Tag Archives: 3-4 defense

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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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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3-4 Dime Personnel Package

See what coaches are learning about this 3-4 Dime Personnel Package – including Video

We are in an age of football where offenses spread the field and want to get players in space. It is essential that defenses adapt so they can limit the number of big plays and points allowed.

The 3-4 is the most versatile of all defenses and this 3-4 dime personnel package gives the defense more speed on the field and the ability to bring pressure or drop 8 into coverage.

The base coverage for this 3-4 dime personnel package is Tampa 2 with a run – thru “Star” that will run to the goalpost at 15 – 22 yards if he sees it is a pass. This package also has the ability to bring a field fire zone and a double edge pressure to keep the offense guessing. Continue reading

3-4 Defense Man Coverage Principles

The off-season is a time where I love to get together with local coaches and talk about defense. I am blessed to live in the Atlanta area, so there are a lot of great coaches that are willing to share their knowledge with a young defensive coordinator.

3-4 defense man coverage was a scheme that really interested me as I met with several defensive coordinators in the McDonough / Atlanta area. I grew up playing against the 50 defense as an offensive lineman and my eyes like having a balanced, five man rush with man coverage behind it. We call this man coverage but in all reality it is cover 1, but instead of a post safety, we have a low – hole inside linebacker.

Using 3-4 defense with man coverage is VERY simple, but it has been proven effective over the years. Continue reading

Multiple 3-4 Fire Zone Blitz Coverages

Coaches thought Fire Zone Blitzes Were Just Cover 3 Concepts – Then They Read This!

The term “fire zone blitz” has become a buzzword at all levels of football, and the effective use of them has shut down many offenses. In this article I will explain two fire zones blitz coverages that can be used against every style of offense.

The coverages used in these fire zone blitzes are cover 3 and cover 2, which are simple fire zone blitz coverages that are taught at even the Pop Warner level. The secret to the success of these fire zone blitzes is that you are able to disguise them, because the pre-snap look is the same to the quarterback (2 high shell).

A lot of coaches do not like to run fire zones because they seem too complex, but when you break them down you will see how simple and effective they are in creating confusion and chaos for an offense.
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3-4 Cover 2 Man Under Defense

In the era of the spread offense it has become essential to employ a defense that can maximize numbers in the box and still provide excellent pass coverage. Offenses are using the entire field and defenses must be able to defend from sideline to sideline and still have enough players in the box to stop the run. Our base defense was a 4-2-5 this past season, but we played a 3-4 cover two man look versus pure spread teams (Air Raid / Tony Franklin System).

In our classification we see mostly 21/22 personnel but when we play teams that are mainly 10/11 personnel we utilized our 3-4 cover 2 man defense. The following paragraphs will detail the reads, alignment and assignment of each position in our two man package.
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