Category Archives: Defensive Football

Zone Coverages of the 50 Defense

I grew up playing against a true 50 defense in middle school and high school. Our defensive coordinator called it a 3-4, but he was bringing both OLB’s the majority of the time. We played a lot of zone defense. The defensive linemen two – gapped on a large percentage of our snaps. Now, this was before the invention of the spread, but there are good high school football teams that run a 50 defense and are successful against the spread.

This post will discuss how to use the 50 defense successfully with regards to zone coverage. Continue reading

Michigan State 4-3 Over Defense by Rob Lee

Here’s some football clips, sponsored by eFootballFlix, on the Michigan State 4-3
over front defense.

The full-length video on the eFootballFlix site is about an hour and a half in length, and it’s one of those where a lot of it is really good stuff.

michigan state 4-3 defense versus power o

Watch the clips to see how Michigan State’s 4-3 Defense is successful versus Power, like we see here.

You can get the full length video and stream it on-demand by signing up for eFootballFlix (they’ve got about 1,000 other video’s as well). Regardless, here’s some free clips below that show some of the nuggets in that video! Continue reading

Why You Can Run Cover 3 vs. 4 Verticals

As I was watching the Seahawks play the Broncos in the Super Bowl this year, I kept having a single thought creep into my head: The Seahawks are playing a TON of cover 3!! Now, I follow the Seahawks closely enough to know that they run a lot of cover 3 and use cover 1 and their change – up.

Mike Chan (writer for Field Gulls) does a great job detailing how the Seahawks play cover 3. The beauty of cover 3 is that the offense will rarely hit the big play and you can play 8 men in the box versus the run.

cover 3 vs 4 verticals

Basic 2×2 Versus Our Cover 3

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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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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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