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
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.
Basic 2×2 Versus Our Cover 3
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!!
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.
There are five reasons why I believe in cover 2 as the base zone coverage of the 3-4 defense.
- Eliminates potential personnel mismatches which can be created vs. man coverage
- Allows for defenders to have better vision on the QB/ball.
- Dictates where you want the ball to be thrown. Cover 2 = force the ball to be thrown underneath
- Eliminate potential for long runs
- Defenders can speed up reaction time by reading their keys
- Pre – snap read
- QB eyes
- QB shoulders
- Hand off the ball
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
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