Getting After It with the Cover 1 3-3 Stack Blitz Package

I have recently spent time with coaches who run the version of the 3-3 that Charlie Strong ran at South Carolina in the early 2000′s. It has been an awesome experience to learn that style of defense from great coaches. I am going to share a little bit from their 3-3 stack blitz package, specifically two of their cover 1 blitzes. I learned this off-season, and I hope you can incorporate these pressures into your package because they are SIMPLE and SOUND!!

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NIU’s Empty Formation QB Power / Counter Combination Play

Northern Illinois has a pretty nifty offense. It seems to be all the rage these days. However, when you watch the film, the vast majority of the offense relies heavily on the old, reliable power blocking scheme. In this case, since they run QB power from an empty formation, they’re kicking out the end with the guard in this specific usage of the power scheme.

You may consider this a trap play, but it’s using the power blocking concept (specifically the “counter” play scheme, with the QB’s read acting as the “wrapper” typically filled by the fullback or pulling tackle).

They run a lot of QB power, and this article will focus on their combination QB power play with the jailbreak screen. Continue reading

Basics of the Shotgun Power Read Concept

We see a lot of teams running Power Read concept. Some people call this Power Option, or Inverted Veer, or something else. Whatever you call the play, it’s the old school Power or “Power-O” concept.

What exactly is the Power Read concept? The offensive line is basically blocking Power, except the offense is reading the defensive end instead of kicking him out. If you do this from a 2 back set, the fullback or H-back player can now leak into the alley.

Power Read vs 4-2

Notice The Double Rather than a Combo Block on the 3 Technique

Let’s take a deeper dive into the play, including differences with the traditional power scheme and some clips from Baylor in 2013.
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Using the 3-4 Defense to Shut Down the Wing – T Offense

The wing – t offense has been giving defenses headaches for eons of time, but now is the time to shut it down!

I played offensive line in high school and college, and the offense we ran at my high school was the wing – t offense. I believe that you must understand the wing – t offense from an offensive point of view before you start to develop your defensive plan of how to stop it.

The wing – t offense is built on very simple blocking rules and confusing backfield motions, bootlegs and hand fakes. The KEY to stopping the wing – t is training your players to have FANATICAL eyes that read their keys and do THEIR JOB! Wing – t teams’ feast off of defenses that are undisciplined, but struggle against teams that keep the scheme simple and the defensive players read their keys and do their job on every snap.

This article will focus on shutting down 3 of the base plays of a wing – t offense: buck sweep, trap, and bootleg pass. The defensive scheme we will be using is the 3-4 man coverage concept with some simple adjustments that can be used versus a wing – t offense. I will detail the reads and keys for each position and explain how it all fits together, so we can stop the wing – t offense.
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5 Steps to Communicating Your Vision and Brand

We live in a “noisy” culture. These days everybody has something to say and everybody has a platform to say it from. There are many wonderful things about this social media age, but there is no denying it’s noisier than ever. When it’s noisy it’s hard to be heard and being heard is a critical component to being a successful coach.

In his book “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World” Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) shares his wisdom on using social media and the internet to build a business platform. While some of his wisdom isn’t applicable to the coach, much of it is. In my previous post, “3 reasons football coaches must be salesmen“, post we learned why we, as coaches, are all in sales. This post we are going to discuss why we all must establish and build a platform for our programs.

What is a platform? A platform is any position of influence you use to state, defend, and build your vision for your team. It’s a place where you state why your program exists, what you’re all about, and establish expectations and norms.

Here are 5 keys to establishing and building your platform: Continue reading

Using Cover 2 with the 3-4 Defense

Cover 2 is the base coverage for many 3-4 teams — your defense could learn something!

As an offensive lineman at Liberty University, I had the privilege to play against a two gap, 3-4 defense that based out of cover 2. Playing against a 3 – 4 defense that two – gapped the front and played a majority of cover 2 has shaped my philosophy as a defensive coordinator.

I can still hear our head coach, Danny Rocco, instructing us to “play with your face in the fan” and “never take a side” while blocking or taking on blocks. That hard – nosed approach helped to develop me as a player and as a young man.

It is not a stretch to correlate the style of play to the development of young men. Young men need to learn what it means to meet your opponent head on and not run around the opponent. At Liberty, we were a hard – nosed football program that kept the schemes simple and strived to physically dominate our opponents by out – working them in the weight room and on the practice field.
3-4 defense cover 2
There are five reasons why I believe in cover 2 as the base zone coverage of the 3-4 defense.

  1. Eliminates potential personnel mismatches which can be created vs. man coverage
  2. Allows for defenders to have better vision on the QB/ball.
  3. Dictates where you want the ball to be thrown. Cover 2 = force the ball to be thrown underneath
  4. Eliminate potential for long runs
  5. Defenders can speed up reaction time by reading their keys
    1. Pre – snap read
    2. QB eyes
    3. QB shoulders
    4. Hand off the ball

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5 Keys to Developing a Defensive System in Football

Last year, I was asked to put together a new defensive system for our football team. We were moving from the Fritz Shurmur Eagle 5 linebacker defense to a more modern 4-3/4-4 defense.

As I was sifting through endless books, playbooks, and clinic materials to compare what all the best and brightest minds in the game of football were doing, I realized that there are five keys to creating a defensive system, and only 2 have anything to do with X’s and O’s.

football defensive systems

Fritz Shurmur’s 5 Eagle Linebacker Defense wasn’t cutting it anymore.

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