Category Archives: Defensive Fronts

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

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 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

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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Defending the I Formation like Pete Carroll’s Seahawks Defense

The Seattle Seahawks dominated many I formation teams this year. Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks defense had a nice little adjustment to pro style formations, like the I formation.

Especially in 21 personnel, 2 backs and 1 tight end, the Seahawks defense matched up well. One way they did that was playing a “heavy” end on the weakside.

Many defenses declare passing strengths instead of declaring it to a tight end and then they set the shade side, or open side, to either the tight end or the split end.

seahawks defense vs pro formation

How Many Teams Play the Over Front vs 21 personnel

The Seahawks do it a little differently. While the Seahawks defense in 2013 set the reduction, or 3 technique side, to the tight end in many situations. The nose and Sam linebacker get set to the split end. The strong safety, who I call the Rover, is set to the 3 technique side.
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Demolishing Weakside Iso with the 4-3 Over Front

Often considered the longtime nemesis of the 4-3 over front is the weakside iso play. Because of the “large” gap between the outside linebacker and the inside linebacker, the play has some success.

The key to defending the weakside iso play with the 4-3 over front is the personnel matchup.

Many coaches, including myself for a while, always set the “Sam” to the tight end, regardless of whether or not they are in the 4-3 over front or under front. The Will played on the “weakside”.

The Will for many is an undersized player. Because of this, when he’s set over an open guard, he’s usually got a matchup problem, especially with a tough guard or fullback. This tends to happen on Weaskside Iso plays.

This article should give you an overview on how to stop the this often gut-wrenching play by thinking of your 4-3 defense a little differently in terms of identifying roles of your players and setting your strength. Continue reading