Lone Star Clinic 2020 – Dave Aranda, Baylor HC

Thoughts on Base Defense

  • 11 pers. = Is the TE in the core or out?
  • Don’t like Mint vs 3×1 Y-off (especially 4×1) – Check “Eagle” (Nose to Shade)

01 Eagle Front

  • LBs are in 30s – Key the “Y”
  • Read the depth of the “Y”
    • Highway = Tight to the OT (think Zone Load)
    • Relay = Deep alignment (think Split Zone, Counter, Insert)
  • Ni is 5×1 inside of #2 (“pat” feet, read mesh/”feel” #2)
  • Coverages:
    • Hammer Coverage = Quarters
    • Nail = 2-Read
  • Backside Safety reads the “Y” (Poach away/Vert to “Fox the Post” if to)
    • Poach = If vertical take it
    • TE blocks = Work through the Post (help double the Slot) – “Fox”
  • RPO’s away from the RB are “gifts” & based on alignment (leverage read)
  • Try to gauge the depth of the TE and RB
  • Develop a plan according to what side of the ball the offense is attacking?
    • Same-Side (Gap schemes)
    • Away (Zone schemes)
  • 3-4 run fits are similar to vision coverage (see the ball – get the ball)
  • 5 tech = FIST (Heavy tech.) – rub to “B” with a base block
  • “Cinco” call tells the DE to become a “heavy” 5 tech.
    • Keeps Tite look, but gain a 5 tech. versus gap schemes
    • Good versus diagonal looks (TE and RB on different sides)

02 Slide Front

  • Doesn’t like Safety as a primary fit guy (play from the table or top-down)

This is similar to what I have talked about on the site, especailly versus 3×1 formations. Aranda is a “Quarters guy.” If he isn’t running Quarters he is running man free. That being said, he does spin to Cover 3 in his Fire Zones, but mainly to 3×1. If he can run Quarters, that’s where he lives.

In terms of playing from the “table” (or Safety top down), he believes that if you set the front right, the Safety ends up in the alley, or where he naturally plays. As the images above show, the Jack in both the fronts acts as the force or contain player to the boundary. If he were to spill a puller, the Safety would be there along with the Rover to play the bounce. Aranda shies away from inserting the Safety and pushing the LBs to the a 3×1 formation (counter to Saban disciples and the norm for many coaches).

His main concern is the backside Glance or Post route. Like I’ve argued on MatchQuarters and in several pods, even if you live in a two-high strucutre you can get to Cover 3 or middle of the field closed (MOFC) coverages by how you teach the backside Safety. Aranda rarely doubles the “X” WR and opts to use that man as the Post defender (or alley player), especially in 3×1 looks. This is what he refers to eight-man spacing. Even in 4-Lock (Michgan St. press Quarters), Aranda will use the Safety to the single-side to close (Fox) the Post versus two-back/Y-off formations.

What does this mean for his run fits? The Safety stays high as long as possible so he can assist with play-action and backside RPOs. The way the front is set (think Mint), the Safety is not responsible for the inside gap. Versus a 3×1 set, the backside Safety reads the release of the TE. In most cases, if the TE blocks or comes back to him, the Safety reads the mesh and works to close the Post. When living in a Quarters world, this is the best way to teach it and run it.

  • What does the offense do? Counter that.
  • Bunches or “snugs”/reduced sets
    • What gives us the best look?
    • Why are they doing this?
  • Create checks to looks you know you are going to get (defend their base)
  • EYES coverage (2 Under/3 Deep) changes the math (no peel)

03 EYES Blitz

Above is a typical “Eyes” blitz. The only differense between Aranda’s version and this is the DE to the RB will not “peel.” Aranda prefers to keep that guy added in to “change the math.” The thought process is similar to attacking Empty with six men. Bring a guy that the offense can’t handle to get the QBs eyes “down” or on the pressure. By doing this you force a quick (“Hot”) throw to either the Seam/SCiF players or to the RB on a “negative” route (behind the LOS). The defense can rally to that. This also factors into when you bring the EYES blitz. Usually needs to be in pass situations.

**If Aranda wants to peel, he will call something that has a “shared rush” where the edge man peels and the ILB inserts only if the RB flares.

  • If we can get pressure with 4, why blitz? (think Sims)
    • This means you have to show you will rush though
    • Can’t Sim without actually blitzing
    • Spend some to get some
  • Blitz away from the Overload in your front
    • Overload is when you put multiple BIGS on the same side
    • Most teams check to Slide vs Overload

04 Overload Front

In an Overload Front, the offense has a tendency to check Slide versus this look. In many cases, the offense will slide to the side of the “bigs.” In the illistration above, that would be to the defense’s left. This puts man blocking on the EDGE defender (“J”). If designing a front like this, you want to put your best pass rusher on the OT that is going to get no help. In this case, it is the LT. You can set rules for this front to be to the RB, field, or boundary, all depending on how you plan to attack the pass-pro. The nice thing about this front as well, is if the O-line doesn’t slide, you still have created man blocking because you have five defenders on the line. This particlar front is used in the infamous “NFL Sims” used by the Sabanites. Bottomline, find the one-on-one matchup you can win and attack it!

  • In Tite, the Rover (Will) is the 4th rusher
  • “Wizard” tag = weak OLB rushes

05 Delay Rush

In the “Wizard” call, the OLB that is rushing will “read it.” If the OT steps to him, the ‘backer will knife into the “A” gap and the 4i will work off the OT’s back to contain. If the OT were to latch onto the 4i, the OLB would then contain rush.

  • Anytime both overhangs are near the box (Bear), rush inside
  • Rules to live by when designing pressures:
    • OTs block out = rush inside
    • OTs block down = rush outside
    • Go to where they are not!
  • If #2 is in the backfield or on the line blocking, the Safety to has the Post (Fox)
  • Versus nub-TE, the Safety can “center-up” if RB is to the Trips

I’ve done this as well versus nub-Trips. If the offense aligns in a Quads set (nub with RB to the Trips), you can set the backside Safety on the Center to close the MOF. This puts him in what I refer to as “Post Control.” The CB to the nub side can easily take the TE man-to-man and has support if he cant “choke” the Post from the TE. Versus the run, the Safety can act as a double alley player. Essentially he is “free” to roam if running a split-field coverage versus this set.

Attacking Pass-Pro

  • Versus Odd Fronts, you mainly get Fan Dual or Slide away from the Ni
    • Fan Dual is when the OL fans to either edge (OT & G takes the 4i/RB takes edge)
    • Need to be aware of how big of a threat is your Ni in your pressures
    • Do you bring him? If not, you probably are getting Slide away from him

Be congnizant if you use your Ni in pressures. If you only use him in coverage you are going to get pass-pro away from him. This needs to be considered when building/calling pressures. Know what you are likely going to get and attack that. Aranda isn’t saying you need to blitz the Ni, but if you don’t it would be useful to send him to keep the offense honest.

  • Even fronts = Slide or Combo (man one way/Slide the other)
  • Designing Creepers
    • Do they redirect? (**This means, do they come off their initial target?)
    • Does the Center “float” (sit in the “A”) or does he work to a side?
    • How do they handle Bear looks?
  • Front Looks:
    • Odd – Bear (LBs in 9 and DEs in 4i) or Mug (DEs in 5s & LBs walked up)
    • Even – Bear (5s, 3s, & a “zero” mugged Mike) or Dbl A Mug (5s & 3s)

06 Bear Looks

  • Do they want the RB out (Slide away)?
  • 3rd Down = complementary fronts
  • Base Down pressures:
    • Theisman/Orton (2×2 = Quarters/Everything else = Cover 3)
      • Base-down pressure (1st/2nd)
      • Good vs run and pass
      • Mix in Tite 4, Wizard 4, and Buzz 3
    • What type of offense determines what type of Cover 3

06 Orton-Theisman

Aranda noted that these five-man pressures were great against one-back, play-action, and “diagnol” backfields (think Zone or same-side gap).

  • Want to hit Creepers at the snap
  • “Screw” call tells the Ni to take the “fast 4” in 3×1 RB to formations
    • Super-Rotation (Safeties rotate to the Trips/Ni is attached to the box & covers down to #3)
    • Great vs teams that fast motion or QB runs (keeps box intact)
    • Helps the Mike not have to vacate the box
  • Versus 5-man protections (RB out), rush four creatively or rush six
    • Use the protection to get your 5th man free
    • Change the math!
  • Find ways to build a shared rush off of base looks (pressure from non-traditional space) – Below is a look at Jags 0

Jags 0


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