build whole offenses around. Any time the QB becomes a runner, the defense is stressed even more. The added value that the jet motion gives teams is undeniable. Continue reading “Defending Jet Motion”

Defending the Diamond Formation

Ideas on defending a unique and multiple set.

01-wvu-diamond

The inverted bone offensive set has become an integral part of many spread offenses over the past decade. The set is similar to the 12 personnel “Ace” set (2×2 with two TEs) and reflects how offenses have gotten creative by taking the TEs off the ball. Any even set with a “pistol” backfield has created a two-way-go with their play calling. Defensively this puts pressure on the players to set the front to the strength. With modern football moving more towards hybrid players, the Diamond set allows for offenses to move seamlessly from 30 personnel to 20/10/11 personnel. Add tempo to the mix, and defenses now have to line up correctly to multiple sets without a sub to tell them what they are getting.  Continue reading “Defending the Diamond Formation”

Defending Stack and Bunch Sets

Theories on attacking the Spread’s cluster sets.

One of the hardest sets in football to defend is the cluster or stack set. Spread offenses utilize this set to get the defense’s outside linebackers in run/pass conflicts. Unlike a traditional 2×2 set, the defense has to adjust to the width of the receivers. Stacking them creates width, and width creates the conflict.

Spread teams rely on the open “B” gap to build their RPO’s into their offensive gameplan. By stacking the receivers out wide, the defense is forced to adjust. In a two-high system, the player in conflict (usually the Will LB) has to choose, cover down to his receiver or hold tight to the box. If he stays close to the box, the offense is going to throw the quick screen and create a 1-on-1 open field tackling matchup with the safety or corner. In most cases, the defense wants to avoid this as much as possible.

On the other end of the spectrum, if the defender widens to the cluster set, the offense has a 4-1 box and a clear running opportunity. Versus a two-high system, there is a great chance for the offense to part the field like the Red Sea for a big gain. Ask any offensive coach, a 4-1 box is a magical thing.

In the image below, Penn St. is running an Under Front and “hips” it’s Sam LB to the strength (“hip” refers to the OLB aligned on the outside hip of the DE). In most RPO style offenses, this is a clear pass read. The Sam has to honor the run read and step to his gap. Even with zone away and a gap exchange with a “heavy” DE (in this set the DE has dive), the Sam has to take a step towards the box. The QB is taught to read the Sam’s path and throw the screen.

Penn. St. is most likely in a “Cloud” coverage (Two Read) and the safety is bailing on the snap. Easy pickings for any decent offensive coordinator. It’s a conflict of philosophy; the offense wants 1-on-1 matchups and the defense wants a plus-one. In order to create a six-man box and protect against the run, the defense has to spin to single-high, but to keep a plus-one in pass distribution it has to stay in two-high, something has to give. MatchQuarters explores the options.

Continue reading “Defending Stack and Bunch Sets”

MQ’s 3rd Down Calls from a 3-4

Stop calls for 3rd down from a 3-4. Don’t just “drop 8.”

There are two main trains of thought on 3rd Down when defending from a 3-4: 1) drop eight, sit back, play it conservative and tackle the ball in front of the sticks; or 2) blitz the QB, put pressure on him right now and force a quick errant throw. Either philosophy can work, but it is important to know what the offense is trying to do.

Obviously, the opponent breakdown is a huge key to how a team attacks 3rd Down. When a defense gets a team into passing situations it can attack by blitzing or attack the passing concepts an offense uses. 3rd Down is when most offensive coordinators get conservative and predictable. They want to move the chains, that is obvious, so instead of attacking a defense, they get conservative and just, “Try and get a first down.” Tempo is also seen less frequently which gives the defense time to adjust.

On obvious passing downs, it is important to have a plan. What is the offense trying to do in 3rd and Medium situations? Is the offense an “all stops” team, a “clear out/HBO” team, or do they run a “levels” scheme and sprint out? The big question on 3rd and Medium is if the offense is attacking down the field, or attacking the “sticks.” Many times in 3rd and Medium situations, the offense is trying to attack the marker by running quick hitting routes that can turn into first downs.

The question that needs to be answered for 3rd and Long is, do they attack vertically, throw screens, or use the draw? Once a defensive coordinator has an idea of what an offense likes, he can attack the tendency. Every defensive coach knows, win 1st Down consistently and win the game, but a defense needs to have a plan for 3rd. Continue reading “MQ’s 3rd Down Calls from a 3-4”

Defending Split Zone

Ideas on combating a simple yet effective play.

Inside zone is not a new play to defensive coordinators; neither is the split zone, but it can give defenses fits if not fit up correctly. In its simplicity, it is a creative play to challenge a defense. Unlike its zone counterpart, the split zone creates an extra gap. The play itself is much like the counter without the pulling guard. When offenses run counter the linebackers can react to the pulling guard and fit the extra gaps. The split zone forces the linebackers to fit their gaps. This puts pressure on the secondary (mainly the safeties) to ensure their fits are correct.

In the clip below, Iowa St. runs a gap plug blitz and the defensive end to the H-back runs up the field to hold the “C” gap. The out block by the “H” creates an extra gap. The safety to the play should have fit the inside shoulder of the “H” because the DE was taking the outside. Instead, the safety stays outside and is blocked out, leading to Baylor’s first score of the day. Bottom line, Split Zone has to be treated as though it is a gap play (think power/counter) or a defense will be gashed.

Teams that run inside zone are looking for the cutback. Versus a zone play, the linebackers have to fill their gaps (there is no puller). The offensive line creates a wall and allows the running back to cut back to the open weak side. In the clip above, ISU was running a run stop blitz, but because the safety didn’t fit his gap, it led to a touchdown.

Teams that run split zone and the read-option offshoot, need to be played as though they are gap scheme heavy teams. Add RPO’s to this play, and it puts tremendous pressure on a defense, all from a simple zone scheme. There is hope, much like the Zone Read, a defense can attack this play on the principles of the offense. Continue reading “Defending Split Zone”

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