Category Archives: Defensive Systems

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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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

4-2-5 Defense Option Responsibilities

Post by Zach Davis

This is a post by Coach Zach Davis, defensive coordinator at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in Georgia. You can follow him on his Twitter Handle, zachdavis24. If you’re interested in guest posting for Strong Football, email CoachCP at editor[at]strongfootballcoach.com.

We have very simple 4-2-5 defense option responsibilities because of all the different types of option we see during a season. We have seen veer, midline, shovel, power, speed and triple option this year and we have devised a simple way to play the option so our players can play FAST!

We want to hit the quarterback as often as possible when he is a ball carrier. He is the decision maker and we must “wreck the decision maker” in order for us to be successful against the option.

We take away the dive with our defensive linemen and we make the quarterback attempt a long pitch because we are sending someone to the quarterback once we realize it is option. We may be a little weak against the pitch, but at our level the pitch is not a huge threat. Continue reading

Playing Fast with the 4-2-5 Defense

Guest Football Coaching Blog Post

This is a guest blog post on the X’s and O’s of football by Coach Zach Davis,defensive coordinator at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in Georgia. You can follow him on his Twitter Handle, zachdavis24. If you’re interested in guest posting for Strong Football, email CoachCP at editor[at]strongfootballcoach.com.

In the world of small, private schools there is a need to maximize your players’ ability and the abilities of your coaches. At Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Georgia, we found the 4-2-5 has been the perfect fit for our program because it allows us to do that.

We are a school of approximately 400 students in the high school, with 72 of them playing football for the Chargers. It is a blessing to have that many students come out for football, but it presents some challenges considering we only have 6 football coaches on staff, and only two of the six are full time defensive coaches. Therefore, we need to use a defense that is sound, simple and easy to teach to inexperienced coaches.

Basics of our 4-2-5 Defense

This season, we decided to go to the 4-2-5 defense with cover 3 as our base coverage and cover 1 as a change-up. The 4-2-5 defense allowed us to break our players into three position groups instead of four and playing cover 3 limits the amount of checks we have to make to different formations and shifts. We keep our scheme simple so we can coach the fundamentals on a daily basis, even as we progress through the season. Our players know how to react to every formation, scheme and personnel grouping because we have repp’d everything an opponent can throw at us on a Friday night. Continue reading

The Popularity of the 3-4 Defense: What’s Old is New

Guest Blog Post

This is a guest blog post by Cameron Soran, a lawyer. While not a coach, I think you’ll find he has a strong football mind and understands a lot about the game.

“There’s a lot of ways to play football,” Chip Kelly told  room full of reporters. “Trends go one way and the other. … if you weren’t in the room with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Knute Rockne when they invented this game, you stole it from somebody else.” While ostensibly Kelly was discussing offenses, his insight equally applies to the opposite side of the ball. More and more it seems, NFL and college teams are moving to 3-4 defense (or 3-3-5) defenses over the 4-3 counterparts. To some, this might signal that the 3-man front is somehow a superior defensive system. But recent trends in football are just that: trends. While the 3-4 defense offers certain advantages, it is by no means superior. To explain some of the reasons for the recent change, and to understand the numerous different flavors of 3-4, I think, to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, that “a page of history is worth a pound of logic.”  Continue reading