Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sooner Zone Pressure #2

Two more blitzes from the Oklahoma arsenal are Field Slam Dogs (Opposite) 3 and Field Stone Dogs (Opposite) 3. Both blitzes can be found in the 2002 Sooner playbook here and build on the concept Field Rip Dogs (Opposite) 3 which was covered in the previous post.

Both blitzes are run from the Field front with the 3 technique aligned into the boundary.

The coverage is identical to the 4 under 3 deep coverage used to cover down behind Rip Dogs. The blitz is an overload to the field with the Sam and Mike on an interior X stunt with the Mike going first.

Vs. a Te to the field the Sam executes the blitz from an under alignment.

Slam Dogs requires the same "Eddie" coverage check vs. a removed number #2 receiver to the boundary that Rip Dogs utilized. 

Slam Dogs can be turned into a 3 under 3 deep pressure with the addition of an "Opposite" tag.

The second blitz is Field Stone Dogs (Opposite) 3 which is a similar interior X blitz concept to Slam Dogs. The SS exchanges responsibilities with the Sam and becomes the 2nd blitzer.  The Sam replaces the SS in the field side Seam/Flat Drop.

Stone Dogs still requires the "Eddie" check and like Rip and Slam can be tagged with and "Opposite" call.

The Sooners also integrate these same blitzes into their man coverage blitz package.

The Sam is rushing and must peel off with any running back releasing to his side. The Will linebacker has man coverage responsibility for any back releasing weak.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bob Stoops' Zone Pressure Package

The following post will be the first in a series that breakdown the zone pressures utilized by the Oklahoma Sooner defense. This information is from the 2002 Sooner defensive playbook which can be found here. One element of the Stoops zone blitz package that differs from many others is that his pressures are either 4 under 3 deep overload blitzes which are very effective pass pressures or 3 under 3 deep traditional zone pressures which are favored against the run. The first set of these blitzes is Field Rip Dogs 3 which is a 4 under 3 deep pressure and Field Rip Dogs Opposite 3 which is 3 under 3 deep.
The front is set Field with the Nose in a shade to the field and the DT in a 3 into the boundary.
  • Field DE - Inside movement to B gap
  • Nose - A gap vs. run, Hook drop vs. Pass
  • Tackle - B gap vs. run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Boundary DE - C gap vs. run, Flat drop vs. Pass
  • Sam - Edge Blitz
  • Mike - Blitz
  • Will - #2 drop
  • SS - Seam/Flat drop
  • FS - Middle 1/3
  • Corners - 1/3
This pressure overloads the field side and drops 4 underneath into coverage allowing for both pressure and coverage.
Vs. no TE
The only coverage check occurs when there is a split #2 receiver in the boundary.
The Eddie check puts the Will LB dropping off the split #2 receiver and the End in the Hook drop.

The Sooners compliment Rip Dogs with Rip Dogs Opposite. The Opposite tag tells the Nose to go to the Opposite A gap instead of dropping.
The Opposite tag turns Rip Dogs into the traditional NCAA blitz. The only coverage adjustment is again the Eddie call vs. a removed #2 receiver into the boundary which exchanges the responsibilities of the dropping End and the Will linebacker.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blitz of the Week #4

This week's Blitz of the Week comes from the 2003 Buffalo Bills Playbook which can be found here in the 4-3 section. This week's blitz is Swim Tilt Fire Zone. The pressure is run from a front featuring both defensive tackles in head up 2 techniques.
The blitz features the Sam & Mike overload blitzing the strong side A & B Gaps.

  • Strong DE - C gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Strong DT - Opposite A gap
  • Weak DT - B gap vs. Run, 3RH drop vs. Pass
  • Weak DE - C gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Sam - Blitz B gap
  • Mike - Blitz A, must clear for DT
  • SS & Will - Seams
  • FS - Middle 1/3
  • Corners - Fire Zone 1/3

This type of pressure can be very effective by creating a difficult exchange for the Guard and Center as they attempt to pass off the twisting DT and blitzing Mike linebacker.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Nick Saban Packaged Zone Pressure

In last week's Blitz of the Week #3 post the focus was on Nick Saban's packaged zone pressure concept Field Alaska/Crash Zone which can be seen here. Another packaged zone blitz that is featured in the 2001 LSU playbook is Field Alaska/Atlanta Zone. The first half of the blitz is Alaska.

Alaska is the Mike and Will on an X blitz in the field A & B gaps.
  • Field DE - C gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Field DT - Opposite A
  • Bench DT - B gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Bench DE - C gap vs. Run, Seam vs. Pass
  • Mike - Blitz A gap, Go 1st
  • Will - Blitz Opposite B gap, Go 2nd
  • FS - 3RH
  • SS - Middle 1/3
  • Corners - Fire Zone 1/3  
If the 3 man surface is to the field the blitz is Field Alaska Zone. If the 2 man surface is to the field the blitz is Field Atlanta Zone.

Atlanta is the same blitz as Alaska vs. runs to the field and passes. The difference between the two only occurs on run flow to the boundary where the Will LB will read out of the blitz and play a normal shuffle scrape technique. On the read out in the Atlanta blitz diagramed above the 3RH dropper (SS) will be able to handle any cutback to the field B gap that is being vacated by the read out Will linebacker. Having the read out allows the defense to improve their numbers against TE run in the zone blitz package. With the TE into the boundary(Atlanta) the defense gets the read out Will LB back involved and with the TE aligned to the field(Alaska) the defense gets a blitz to the TE.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

TCU's Thunder Concept

TCU is known for converting big athletic linebackers and even running backs to defensive linemen. The Horned Frog's defense under Gary Patterson has featured multiple slants, twists, and blitzes that capitalize on the athleticism of their front 4. The Thunder concept TCU employs is just another way for them to utilize their athletic defensive linemen. The blitz that will be the focus of this post is Bullets Thunder Zero Cop which can be found in the TCU Playbook. The front is set Tite with the 3 technique to the TE.
The Bullets blitz sends both inside linebackers straight ahead into their gap responsibilities (A for the Sam, B for the Mac). TCU also tags the blitz multiple ways to send the ILB's to different gaps.

The next aspect of the call is Thunder which tells the Safety (SS or WS) to the TE to blitz outside. The final part of the call is Zero Cop. Cover Zero is straight man coverage with no safety help and Cop is a tag that tells the DE to the coverage to man the TE. This is where the Horned Frogs utilizing athletic DL allows them to be creative.

The corners are responsible for the #1 receivers while the 2 safeties have the backs. The right DE is man on the TE.

vs. a Twins set

The Corners are responsible for the split receivers, the safeties have the backs, and the right DE has the TE.
Against a team that flexes their TE or a no TE set the SS has to make a "Switch" call to the DE and play man coverage on a split receiver.

The "Switch" call by the SS puts the DE back in the pass rush. The corners and safeties keep their coverage responsibilities.
Against one back formations with or without a TE the safeties make the adjustments to cover the extra receivers.

This blitz concept allows TCU to rush 6, bring simultaneously pressure to the TE side and inside, load the box with 2 safeties manned on running backs, and utilize the athleticism of their defensive ends.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Poll Results

I am very pleased to have 10 people who took the time to vote on the poll. It is nice to know that 10 people have read the blog. If anybody has an suggestions or there is anything you would like to see on here send me an e-mail or leave a comment and I will do my best.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blitz of the Week #3

This week's Blitz of the Week comes from Nick Saban's 2001 LSU Defensive Playbook. The concept is from their Field front with the 3 technique set into the boundary. Field Alaska/Crash Zone is actually 2 fire zone blitzes packaged together and checked at the LOS. The first blitz is Field Alaska Zone.
Alaska is the Mike and Will on an X blitz in the field A & B gaps.
  • Field DE - C gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Field DT - Opposite A
  • Bench DT - B gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Bench DE - C gap vs. Run, Seam vs. Pass
  • Mike - Blitz A gap, Go 1st
  • Will - Blitz Opposite B gap, Go 2nd
  • FS - 3RH
  • SS - Middle 1/3
  • Corners - Fire Zone 1/3 
The second half of the blitz is Field Crash Zone
Crash is the Corner blitzing from the boundary.
  • Field DE - C gap vs. Run, Contain vs. Pass
  • Field DT - A gap
  • Bench DT - Inside Move to A gap
  • Bench DE - Inside Move
  • Sam - Seam
  • Mike - 3RH
  • Will - Seam
  • Boundary Corner - Edge Blitz
  • Field Corner/FS - Fire Zone 1/3
  • SS Middle 1/3
The blitz is checked based on the offensive line surface to the field. If there is a 3 man surface (Guard, Tackle, TE) to the Field the blitz is Alaska if there is a 2 man surface (Guard, Tackle) to the Field the blitz is Crash.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Attacking 1/2 Slide Protection Part 3

The next strategy for attacking 1/2 slide is have linebackers or safeties show pressure on the LOS. The extra people on the LOS forces the offensive line to think and can create pass rush opportunities.
In this simple example the Nose is in a G alignment on the Guard. If the slide is going to the defensive right the LT and LG are covered and therefore man scheme. The Center will start the slide. Good offensive linemen will help adjacent linemen when there is no threat to their gap. In this case the Center's A gap is directly threatened by the walked up LB. This threat prevents the Center from giving any initial help to the LG. The Nose now has a 1 on 1 inside rush lane from inside leverage vs. the LG.

In this example blitz both ILB's are walked up in their gaps. The slide is going to the defensive left. The RG is covered by the G front Nose therefore the RT and RG are man. The Center is starting the slide and is occupied thinking about the LILB who is in his A gap. The RB sees both the RILB and the SS walked up and is thinking he needs to get width to pick up whichever one of his dual read blitzes. The RB isn't focused on the Safety who is walking into the box presumable to play the 3RH drop in a fire zone coverage. Once the RB has gotten width and checked both his dual reads (ILB & SS) it will be difficult for him to redirect inside and block in the A gap. The Center has a chance to pick up the FS if he is athletic enough to redirect after sliding. If the Center or other offensive linemen start quickly let dropping LB's go to help elsewhere there is always a counter punch.

If OL are too aggressive to leave a dropping LB you can always fake that the LB is dropping and blitz him late. Here is video of a New York Giants blitz from their Superbowl victory over the Patriots. They ran these concepts consistently under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. This video is against Big on Big pass protection but is an excellent example of ways to create confusion for pass pro with LB's at or near the LOS. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Attacking 1/2 slide protection Part 2

Previously I have posted on understanding 1/2 slide protection which can be seen here as well as utilizing the placement of a 3 technique to manipulate where the offense slides here. In this post I want to focus on utilizing a bull rushing defensive linemen and blitz to attack the slide side. Here is an example of 1/2 slide vs. a 5 man edge blitz.
In this example the sliding OL can pick up the blitz without problem on paper. The success of the blitz is completely dependent upon one of the rushers beating their opponent 1 on 1. And if the design of the blitz was to isolate a specific blocker this is a good blitz. Unfortunately in some games the 1 on 1 match ups favor the offense. That is were a bull rush defensive lineman can be helpful.

The difference in this pressure and the first example is the RT cannot Fan to the edge blitzer because the DE is bull rushing him and not going inside to the RG's B gap. The edge blitzer should start near the LOS to get a flat angle of attack. The RG could potentially pick the blitz up if he is athletic enough to pass off the DT, check the DE, and kick set back to the full speed edge blitzer. I have found the majority of offensive linemen we face are unable to do this.  This blitz is featured in the TCU Playbook as Lion.

Another bull rush strategy utilizes an interior DT.
In this variation the Nose aligns in a G and is the man responsibility of the LG who should chase on the hard inside move. The DT aligns in a heavy 3 technique just wider than a head up 2 and bull rushes the RG then loops weak. The front side ILB (the OLB could be used instead) will have a run through as the RG is occupied with the DT. The looper should get late pressure if the QB steps up away from the blitz otherwise the blitz should be in his face.

Both pressures are do not give the QB a hot throw read while still getting quick pressure as well as allowing the defense to bring only 5 and use 6 in coverage.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blitz of the Week #2

This blitz is from the Dick Lebeau's 2002 Cincinnati Bengals Playbook.

The blitz is run from the strong side of the formation.
  • Strong DE - inside move to A gap
  • Nose - Opposite A gap
  • DT - B gap vs. the run, contain vs. pass
  • Weak DE - C gap vs. run, Curl-Flat drop vs. Pass
  • Sam - Underneath the 1st blocker
  • SS - walk down and blitz outside, spill vs. run, contain vs. pass
  • M & B - Vertical Hook
  • FS - Hold disguise, Strong side Deep 1/2
  • Strong Corner - Soft Squat
  • Weak Corner - 1/2 Inside Man #1
This is a 4 underneath 2 deep zone pressure concept with the weak side Deep 1/2 player playing a more agressive technique to the single receiver side.

vs. Twins

The coverage 2 Z is a cover 2 concept vs. 2 back sets and is checked to cover "Z" vs. a split #2 weak.  Cover "Z" is a 3 under 3 deep fire zone coverage.

vs. Split #2 weak

The playbook does not diagram the adjustment to a 3 x 1 formation strong but does say the Vertical Hook dropping inside linebackers have the trips adjustment.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Attacking 1/2 Slide Protection Part 1

When attacking 1/2 slide protection often the first step is to determine where is the offensive line sliding? The placement of a 3 technique often has a large impact on where the offense chooses to slide. If an offense chooses to slide away from a 3 technique the following problem is created.

The slide is going to the defensive left. The first uncovered offensive lineman will start the slide going from defensive right to left. With the RT, RG, and C covered the first uncovered is the LG. That means the C, RG, & RT are all man scheme. In the picture IF the C slides the Nose is unblocked in the weakside A gap and IF he blocks his man responsiblity(NOSE) the LILB is unblocked blitzing the A gap. The RB is dual reading away from the slide and therefore isn't looking at the blitzing LB. This is especially effective if the LOLB is blitzing because there is no way the for the LG to help with the A gap blitzer. The LOLB can also fake the blitz to hold the LG giving the LILB a run through while bringing only 5. This breakdown has lead many half slide teams to check the slide to always be sliding to the 3 tech. A second solution is to turn the 1/2 slide into a full slide which I will address in a later post.

When dealing with a team that checks their protection based on the 3 technique an effecive strategy is to get a 2 on 1 vs the running back. Since the RB will go opposite the slide the RB will also go opposite the 3 technique. The following is using the NCAA zone blitz vs half slide to create the 2 on 1 vs the RB.

In this example the LT is man on the DE who is long sticking. The LT doesn't know that the DE will eventually go all the way down to the A gap which should be the LG's responsibility. The LT only knows that he has the DE man and must block him on an inside movement. The inside blitzer is aiming for the B gap which will disappear as the LT chases the DE inside creating a 2 off the edge blitz. This leaves the RB with 2 people to block. The QB should throw hot in this situation. Unfortunately for him he is throwing directly at an inverting Safety in the 3 under 3 deep coverage. This blitz can be brought from the 2 receiver side as many do but it can really be brought from anywhere.

Vs. a right handed QB this blitz can be brought from the defensive left to make sure the QB has the blitz in his field of vision and is forced to throw hot or be sacked in a long yardage situation. Or brought from his blind side (defensive right) to create unseen pressure.

NCAA Blitz vs 3x1

Varation vs. 3x1

Another coverage change up.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blitz of the Week #1

This weeks blitz of the week has been used by many teams. The Baltimore Ravens have utilized this blitz to allow Ed Reed to pressure the QB. Recently the UConn Huskies had success using this blitz in this years Bowl against the South Carolina Game Cocks. This blitz has been a favorite of Bo Pelini at both LSU and Nebraska.

The blitz is designed to overload the middle of the protection. The 2 3 techniques (can also be from G with the 2i ripping across the guards face to the outside) occupying the guards.  The Mike is going first with the Will coming 2nd and the SS walking into the box and blitzing the open daylight on the midline. Here is a good shot of LSU running Gut in the Pelini days.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Understanding 1/2 Slide Protection

What is 1/2 slide protection? Simply stated: part of the offensive line is "sliding" or blocking a zone in the protection scheme and part of the offensive line is executing a man protection scheme. Typically this is a 6 man protection with the RB responsible for a dual read to the man side of the protection.

In this first picture the slide is going to the defensive left. The RG is the first uncovered linemen and starts the slide. The RG will block any rusher in the A gap. Similarly the C, LG, and LT are in the slide and will block the rusher in the A, B, and C gaps respectively. The RT is man blocking the DE.

In the second picture the slide is still going to the left but this time the defense is in a G front with the RG covered. Therefore the C is the first uncovered lineman and starts the slide with the LG and LT also sliding. The RG is man on the Nose and the RT is once again man on the DE.

The RB is stepping to the man side and is responsible for 1 to 2 (Dual Read on the ILB and OLB in this 4-4 look). He will block inside out after which he may check release into a route or look to help in the protection elsewhere.

The QB is responsible to throw hot if both the ILB and OLB to the slide blitz. If only 1 blitzes the offense feels the slide protection should be able to pick it up. Similarly if both the ILB and OLB to the man side blitz the QB should throw hot. Many offensive coordinators tell the QB vs 8 potential rushers (4-4 & 3-5) to key the safety if you see blitzers creeping and a safety coming down that is the side were you need to throw hot.

In the following series of posts I will diagram some blitz stratagies to attack 1/2 slide protection.