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. 


  1. What would alignment look like if one side of the offense has a YU (or Pro DW) instead of mirrored set?

  2. Not sure specifically how Clemson would handle it. Against a wing set the biggest scheme conversation is going to be the alignment and responsibility of the OLB. Also what is the support system. I think the ILB's can still stack. Leveraging the extra surface created from the Wing is the issue the perimeter defenders have to handle.

  3. What year was this game?
    I'm wanting to find the film, to watch it as a whole but am struggling to locate it anywhere

  4. What would your 4i's technique look like? Hands on the OT, don't let him release to 2nd level, then play ball?