Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Using Pressure to Reset the Front

Troy presents a front spacing with a 3 technique to the boundary and a shade nose to the field. The anticipated defense would send the boundary OLB in the charge and the front would fit like a 4-2 box.




Post snap the Troy defense resets the front by pressuring the Mike backer.


The boundary OLB (Jack) is actually part of the coverage. The combination of the DL slant and Mike pressure changes the front post-snap to fit like a 4-3 with the 3 technique aligned to the field. The blitzing Mike serves the role of "3 technique" while the down Safety, Will, and Jack fill the roles of the 3 "LB's"


The offense was running a pin & pull scheme which is set up with good angles against the initial defensive alignment. Post-snap the offense struggles with the pressure.

The Nose does a great job redirecting on the slant with the block back pull of the G/C. The Mike on the pressure dents the run in the backfield with penetration. The Mike (outside) and the Will (inside) can vise the pull of the center. The play side DE also does a great job of crossing the TE's face on the block back pull. The Safety (outside) and DE (inside) are able to vise the pull of the OT.

Good stuff from Vic Koenning and the Trojan defense. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Using Creativity to get More from a 4 man Pass Rush

2017 Florida State is in an X backer personnel with a sub secondary on 3rd & 8.



The Rush:
The Ends are contain with the X and Nose executing an interior pass rush twist game. The Nose jabs away which helps create space for the X backer. The X backer uses the space to get the guard to engage and commit. When the Nose wraps the Guard has a hard time redirecting to pick up the twist.

The Coverage:
Cover 1 with safeties in the hole and post. The sub personnel allows for the defense to match all the speed receivers with DB's. The Mike in this situation is a 7th DB, in this case a big safety body.



The Seminoles built a nice situational pass rush package. The 7 DB's allow the coverage to match-up against the speed Syracuse has on the field. The X backer allows a versatile pass rusher to get involved in the interior pass rush. The stunt is not new but FSU does a good job of utilizing personnel to get the right people on the field doing what they do best and executing the call at a high level. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Changing the Math with Safety Run Pressure & DL Movement

This pressure is from the 2017 UCF defense.




The Rush:
The DL is slanting from a 4i-0-4i alignment away from the edge rushing safety. The box is initially a 6 man box but the blitzing safety changes the math to a 7 man box.

The Coverage:
Cover 1. Although it is possibly an aggressive version of 3 deep 3 under firezone with pressed corners.



Why did it work?

The box picture for the OL pre-snap is a fairly standard 4-2 look with both ILB's in the box.





Play side the OT and OG are fanning out to the Jack and End. Back side the C&OG are zoning to the Will while the back side OT&Y are zoning for the Mike. By the time the Safety rolls down to blitz and the Mike bumps out of the box the OL blocking is declared. The final picture looks more like a 4-3 defense with the Safety & 2 ILB's combined with the slanting DL to space like a 4-3 box. Because of the initial picture the OG is aggressive to the slanting End and quick to travel back inside. The OT sees the blitzing safety and adjusts but the OG is gone leaving the Jack unblocked. 

Even if the zone blocking had stayed intact the play is outnumbered by the defense and the zone would break in a different place.


The 4i on an outside move is a problem for the zone.


Once the back side OT and Y started comboing for the End and Mike the Zone has a challenge. The OT travels back with the End and eventually works to the Mike. In the last diagram shows what if the OL zone blocks the pressure accounting for the blitzer and slanting DL.
OT fanned to the blitzing safety
OG fanned to the Jack 
C/G combo came off to the End & Nose on the slants 
Even if that all happened the zone would still have broken. The zone cannot account for the scraping Will backer when the RB cuts back. The slanting End and Mike do a nice job of building a wall back side to force any cutback into the rush.

Another option would have been for the combo's to remain as originally declared.




The zone is still outnumbered. If the OT & OG travel back with the Jack and End as they slant the Center & Guard combo works to the Nose & scraping will the safety blitzing is unblocked. The two most likely outcomes are the safety makes the play in the backfield or the run cuts into a wall backside. 

Nice run pressure by Coach Chinander and UCF to create a TFL. The usage of the boundary safety in the pressure creates numbers where the offense did not expect them. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Stacking Linebackers & Changing Support vs. the Flexbone

The Clemson defense is spaced in a 3-4 defense with the ILB's stacked and a 2 high safety shell.




By stacking the ILB's Clemson can get both backers quickly to the side of the option. 


When the LBs are aligned in a traditional 3-4 spacing the back side guard has  a reasonable angle to zone up to the back side ILB. The block by the back side guard slows the pursuit and play side run fit of the backer even if the ILB sheds the block effectively.


The same block is more difficult for the guard when the LB is in the stacked alignment. The ILB is flowing play side too quickly and the angle for the guard is too extreme for the block to be effective.


The stacked backers helps even the numbers for the defense. In this case the offense is presenting 6 blockers and can option a 7th defender on a dual option play. The defense now has 7 defenders. If the defense lost the extra LB (cut off by the back side guard for example), the offense would be advantaged with 6 blockers for 6 defenders and the ability to option one of the defenders.


Georgia Tech is blocking for 6 defenders and optioning the 7th (Sam). The QB is keeping or pitching off the Sam backer's reaction.

This is where the perimeter support comes into play. The defense has choices of who will be the pitch player on the option. The Safety, Corner, or OLB could all fill that role.



In this diagram the support is a safety support (Safety playing pitch). On paper the offense has good angles to get the defense blocked.


In this diagram the support is a corner support. Again the offense has good angles to block the support players.


In this clip the Georgia defense stems to a stacked backer alignment pre-snap and plays a corner support. The OLB plays the QB, when the ball is pitched. GT's edge blocking has the Corner (pitch player) blocked with the arcing slot.

Clemson elected to play Backer support instead.


The OLB plays laterally for the pitch while the Safety fits inside in the alley. The arc block of the slot makes the angle to block the safety difficult.


By changing up the support, Clemson has the advantage on the edge. Clemson played multiple fronts and supports in the game to keep GT off balance. Good stuff from Coach Venables and the Tigers. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Flexbone Play Action Passes

A couple of examples of play action pass (PAP) from the Navy offense.




Navy is using a double slot formation with the WR snugged down with tight splits.  The slot to the side of the action does a nice job selling a seal block on the LB before running his crossing route.



This route is designed to attack coverage rotation with the option action. The back side rotation safety is in a bind with both an action side vertical threat and the delaying slot on the crossing route. 

The next route is from a tackle over unbalanced formation.



The route ends up a 4 receiver release to the weak side. The route concept spaces well to stress the coverage. The QB does a good job off the play fake of setting up in the pocket created by the unbalanced OL. Unbalanced formation tend to heavy run, this play is a reminder flexbone teams do have PAP from the unbalanced formations.



These are well designed concepts from the Navy offense and ones be aware of if you are defending a flexbone team next season. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Texas Odd Front Cross Fire Pressure

Texas running a classic cross fire pattern from an odd front 3-4 personnel.



The Rush:
Ends - Contain
Nose - Work away from pressure
LB's  - Cross fire in A & B Gap

The Coverage:
3 under 3 deep firezone


The first blitzer does a great job getting penetration and the second blitzer has an excellent ricochet redirect off the OT's block. The blitzers do a great job of attacking the OG and OT which allows Texas to beat a 7 man full slide protection with a 5 man zone dog.

Great pressure from the Longhorns. 

Michigan Open Edge Run Pressure

When a TE is in the game, one tried and true pressure strategy is to slant the defensive line to the TE and send extra rushers to the open side (opposite the TE). The philosophy is simple, the moving DL make the TE side runs more difficult and help build a wall. The defense is looking to force the RB to hit the wall or cut back way from the moving DL into the extra rushers.



Michigan is in a sub personnel with 3 LB's 2 Rush Backer (OLB/DE types in 2 pt stances) and 1 down lineman. The secondary is a 6 DB dime personnel.

The Rush:
The front is slanting to the DE with 2 edge rushers. The inside edge rusher is able to bend flat and chase down the RB on run away while the outside edge rusher is able to play for boot/naked from the QB.

The Coverage:
Cover 1 with the mugged up LB manned on the RB.



Good job by the TE side edge rush building the wall and the bending open side rusher chasing the RB down.

Good stuff from Coach Brown and the Wolverines.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Texas Cover 1 Safety Pressure

Here Texas is in a 3-2-6 Dime personnel on 3rd & 14.


The Rush:
Ends  - Contain
Nose - Work away from pressure
Will - A gap
Safety - Walk down blitz B

The Coverage:
Cover 1

The Nickel and DIme appear to signal an "In & Out" combination coverage on the closely aligned #2 and #3 receivers. The Mike is mugged up on the guard while manned on the RB. Post-snap the Mike green dogs and adds to the pass rush.



The mugged up LB's gets the OL into a 5 vs. 5 situation. Every OL has an immediate threat to block forcing them into 5 games of 1 on 1. The occupied OL force the RB into blocking the blitzing safety. In coverage the In & Out has a hard route combo to handle with both #2 and #3 running inside breaking routes. Fortunately, the pressure hits home before the routes can come open.

Good stuff from Coach Orlando and the Longhorns.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Flexbone vs. 4i Odd Front

Here is an example of Georgia Tech running option scheme at a 3-4 odd front structure with DE's in 4i's from Georgia.

Both midline and veer option have challenges against the 4i aligned DE's. That doesn't mean flexbone teams are out of options.

Arc option

Arc option is similar to veer option only the playside OT is arc blocking instead of inside releasing (veer) to the LB. The 4i aligned DE makes the veer release by the OT impossible.
Here GT arcs the OT this makes the 4i DE the Dive key and the OLB (Jack) the pitch key. If the 4i widens with the arc of the OT the QB will give the dive.


The perimeter blocking is a crack arc scheme. The Arc block (OT) is blocking the alley defender. In this case the Safety is coming down. The WR is reading the Corner. If the corner triggers to the alley the WR will crack the safety and allow the Arc (OT) to block the alley player. Since the Corner stays wide the WR blocks the Corner.

Good play design from Paul Johnson and good execution from the Yellowjackets. This is a play to prepare for if you run 4i DE in the odd front and expect to see a flexbone option offense this season.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Georgia Cover 1 Pressure

Here is a nice 5 man pressure using an interior twist from the Bulldogs.



UGA is in a 4-2-5 Nickel personnel grouping.

The Rush:
Ends - Contain
Nose - Cross face and Penetrate
Tackle - Loop
Will - Up & Under

It is possible the Will was a two way go on the Guard. The looping DT may be looking for daylight and reacting to the rush of the Will (loop one gap or two). The result is an interior twist game. Mizzou is free releasing the RB, employing a 5 man pass protection. The rush is very effective against a 5 man pass protection. The 5 OL are all blocking immediate threats creating a 5 vs 5 match up. Twists are particularly effective when each OL is locked into 1 on 1 match-ups because no adjacent OL is free to provide help.

The Coverage:
Man Free

The stack receivers to the left are being played with a man to man Top Hat technique. The Corner shows press on the WR on the LOS but plays man on the WR off the LOS. The Safety aligns deep and mans the WR on the LOS.




Good stuff from the Georgia defense.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Ravens Overload Firezone Pressure

Here are two examples of 4 from a side overload firezone pressures the Baltimore Ravens dialed up this season.



Baltimore is in a 2-3-6 Dime personnel grouping. The DE's are OLB bodies diagrammed here as Rush Backers (R).

The Rush:
Nickel - Edge
Rush Backer & DT - Inside moves
Mike - Cross the Center
DT - B gap to Contain weak

The Coverage:
3 under 3 deep firezone coverage



Three elements that help this pressure succeed:

1. The Nickel is uncapped. There is no player aligned directly over the Nickel. This signals to the pass protection the Nickel cannot blitz. No capper = no one to cover the #2 receiver and replace the Nickel in coverage

2. The Rush backers are both potential droppers. The potential the Rush backers could drop helps protect the trips side. The #3 receiver is not uncovered. The Rush is possibly the 3 dropper to the trips side.

3. The Safety bluffing weak signals 4 rushers weak when the pressure is actually 4 from the strong side. The safety alignment also further signals the Nickel is not in the pressure.




The protection is in a tough spot. The structure is 3&3. The OT OG C working strong and the OT OG RB working weak. Any 4 from a side overloads the protection and requires a hot throw. The Center cannot let the Mike cross without traveling back (cannot let the Mike be the 4th rusher weak). That leaves a 3 on 2 vs. the pressure side OG and OT. The uncapped Nickel prevents the strong side hot concept from entering the QB's mind set. The pre-snap presentation says the weak side might have 4 rushers. When the weak side Safety runs out to the post the the 4 weak hot threat is gone (QB thinks there will be time & protection) only to have a strong hot throw situation post-snap. Everything happens so quickly before the snap it is difficult for the offense to make any protection adjustments.

The Ravens used a similar concept later in the season.



The Rush:
Nickel - Edge
Mike & DT - Up the field
Rush Backer - Loop opposite A
DT - B gap to Contain weak

The Coverage:
3 under 3 deep firezone coverage again with the weak side safety presenting pressure weak and rolling the coverage late.



The effect is another 4 strong rush. The look on film is the Chiefs may have adjusted the protection pre-snap to account for the pressure threat weak. The result is again a 3&3 protection. A possible protection check makes sense to put the OT OG C working weak to block the pressure threat. The protection sends the RB strong with the OG and OT. The issue is the protection ends up with 3 blockers on the weak DT (3 on 1 is a defensive win). The RB is forced to pick up the Mike in the A gap. The penetration of the Mike makes the OG's job to block the looping Rush almost impossible. 

Quality pressure designs from the Raven defense to overload the protection.