MQ Quick Hits Ep. 17 – Trips Checks

In this episode of Quick Hits, MQ describes the three of the most commonly used adjustments to Trips for Quarters or split-field defenses. MQ provides whiteboard instruction, even giving you how offenses will counter and what situations are best for each coverage. Stress, which is MOD Sky stretched across three WRs is the first to be discussed. Special/Stubbie and the adjustment Stump is the second coverage, and Solo/Poach rounds out the three adjustments. Finally, MQ discusses the four ways to defend the single-WR: Quarters, 2-Read, Invert, and Trap.

Continue reading “MQ Quick Hits Ep. 17 – Trips Checks”

MQ Film Study – Learning Stress Coverage (Arizona St. – 2017)

Run Quarters? Then this is the Trips Check for you. MQ dives deep.

Defending Trips can be difficult when trying to stay in a split-field look. Some defensive coordinators opt to “kick” the backside safety to the three WR side in order to keep the LBs “capped,” or assisted with verticals by a Safety. Another way to play Trips is to slide the backside Safety into the box. This allows the overhang to the #3 WR to exit the box and take any vertical by #3 (with limited support by the front side safety). Finally, a coach can always spin to Cover 3 versus Trips.

Trips is an odd formation because it puts three speedy players to one side of the defense. It literally “stresses” the defense. If kicking the coverage, the backside CB is exposed to one-on-ones. Spin to single-high and a coach has created one-on-one matchups across the board. In order to stay in a split-field look and support the backside CB, a coach needs to stretch the coverage. If based out of Quarters, a way to do this is to run Stress Coverage to the Trips side.

.01 Stress

What Stress does is take the basic Quarters coverage (I refer to it as SKY), and stretches it across the Trips formation. This leaves the defense in a true split-field look. The front side is independent of the back side, and vice versa. By staying in a two-high structure, the defense can manipulate the coverage and fits to the backside in order to fit what the coach needs. In Stress, as stated, the regular Sky coverage is stretched.

Continue reading “MQ Film Study – Learning Stress Coverage (Arizona St. – 2017)”

Running Dime as Your Base – A Lesson From the Big 12

Welcome to the Big 12 where Dime has now become your base.

The Big 12 has always been on the outer limits of what coaches are willing to do on offense and a graveyard for “guru” defensive coordinators (just ask Diaz and Strong). Defenses in the Big 12 play more snaps than the average Power 5 defense. Tempo and the Air Raid reign supreme in a league that prides itself on scoring points. The knock on the league has always been the defenses in the conference. To many outsiders, the Big 12 is offense first, and it is, but if you are looking to defend the spread, there is no other place to look – they live with it every day.

If looking at defensive stats alone, the Big 12 is on the outside looking in, but there is something to be learned here. Starting in 2016, teams in the Big 12, primarily Oklahoma St. (2016) and Iowa St. (2017), began using a modified Dime (3-down) and Nickle (4-down) package to combat the Air Raid heavy teams in the league. I discussed in January’s article about how teams are becoming more fluid in their fronts; switching from 4-down to 3-down without losing scheme.

The Dime package utilized by Iowa St. in 2017 was no different. Versus a run-heavy Oklahoma team, the Cyclones relied on a modified 4-down defense to defeat the Sooners in Norman. There ability to switch from a 4-down to a 3-down without subbing made the scheme a perfect fit for the multiple Sooners. With a TE like Mark Andrews and an H-back like Dimitri Flowers, the Sooners could give multiple looks without subbing. This fact alone is why the Big 12 is so innovative on defense. Hybrid players are a premium in the league. In Iowa St.’s season finale versus a high-powered spread attack in Memphis, Iowa St. utilized the 3-down version of their hybrid Dime to defeat Memphis 21-20.

The Dime/Nickel hybrid defense has become Iowa St.’s base defense and is fluid between the different front structures. When the Cyclones go 4-down, it is no different than if they are blitzing a linebacker from their Dime package. The coverages are similar too. Here is a look at the two base defenses:

Oklahoma St. Nickel (4-Down)

02 Cy Ni Base

Cyclone Dime (3-Down)

06 Cy Di Base Continue reading “Running Dime as Your Base – A Lesson From the Big 12”

“How Do You Play Trips?” Pt. 3 – Defending the Run

Defending a spread offense’s 3×1 package run game from a two-high shell.

When developing a defense it is important to start with the front and work back. Lining up correctly to formations, understanding keys, and developing a plan to stop the run all starts with the front seven. In a 4-3/4-2-5 (or 3-4 Hybrid) defense, the secondary players become the adjusters. Playing a single-gap defense and using formations to dictate alignments allow defensive players to see the formation quicker and align correctly. Each player in a defense is anchored to one another in some way. Understanding these anchor points, and how they change depending on formations, is crucial to the success of any defensive unit.

The Spread’s utilization of space has put aligning correctly every play at a premium. It is easy to align to a simple 2×2 formation, but when offenses utilize 3×1 formations (primarily Trips Open) the defense must understand how it adjusts will dictate their areas of weakness. Offenses make use of Trips formations because it forces the defense to give something up. To gain a six-man box a defense must spin, either to the Trips or away.  Continue reading ““How Do You Play Trips?” Pt. 3 – Defending the Run”

Episode 4 — MQ Quick Hits :: Cover Downs, Overhangs, & Box Players

An 8 min video on the “Art of X.”

The latest Quick Hits video dissects a defense’s structure and explains key elements to defending the spread. Key terms are discussed such as cover down (a defender’s relation to the slot), overhangs (force players outside the box), and “box” players (players within the frame of the offensive line). These elements discussed are crucial to the structure of any defense and understanding how the offense relates and attacks these players is important to stopping any offense.

Continue reading “Episode 4 — MQ Quick Hits :: Cover Downs, Overhangs, & Box Players”

The “Nub” Side

Defending single-width formations.

There are certain formations that pop up during a season that can give a defensive coordinator pause. Unbalanced sets, for instance, are used by many offenses to force 16 to 18-year-old athletes to think on their feet or force a defensive coordinator to burn a timeout. Pro spread offenses use tackle-over sets to confuse the defense and gain leverage, while 10 personnel spread and two-back offenses utilize unbalanced sets to work quick motion from the single receiver side (“X-off”). Though “nub” formations are not unbalanced, they are very similar and continuously give defenses trouble. When the formation is combined with RPO and Air Raid schemes, it can put immense pressure on DCs.

Single-width formations are paradoxical. On one side an offense has multiple receivers, while on the other it has a running formation. “Nub” formations force the defense to acknowledge a true “run” side, while also defending multiple receiver formations. Offenses that utilize TE sets can create leverage issues or force a secondary player to be left by his lonesome against a bigger player. Many defenses will choose to spin against “nub” formations to gain extra men in the box and replace lost overhangs.

As modern football progresses, more offenses are choosing to go away from under center formations. This allows the offense to have a two-way go in a Pistol formation or a “read” side in an RPO offense from the gun. There is nothing more threatening than an offense that is powering the ball down the field while implementing RPOs. Packaging plays forces the defense to stay even and protect the run fits and pass distribution, all at the same time. Instead of spinning, a defense needs to stay in a two-shell look and develop a game plan dependent on the tendencies and personnel preference of the offense.  Continue reading “The “Nub” Side”

Cautious Aggression

Defensive schemes to combat spread offenses.

Introducing MQ’s first full-length book, Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football.

.98 Cover Pic

Buy it on immediately on CreateSpaceAmazon, and Kindle. Click the provider below and order your copy today (Links open in new window).

| CreateSpace | Amazon | Kindle |

Description: As the spread becomes more of the norm in all regions of this country it is important for coaches everywhere to have a resource for defending the modern spread offense. Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football is that resource for coaches. The schemes described in this book are tried and true methods for defending some of the best offenses this country has ever seen.

Starting with “The Why” and ending with “The How.” Cautious Aggression gives coaches a defensive philosophy they can trust. Using diagrams and concise explanations, the book lays out a formula for success for coaches to utilize in their own schemes. Below are the chapters:

  1. Argument for Two-High
  2. Defending the Modern Spread Offense
  3. Defending Run/Pass Options
  4. Systematic Creativity of a Quarters Defense
  5. The Art of Match Quarters
  6. All About the Cover Down
  7. Designing a Modern Defense
  8. Setting the Strength
  9. Defending Formations into the Boundary
  10. Defending Motions

Coaching at the lower levels of football bring its own issues to the table that many Division I football teams do not face. Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football is written for all coaches. The experiences Coach Alexander gained while coaching for Baylor Football combined with his experiences at the high school level has given him a unique perspective on defensive football. Many of the concepts and theories in this book have been adjusted to fit the needs of high school and small college coaches around the country. Come learn “The Art of X.”

Thank you to all that support the site, this book would not be possible without you.

-Cody Alexander

Defending 3×1 Formations – Solo Coverage

Kick the coverage with out the spin.

The biggest issue facing defenses when defending 3×1 formations is the run/pass conflict of the Mike. No other player in a 3×1 formation has more on their plate than the leader of most defenses. In modern football, the age of a “plugger” at Mike is over. Each LB must be able to cover underneath routes and understand how their run fits relate to their pass drops. Defenses can no longer afford to drop their LBs to “zones” or landmarks. Each player is a link in a chain. As the spread becomes a permanent fixture in most regions’ football cultures, defenses are turning to match schemes to help alleviate the issues seen in traditional defenses.

Traditionally, teams have spun to the three-receiver side to allow the Mike to stay in the box, switching his responsibility of relating to the #3 receiver to “plugging” the middle of the formation. Eliminating this run/pass conflict helped defenses against the “spread-to-run” offenses but it opened them up to high percentage throws that could easily become fatals (TDs) when those offenses ran play -action. In the diagram below, an Over Cover 3 scheme is shown:

.99 C3

Right away, the main issue with Cover 3 or “kick” coverage to Trips is the backside corner is in man-to-man coverage with the single WR. Offenses traditionally have left their best receiver at the “X” because of this defensive scheme. The best offensive receiver on the field is lined up across from a player with little to no help. This can spell disaster for defenses. As the spread as evolved, offenses have developed reads for the third level. If a defense spins to a 3×1 formation (“kick”) the offense can easily check to a backside choice route depending on the leverage of the corner. For most, this is a post route ran right off the back of the kicking safety. This is a high percentage throw that can spell disaster for defenses.  Continue reading “Defending 3×1 Formations – Solo Coverage”

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”

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 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”

MQ Archive | #ArtofX

Find everything you need in one place.

Go deeper into defense with MQ’s Books:

Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football

Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense

Match Quarters: A Modern Guide to Split-Field Coverage

Breaking Down Your Offensive Opponent

Anchor Points: Building a Defense from the Ground Up

A Complete Guide to the Hybrid 4-2-5

Get them today!

Connect With MQ

| Twitter | YouTube |

SUBSCRIBE to the Substack so you don’t miss out!

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 & Pressures

  1. Zero the Mike (Belly-Key)
  2. Using Natural Gap Exchanges in Your Front Seven
  3. Utilizing a HEAVY technique in the run game [$]
  4.  Line Twists to Combat Heavy Zone Teams
  5. Defending the Zone Read
  6. Defending the Power Read
  7. Defending Split Zone
  8. 5 Tips for Defending Spread Option Teams
  9. Defending BAsh (“Back Away”) Concepts
  10. Defending 20p Two-Back Power
  11. Keeping it simple vs a running QB (’21 Bucs vs Eagles) [$]
  12. The Saints Nose-Will (Wham) Scheme vs. the Rams (’22)

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. Post-Snap Rotations:
      1. Changing the Picture: 2-Roll Coverage
      2. The Jets’ Stab tag in Quarters coverage (’22)
      3. Changing the Coverage Contour Post-Snap (NTTs & Steal rotations – Michigan ’22)
      4. The Bengals’ non-traditional Tampa Creeper (Brees)
  7. Vic Fangio System (Brandon Staley & Rams)
    1. Unlocking the Fangio coverage system (’23)
    2. The Argument For A Light Box (Fangio System/LA Rams Defense)
    3. Primer on the system:
      1. The Fangio Philosophy Pt. 1 (Foundational Concepts)
      2. The Fangio Philosophy Pt. 2 (Run Fits & Pass Distributions)
    4. Where Single-High & Two-High Collide: 6-Cross [$]
    5. Flipping the Script (Fangio’s Cover 6 – HQQ) [$]
    6. Raheem Morris’ Version (Rams):
      1. Rams Defensive Primer Pt. 1 (’21)
      2. Rams Defensive Primer Pt. 2 (’21) [$]
      3. Rodgers & LaFleur put on a clinic vs the Rams (’21 Divisional Round) [$]
      4. Has the Rams’ defense gotten “soft”? (’22)
    7. Why is the Fangio System taking over the NFL (’23):
      1. The Fangio Tree’s roots keep growing – Part 1 (’23)
      2. The Fangio Tree’s roots keep growing – Part 2 (’23)
      3. The Fangio Tree’s roots keep growing – Part 3 (’23)
    8. The Eat Front within the Penny Package (Broncos ’22)
  8. The Many Faces of Bill Belichick (’23):
    1. Part 1
    2. Part 2 (Film Review)
  9. Defending the Air Raid System
    1. Defending the Air Raid with “Steal” Coverage
    2. Taking STEAL Coverage to the next level [$]
    3. Air Raid Killers – Washington’s Defense vs Wazzu [$]
  10. 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) [$]
    9. 5 Things Defenses Hate in the Low Red Zone [$]
  11. 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
  12. Alex Grinch Defenses (Oklahoma)
    1. Sacking the Longhorns – OU vs Texas (2019)
    2. Manipulating the Cover Down (OU vs Baylor 2019)
  13. 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. Illinois Penny Package vs. Michigan (’22)
  4. 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) [$]
      2. MQ’s Simple 3-Down Dime Package
  5. 3rd Down
    1. Attacking 3rd Down With Multiple Fronts
    2. Jim Leonhard (Wisc)
    3. 3rd Down Calls From a 3-4
    4. The BOSS Front (Bigs On Same Side) [$]
    5. The 49ers BOSS Package (vs. the Seahawks ’22)
    6. 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. [$]
    31. Jan. ’23 – San Diego State’s Torch Stunt from a Nic Front
    32. Feb. ’23 – Western Kentucky’s Mug Diner Tampa Sim
    33. March ’23 – Eagles Safety Simulated Pressure in the Divisional Round (Geno)
  9. Pressure/Blitz Design
    1. 5 Tips for Developing a Blitz
    2. How to Packaging Blitz Calls
    3. Building a Better Zone Blitz
    4. Blitzing the Formation (BTF)
    5. 5 Tips For Blitzing From The Secondary
    6. Designing an Odd Cross-Dog Blitz [$]
    7. HUG & SHARE Rush Concepts [$]
    8. Attacking the Guard in Pass Protection
    9. Miami Dolphins “Plug” Blitz (Boyer/’22)
    10. Georgia’s A-gap Pressure Package (vs TCU ’23)
    11. Creating a “Layered” Pressure (Texas vs Bama ’22)
  10. “TAG” Pressures (Max Drop-Out)
    1. The Dolphins’ “TAG” max pressure [$]
    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 (Broncos vs Chiefs ’22)
    17. Attacking Weak: The Fangio systems Ni Whip & Penny Whiskey 9

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)
  12. Tulane’s Tex-Mex (Chuy’s) “pick” pressure

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. Yearly Non-Football Post
    1. Moving Away From Winning as a Metric (Win Rate & Bias) – ’21
    2. If you are playing a Zero-Sum Game, you are losing – ’22
    3. Embrace Your Story – ’23
  6. 2023 NFL Draft:
    1. Analyzing the ’22 AFC Coverage Matrices
    2. Analyzing the ’22 NFC Coverage Matrices

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



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

How do you play Trips? Pt. 1

Using the Under Front to gain an edge versus Trips.

The 3×1 Dilemma

While working at Baylor, one of the first questions the defensive staff would get from visiting coaches was, “How do you defend Trips?” The Trips formation stresses the defense to the max. By using a 3×1 scheme, offensive coordinators have a plethora of options to attack a defense. If the defense stays in an Over front and tucks the Mike in the strong side “A” gap, the offensive coaches know that the defense is either in man or spinning to single high coverage.

By kicking the boundary safety to the field, the offense gets a guaranteed one-on-one match up with the boundary corner. Even if the defense is dropping an end, or slinging the weak side backer under the single receiver, the top can easily be blown off if the offense has a stud “X” receiver. Against RPO teams a tucked Mike gives offenses the option to read the field safety. This is where the “Spot Draw” can give fits to a defense that is playing an Over front.

v. Over
4-3 Over v. a “Spot Draw” RPO

Some teams will stay in an Over Front and “sink” the back side safety into the box. This is still the same concept of kicking to the Trips side, but inverted. Though the Mike is now able to cover down for the “snag” route, the defense has introduced a safety into the box, creating a third level conflict player. When teams do this they are exposing themselves to an even bigger play, the backside post shot. By creating a conflicted player in the secondary, the defense has put a CB in isolation. Most modern defenses are trying to find ways to stay in a two-shell to combat one-on-one matchups in the secondary. By sinking, the defense has eliminated a 5-yard route to replace it with a deep shot.

Over Special

Continue reading “How do you play Trips? Pt. 1”

%d bloggers like this: