Sunday, April 28, 2019

Align to Win Part 3

This is the third installment of the align to win series (Part 1 and Part 2).  The focus of part 3 is running America's blitz from the odd front spacing. 

This is a basic version of the pressure. The DL is in a standard 5-0-5 alignment. When thinking about blitzing we plan not only what pressure but how to align to win when running the pressure.

From a 5 the DE has a difficult task. The long stick technique isn't easy. The DE is moving two gaps. The challenge comes in part from getting all the way down to the a gap.

On zone blocking away for example the DE on the long stick can be stressed. As the End goes on the movement the End can get caught up on the guard. 

Even when the frontside of the defense fits the zone the DE is in a bind. If the DE tries to go over the top (our side of the LOS) of the zoning OG he may get caught up and not make it to the A gap that is now moving away from him on the zone. Also if the DE attempts to slip the guards block by going off his hip and into the backfield the OG's body may keep the DE from getting to the A. When the DE doesn't get there the ball can hit on the midline. 

Getting cutoff from the A gap often sends the signal to the DE he must go harder and fast down inside on the movement. This can get the DE washed.

When the DE gets too aggressive on the long stick technique it can be difficult to fight pressure. The OT may wash an aggressive long stick past the A gap. When the zone running back winds the play back there will be an alley. The inside blitzer is now stressed to bend down off the block of the OT tight enough to take that alley away. 

One solution can be to change the DE's alignment. Putting the DE into a heavy 5 for head up 4 may work but the challenges of a 5 tech may still exist.

Aligning the DE in a 4i may help the DE to avoid being cut off by the guard but also have great leverage on the OT to avoid being washed.

Aligning or stemming down to a 3 technique is also a solution. Getting the DE down to a 3 technique allows the DE to use a one gap movement short stick technique instead of a long stick. In our defense our DL get many more reps of the short stick because we use it on more calls. Finding more situations for our guys to use what they do best/practice most is our goal. 

The Nose's alignment can be adjusted as well.

Some noses are excellent on the move and are great slanting from a zero alignment others are not. A nose getting caught up on the block of the Center can create creases for the RB away from the blitz. If the Nose is struggling on the movement he may need to cheat to a heavy shade to get to his movement.

The slight shade by the Nose can make all the difference in allowing the Nose to succeed on the movement and avoid being caught up on the Center.

The Nose may be a big body knock 'em back player who the OL struggles to move. We probably don't want to put him on the move. You can't fight physics. An object in motion stays in motion. If the OL cannot move our guy why would we help them by moving our hard to move guy for them? In that case the Nose can align in or stem to a shade away from the blitz. This allows the Nose to play base non-movement technique.

The Nose gets himself out of the movement all together by aligning or stemming pre-snap to where he would be moving to post-snap.

These types of align to win adjustments may not be universal. Some DE's are great on the long stick. The guy he splits time with may need to stem to a 3 technique and short stick. The starting Nose may be a no movement align in a shade guy because he is a big guy who doesn't slant. Other noses who play may be excellent on the move. The align to win plan for each guy is built for that guy to do what he does well. Different guys may be running the same call from different alignments in the same game/game plan to help them succeed. Also the align to win plan for the blitz may vary by game situation. Regular down and distance blitz call may have a set of align to win rules but those rules may change if the blitz is called in obvious pass situations. 

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