Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Developing a 2nd Plan

Going into a game there are always thoughts about who are the stronger/weaker offensive players in pass protection. That personnel scouting report informs the pass rush plan. How do we attack the weakest link? What calls get our best rusher on their weakest protector? But what do we do if the in game circumstances change?

What do we do if the opponent lost a player during the week of practice to injury and is forced to play a new starter? What if they lose a guy to injury in game?  What if a starter we planned on is no longer 100% (heavy ankle tape, limping, etc)? Also a personnel substitution may lead to a domino effect. The LG is out, their adjustment is the starting RG moving to LG making the RG the new player in the game. How do we attack the replacement player in these situations? Our answer is we game plan for it.


Every week we have a replacement personnel attack plan.


Just a simple section of the game plan sheet. The planning is a few calls to attack each position on drop back pass protection if the situation changes and we want to focus our attack on a new player. The bottom portion is other parts of the replacement plan.

New - The backups get fewer reps. The OL coach most likely got the subs ready for our most common pressures. Can we show the back up something new that he is less prepared for based on practice reps? These calls may not specifically attack the new guy but are designed to force communication and identification for the pass pro to something less familiar from practice reps. 

Sprint - Will the offense start moving the pocket to protect the QB?

Full slide - Will the offense go to a full slide to help the replacement player in protection?

Turn To - Will a half slide protection team turn (set the protection) to the new player. For example sliding to the RG if the RG is the new player?

Chip/Nudge - Tools the RB, TE, or other off the ball player can use to help an OL. The RB may look to help the new player in protection first before check releasing.

Max Pro - Will the offense go into a max protection plan and add RB/TE to sure up the protection?

Having ideas organized on the call sheet and planned out allows us to rep these calls in camp or through the week. In blitz period, 2 minute, team pass against the offense we won't be seeing our opponent's personnel. We can however use our replacement personnel plan calls to attack the 1st offense's Center or the 2nd offense's RT. Also being prepared for protection adjustments as a by product of personnel changes can help prevent us from making a mistake or at least help us have a plan to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Breaking Half Slide with Blitz Angles

Alabama is in a sub personnel Dime with OLB body types in the DE roles. 




The Rush:
5 man pressure with the boundary Rush LB going up the field and the Dime rushing on an angle through the Rush's heels.

The Coverage:
Cover 1



The defense has all 5 OL covered up. Previously this concept was covered in Breaking Half Slide Protection. The idea is simple, if all the OL are covered none of them are in the slide (zone) portion of the protection and all the OL end up manned up. Here the offense elected to keep the slide intact. Several problems resulted. The DT to the field got a clean run through on the RB. The guard is in a tough position. The protection says slide left and there is an A gap rush threat to slide toward. Even if the guard blocks the DT, the mugged up LB presents an A gap run through threat for the RB. The boundary guard attempts to provide help on the sticking DT for the Center who is sliding to the boundary. This is where the blitzer's angle comes into play. 



If the Dime simply blitzed the B gap, the protection can pick up the pressure pretty easily. The guard can post his inside foot and help with the DT while still setting to the new B gap rush threat from the Dime.

Instead the Rush is going hard up the field. This allows the Dime to run a straight line track off the Rush's heels directly to the QB.



The guard has a much tougher task. Just looking at the picture shows the challenge. With the OT setting up the field and the QB dropping in the pocket the angle for the guard becomes extreme. The picture illustrates the length of the guards pass set line is significantly increased. When the guard posts to help on the DT, the race with the Dime becomes almost impossible to win for an OL. 

Really nice execution from Alabama. Good stuff from former DC Tosh Lupoi and Coach Saban.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Tampa 2 Pressure

Green Bay is in a 4-2-5 nickel personnel with OLB body types at DE bluffing the double A gap blitz look.


The Rush:
Nickel and both DTs create a 3 man rush

The Coverage:
8 man drop Tampa 2 with both inside LBs in coverage. One LB drops into the deep hole while the other handles the low rat.


The Center turns in the protection to the strong side. The strong side DT occupies 3 blockers (OT, OG, & C). The long stick DT from the weak side ends up on a 1 on 1 vs. the weak side guard. The Nickel beats the OT with speed and pass rushes the RB. Great job by the only rusher with a 1 on 1 to win his match up. 

Really creative 3 man pass rush concept from Mike Pettine.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quarters Pressure

Green Bay is in a 4-2-5 nickel personnel with OLB body types at DE.



The Rush:
Zero technique is attacking away from the rush pressuring A gap, B gap, and working to contain. The DT is a long stick and the Rush is off the edge. The LB is blitzing B gap. The effect is very much a 4 man version of America's blitz.

The Coverage:
The strong side is playing a trips 2 high coverage tool. The Nickel, Safety, and Rush are playing a 3 over 2 on the inside WR's. The Corner is locked on #1. Weak side the coverage is cover 2 tool with the ILB dropping weak side and the safety playing the deep 1/2. This coverage concept is common in 2 high split field coverage systems.


The RB was attempting to chip the Rush backer who went into a 3 point stance and presented a speed edge rush threat. The attempted chip allowed the Will to run through unblocked in the B gap. The impressive part of the design is the zero technique nose occupies 3 OL opposite the blitz. Even if the RB attempts to block the Will the defense creates three 1 on 1's. Forcing the protection to waste 3 OL on 1 DL and getting three 1 on 1's in a 4 man rush are exactly the outcomes the defense wanted to accomplish. All the while the defense can cover down with a 7 man drop 2 high coverage concept. 

Nice usage of a non-traditional 4 man rush to get great pressure by Mike Pettine.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Blitzology Book Club

It's almost summer and I know lots of coaches ramp up their reading with school break beginning. So I thought I'd start a book club. Just some books I like about football and other topics. I'm planning to add new books the 15th of every month.

Question: Time remaining in the game is :03. Your offense just scored a touchdown to take a 19-17 lead. What do you do on the PAT?

Question: You are trying to bleed the clock to win the game. Its 1st down with the clock temporarily stopped. The opponent has 2 TO's remaining. The time on the clock is :58. Run the ball or kneel? Do you need a 1st down to drain the clock?

Question: It's 1st and Goal :15 seconds remain in the first half. You have all 3 TO's. What can you (or the opponent's offense) call run/pass with those plays with the time available. Run the ball and immediately call TO, throw the ball to the end zone, and how many times in the :15 seconds?

These situation and many others are covered in this book.




It is the best book on football clock management out there. Really well done, easy to understand, and well organized. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Quarters Coverage Pressure

LSU is in a 4-2-5 spacing Nickel personnel with Rush LB body types at OLB.



The Rush:
Rush and Will working a twist weak while DT's slant to balance the pass rush.

The Coverage: 
1/4 1/4 1/2 with the Mike backer working to the weak hook. The field Rush LB takes over the 3 drop. 


The slant by the DL forces the Center to block the boundary DT. The outcome is a 2 vs 2 for the Rush and Will against the OG and OT to the boundary. The Will uses a really nice stutter and go to set up the timing of the twist and freeze the OT. By the time the twist happens the guard is already committed to the Rush in the B gap.

The utilization of so many athlete bodies allows LSU to threaten many players as either pass rushers or coverage players. This same stunt is common in 4-2-5/Nickel structured defenses. The presence of multiple dual threat players makes the call more effective than the traditional 4 down version. 



The biggest difference is the degree of difficulty for the OL in pass pro. Against a traditional 4 down spaced defense the Center is not threatened by the DT crossing his face. This allows the Center to sit and create the 3 on 2 to the boundary side. To the field the RB can check release providing a 3 vs 2 in protection and a late pass outlet in routes. 

Good stuff as always from Coach Aranda and great execution from the Tigers. LSU gets two athletic LB's on a twist, creates the picture for the QB of a blitz, and runs a classic 4 man rush 2 high defense. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Double A Gap LB Twist Blitz

The Falcons walk up in a double A gap mug look with Nickel personnel using OLB bodies as the edge (DE) rush backers. The pressure is a variation of the classic double A gap ILB blitz.



The Rush: 
The Rush backers contain and the DTs are in the B gaps. All four are aligned wide. The DTs are wide 4i's to help force the guards to fan out and create more A gap space for the ILBs to operate. The ILB's twist in the A gaps. 

The Coverage:
Cover 1 Peel. With  6 man rush the rush has to peel with the RB if he releases into a route. The DBs to the bunch us a lock & level technique.


The Mike is aligned out over the guard while the Will is in the A gap to the RB. The alignment of the Mike forces the Center to set wide to make the block. The penetrating Will does a great job of stacking the Center before going vertical. The RB is in a bind in the protection. The Will never actually leaves his A gap but the looping Mike presents a new A gap threat. It is possible the Falcons called the twist and ran it as is based on protection game plan. The LB opposite the RB is the looper and aligns wider to influence the Center's pass set. It is also possible the ILB are using a read the center twist technique (Torch). The Rush backer to the RB does go depth and under. This could be a pass rusher reacting to being walled out of the rush by the DT getting up the field and looking for new space to pass rush. More likely this is the Rush backer playing a coverage technique to secure the RB on any interior release. Really good design from Dan Quinn. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Breaking Half Slide Protection

One tired and true plan to beat half slide protection is to cover up all the OL. Half slide is half slide (zone) and half man technique. The rules of half slide protection define which OL are sliding and those who are in man. Often the rule is the first uncovered OL starts the slide. If you cover all the OL up you naturally break the slide by forcing all the OL to be in man. Got them in man now what? Twisting pass rushers is one good way to attack OL in man protection. Virginia Tech is rushing 5 from an odd front dime personnel.



The Rush:
Ends contain
The LB's and Nose work a 3 man twist game

The Coverage:
Cover 1



The OL identifies the twist and works to pass it all off. Out of 5 games of 1 on 1 VT was expecting to win at least one. In this case both the ILBs in the pressure use speed and athleticism to win their match-ups. Good stuff from Bud Foster and the Hokies. This pressure is very similar to a pressure Georgia ran which was featured previously. 

This pressure shows up on film for many defenses. This type of concept also shows up in the '85 Bears playbook from Buddy Ryan. 


Buddy Ryan was building bear front concepts in multiple ways. Out of the 4-3, blitz the Mike and twist with the two DTs and you have the same bear front stunt. Virginia Tech was instead using two ILBs and a Nose to build the Bear front. This blitz concept isn't new but it is still highly effective.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Saving Time Making Player Wristbands

Many teams use wristbands on defense, offense, or both. We have used wristbands for years defensively. One of the biggest challenges is the time it takes to make the wristband inserts. Our method for many years was to print the insert card on normal printer paper, laminate the sheet, and finally cut the inserts out. The issue with laminating is it is time consuming and the lamination sheets are expensive. 

Our solution is a really cool waterproof paper from a company called Rite in the Rain. You can run the paper under a faucet and it will hold up. It also holds up to sweat and player wear and tear. We print on the paper with a normal printer/copier in black&white or color. The inserts hold up for a full week of practice and game day no problem.

The paper is available on Amazon 

Package of 200 Sheets


While the paper is way more expensive than normal printer paper compare it to the lamination method. 

200 lamination sheets are on sale right now on Amazon for $20 plus about $8 for a package of normal printer paper. It works out to roughly the same price, same durability, and less time laminating.

Really cool product if you are looking to save time on wristbands. Also useful on other printed materials that travel out to the practice field or get used in the weight room/locker room.