Category Archives: Linebackers

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

Linebacker Drills: Ultimate Guide

This post was written by five individuals; Jerry Gordon, author of Coaching the Under Front Defense, “Deuce” from Football is Life, Brophy from Cripes! Get Back to Fundamentals, Joe Daniels from Football-Defense.com and Curtis Peterson author of Developing a Physical and Aggressive Offensive Line and Strong Football.

Coaching the Linebacker Stance Linebacker Steps Linebackers Taking on Blocks
Linebacker Tackling Drills Linebacker Blitz Drills Linebacker Pass Drop Drills

 

IN-AT-OUT LINEBACKER DRILL – Brophy

The following linebacker drill was stolen after visiting Vince Okruch’s Western Illinois 3-3 nickel practices as well as from Jeff Walker’s exhaustive work, “Coaching the 40 Nickel Defense”, which every coach absolutely needs to own. I find this drill to be the single most important technique reinforcement tool to develop consistent linebackers. This linebacker drill can be conducted at varying levels of difficulty and lends itself to training many players in rapid succession.

WHAT IS THE IN-AT-OUT LINEBACKER DRILL

The linebacker drill represents the run fits for your linebacker group, broken into 3 distinct reactions; In, At, and Out (represented here in green, yellow, red). Continue reading

Cover 4 versus the 2 x 2 Spread Offense Pass

Cover 4 versus the 2×2 Spread Offense – Football Coaching Video

Cover 4 is a great way to defend the 2×2 Spread Offense passing game. It allows you to keep a six man box and defend 4 verticals “right out of the box”. For more information on the basics of the cover 4 defense, and it’s slight variation in 2 Read or otherwise known as Cover Blue by TCU fanatics, check out the football coaching video below.

Cover 4 / Quarters Coverage Information Available In This Video

You’ll discover unique information on running the cover 4 defense. This will detail the responsibilities of the cornerback in cover 4 and also the safety’s responsibilities in cover 4. In addition to this, you will learn some of the variations of cover 4, including 2 read, and how leverage is critical for this formation so it can adequately defeat the run and passing game from the spread offense. You’ll learn some of the strengths of cover 4 and the weaknesses of this quarters coverage versus spread 2×2 sets. Overall, this video offers you a basic chalk talk on the main uses of cover 4 in defending the pass against the 2×2 spread offense.

BTW, if you like these videos, check out ChiefPigskin because there are a bunch of great videos!

Defensive Gap Exchange

Gap Exchange between Defensive Linemen, Linebackers, and Safeties

Gap exchange in defensive football occurs between defensive linemen, linebackers and safeties is a critical element for many over fronts and under fronts.

Gap Exchange: Block Down Step Down

The basic gap exchange concept begins at the defensive linemen level, where the defensive linemen responds to a down block by an offensive linemen or tight end. The linemen is likely taught the theory of block down step down, where if the linemen blocks inside he must step inside, disrupt said linemens path, and spill kickout blocks.

The Will Linebacker and the Defensive End in the Under perform a Gap Exchange

The defensive end must keep the tackle off the linebacker by pushing him, and the will must come up quickly to G gap.

The linemen, given the block down step down rule, cannot play his original gap. In essense, he is playing his immediate inside gap. He needs to also focus on getting hands on the blocker who stepped inside while keeping his shoulders square. The defensive linemen simply needs to give a push with one hand, enough to keep the linemen off the playside linebacker or knock his path on his way to a backside linebacker. The defensive linemen, be it end or tackle, must focus, at this point in the play, at keeping his shoulders square. Turning his shoulders this close or on the defense’s side of the line of scrimmage will make it easy for another linemen to log him or, depending on the play, to get around him completely without making the blocker take a better pull path.

Gap Exchange: Open / Closed Window

Inside Gap Exchange between Mike and 5 technique End in Under Front

The End and Mike perform an Inside Gap Exchange, in these cases the defensive end must disrupt the offensive lineman's path

The linebacker needs to read the open or closed window. This should be an easy read as the linebacker flows to his gap. An open window essentially means that the gap he is assigned to his open. A closed window means the gap is blocked and the runningback will not see that hole.

Why is this important to gap exchange principles? As the linebacker reads his hole, if for some reason the defensive linemen is in his gap (he got washed down, or even a called stunt—which means a predetermined gap exchange), then the linebacker needs to work one outside gap, or to the next open gap and press the line of scrimmage while keeping his shoulders square. By pressing the line of scrimmage right away, this causes problems for offensive plays like power where the kickout and wrapping pull blocker occur quickly.

Gap Exchange: Secondary Run Support

Sam Linebacker and Safety Gap Exchange

The Sam Linebacker Follows Block Down Step Down Rules, Safety Reads Him and EMOLOS and Comes Up to D Gap

In many cases, a safety or even a corner, depending on the defense and the formation, may be called upon to gap exchange with a defensive end or EMOLOS. This is common in the Under front, where the Sam linebacker, lined up in a 9 technique outside the offensive tight end, must follow block down step down principles. In this case, the safety must be ready to come up quickly and exchange gap responsibilities with the Sam linebacker.

Gap Exchange – Conclusion

Overall, gap exchange is a good way for a defense to take advantage of the spill technique and use the sideline and team speed to its advantage. If the team has good speed and the front 7 have great hip explosion to help execute some of the technique (wrong arming or spilling), then this can be a great asset for undersized defenses.

P.S., make sure you check out Chiefpigskins offensive line videos!