Friday, July 10, 2020

Ambushing Power Read

Wisconsin is in a 3-4 personnel using the field OLB as the 4th rusher. The spacing created is like a 4-3 over front.

The Rush:
4 man rush with the Sam as the 4th rusher in the charge.

The Coverage:
4 under 3 deep Cover 3 concept

Nebraska is in 12 personnel with both TE's flexed as receivers. The RB is aligned as a receiver before the jet motion to run jet power read. The concept could be a stress play for this defensive call.

If the Sam runs up the field to the jet sweep, the read will be a clear keep for the QB. The run will hit behind the pulling Guard/Double team off tackle. The Will LB will have a difficult fit and task to make the play. The Mike has to block shed vs. a flexed TE.

If the Sam sits at the LOS or crashes flat down the line, again there is a clear read for the QB. The ball will get handed to the jet sweep. The offense has a 3 for 3 on the perimeter including a TE on the Mike and a Corner who will be slower triggering from the deep 1/3. 

Either outcome is a difficult run fit for the defense. The Badgers instead chose to ambush the power read.

The Sam attacks up the field off the edge. The read key is up the field the ball should be kept on the power. Once the Sam is up the field he flattens off to play the QB. Simple plan: force the keep and tackle it. The QB's action meshing with the jet keeps him deep in the backfield giving the Sam the chance to play up then go flat.

Good technique and pressure design from Jim Leonard to take the stress out of a stressful play with edge rusher technique.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Split Field Coverage 5 Up Twist Pressure

Wisconsin is in a sub Nickel personnel with OLB bodies as the DEs. The expected spacing is a traditional even front structure from this type of personnel.

The Badgers instead space as a pseudo-bear front covering all 5 OL. One of the OLB is aligned as a stand up 3 technique. An ILB is walked up as the edge pressure threat.

The Rush:
Both DT's are penetrating with the Rush backer working an up & under wrap to complete the 3 man twist game. The field side Rush backer is the contain rush.

The Coverage:
Split Field Safety playing quarters coverage concepts on both sides with the Mike LB dropping off the RB.

Purdue is using a scat protection free releasing the RB. The 5 immediate pass rush threats covering all 5 OL force the protection into 5 1 on 1 blocks. The Nose and Guard are committed to the penetrating DTs when the wrapping Rush shows up preventing them from reacting back to the Rush backer. The timing of the twist allows the pressure to strike the balance between forcing the OL to buy the penetrators and still hitting the wrap fast enough to get quick efficient pressure. 

Nice technique by the Rush backer keeping the path tight off the penetrating DT's and getting square and vertical to be in good body position to finish at the QB as he wraps. 

Good pressure design from Jim Leonard. 

Split Back Option Play Action Throwback Wheel

Interesting play action variation from Carson-Newman.

The backfield action simulates option strong. Off the dive fake the QB sets up opposite the action and throws the weak side seam/wheel route combination. 

With the weak OLB pressuring the coverage is light in the weak side flat. The man corner is occupied by the seam release X receiver. The route runs the Corner inside and creates a natural pick on the Safety. 

The seam/wheel route combination is a staple play action concept in flexbone offenses. 

The major difference is the standard flexbone option play action seam/wheel route is going with the backfield flow. The motion, backfield action, and route combination all work is the same direction.

Great design by Carson-Newman to us a throwback play action off the option to punish a defense playing fast to backfield action or over playing the strong side of the formation. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

1 Rat Pressure vs. Empty

The Broncos are in a sub Nickel package 4-2-5 spacing with OLB bodies at DE.

The Rush:
DL slanting weak with the pressure side Rush LB working up & under pass rush. The Nickel is pressuring off the strong side edge.

The Coverage:
Cover 1 Rat with the weak side Rush LB dropping to be the rat in the hole

The pre-snap picture shows both ILB's walked out and a 2 high safety shell. With the RB aligned outside the picture looks like it will not be man to man coverage. A LB didn't go out wide as the man player on the RB which implies split field safety coverage. 

The OL is in a half slide to the weak side. With only the 5 OL in the protection the OL must decide who/what looks are the most dangerous. The 5 OL have to set to the biggest threat. The pre-snap picture of 2 high safety coverage with ILBs removed from the box, the likely pass rush is a 4 man rush with possible pass rush twists from the 4 threats on the LOS. If the slide went to the field the weak side OG and OT would be man to man on the 3tech DT and Rush backer. By sliding weak instead the OL can more easily handle weak side DL pass rush twists. If the DL is going to run a DL twist game against a weak side slide the best place to attack is on a twist game to the man side. This means the DL would need to use the strong A gap DT in the twist game. The protection is doing a threat assessment and the 330LB Nose is a lower threat in the twist game vs. the weak side threats. This protection gave the OL a good look vs. a 4 down pass rush with possible DL pass rush twists which is the most likely post-snap threats.

The Nickel as the 4th rusher is unexpected from the pre-snap presentation. The OL is not accounting for the Nickel in this protection. An extra rusher from the man side of the protection is the responsibility of the QB to get the ball out quick/hot off the unblocked rusher. Why doesn't the QB see the pressure?

The pre-snap look shows the defense has 4 over 3 strong side and 3 over 2 weak side. Two elements bring the QB's eyes weak. One is the pre-snap look of a  match-up of an ILB vs. a TE. The other is post-snap safety rotation. When the Safety rotates to the post it brings the QB's eyes weak. The rotation made the 3 over 2 weak into a 2 vs. 2 weak. The TE/LB match-up and coverage rotation makes that the side to throw against. The protection needs the QB to account for the extra rusher strong. The coverage look makes the QB want to throw routes opposite the hot throw pressure threat. 

The Nickel ends up on the unblocked run because the QB had him in the protection and didn't see him because the coverage drew his eyes opposite the pressure.

Nice empty formation pressure design from Ed Donatell and Vic Fangio. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

3 High Safety Split Field Quarters Coverage Sim Pressure

San Diego St is in 3-3-5 personnel spaced like a double 3 technique even front and initially presenting a 3 high safety shell.

The Rush:
Both Ends contain. The End aligned as a 3 technique works through the B gap to contain. The Mike is pressuring A gap working a twist with the field side 3 technique.

The Coverage:
Split field quarters with a Safety rolled into the box as the 3 dropper.

Once the Mike walks up into the pressure look the OL is 5-0, because they are all covered they are all 1 on 1. Twists are highly effective vs. 5-0 man protection schemes because adjacent OL aren't uncovered and available to help. The Mike does a good job of penetrating to get quickly up field which forces the Center to commit and helps put the Center and Guard on two different levels. The 3 technique's timing plays off the Mike. He stays square while keeping his path tight off the inside hip of the Mike at full speed allowing for quick efficient pressure.

The usage quarters on 3rd 4 allows for a good denial coverage of all 4 quick receiving threats. 

Always good scheme and execution from a Zach Arnett and Rocky Long coached defense.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Shotgun Spread Midline Option

Navy is in a hybrid 30 personnel with a big body at X receiver who can attach as a down TE. The formation and motion along with the shotgun backfield looks more like an 11 personnel spread team than a traditional flexbone team.

Following the motion Navy is in a common 11 personnel attached TE 2x2 formation. The blocking is traditional midline QB iso blocking. The option is a dual option with the odd front 4 technique DE as the read key. If the DE sits the ball is handed to the RB on the midline path. If the DE crashes to the dive the QB keeps and follows the fold iso block. 

The DL is slanting with the read key DE on an inside slant making the read very easily a keep read for the QB. The fold iso block has a great angle on the ILB and the OT is a physical mismatch for the OLB. When the OT covers up the OLB the QB has an inside/outside 2 way go. 

Really nice blocking scheme against an odd front spaced defense. Awesome job by Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper to use spread shotgun window dressing to run a flexbone classic run scheme like midline option. Good stuff as always from the Navy offense.

This type of scheme is something more shotgun spread run games may adopt if they are struggling to block odd front defenses using 4 and 4i DEs. The midline read is clean read and easy to teach to a QB and portable to shotgun formations. Something to be on the look out for as shotgun run teams adjust to Tite front defensive structures. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

3 Cloud Sim Pressure

Georgia is in an odd front dime personnel on 3rd & 6.

The Rush:
Both DE's are edge rushers with the Nose working the strong side interior pass rush lane and the pressuring Safety as the weak side interior pass rush lane.

The Coverage:
4 under 3 deep coverage with a strong side Cloud

Several factors play in to the success of the call.

1. The pre-snap presentation of weak safety rotation.

The QB's pre-snap scan of the defense shows the weak side safety down. That picture makes many route progressions automatically work strong. The defense can create 2 on 1 coverage weak vs. the X receiver = work the strong side. The pre-snap look encourages the QB's eyes strong side.

2. The presentation of an overload and potential hot threat to the strong side

The mugged up A & B gap pressure threats gets the OL sliding to the immediate threats. The sliding OL  (G, C, G, T) can handle 4 threats. If the defense adds the 5th threat the QB has to handle the extra rusher with a hot throw. Again this picture encourages the QB's eyes to be strong. The QB wants to see if a hot throw off a 5th rusher strong is necessary.

3. The usage of 3 cloud coverage while protecting the coverage's stress areas.

Once the defense has the QB's vision and awareness to the strong side the ball is snapped and the play occurs. A couple of interesting factors play out post-snap. 

First the bluff of the Mike as a pressure threat can occur without the coverage being outleveraged because there is a cloud corner in the strong side flat. The Mike couldn't realistically bluff pressure and play the flat but getting to the hook drop over the bunch is very realistic following the pressure bluff. 

Secondly, one of the ways to attack 4 under 3 deep coverage is to get the RB out into the route either in a free release 5 man scat protection or as a check release in a 6 man protection concept. The RB in routes is difficult for 4 under 3 deep coverage because the 5 receiving threats can stretch the zone coverage both vertically and horizontally. Georgia denies this stress by sim pressuring with the Safety opposite the initial threats. The RB is forced to stay in to block in the protection. This is one of the biggest assets of sim pressure. A 4 man rush that keeps the RB in the protection. Also the sim allows the defense to pressure the likely weakest pass protector in a 1 on 1 match up. 

Third, the Corner and X in isolation can be an area teams want to attack in a strong rotated coverage. The Bulldogs help mitigate that threat by forcing the QB's eyes strong with the down Safety alignment weak and the hot throw threat strong.

4. The depth vision and break hash droppers inside.

The two drop out mugged up players are able to get depth to deny intermediate in cuts and still break and tackle low crossing routes. The zone nature of the drop allows them to also be in body position  with vision to break and vise tackle the QB on a scramble.

Really good pressure design from Dan Lanning. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

2 Under 3 Deep Overload Pressure

Pitt is in a 3-3-5 sub personnel package. 

The Rush:
Overload America's blitz concept. The DL is slanting away from the pressure with the pressure side DE on a long stick. The Mike is going slow under off the edge while the Sam is the outside blitzer. The SS shows a bail only to add in between the Sam and Mike creating the overload.

The Coverage:
2 under 3 Deep

The offense is running a split zone run scheme. The pressure does a good job of crossing the zone blocks. The Nose crosses the OG, the long stick DE crosses the C, and the Mike crosses the OG. By crossing the blocks the defense is able to cancel the interior gaps when the initial look shows defensive strength on the edges and potential creases inside. By crossing the blocks the RB looks to jump the ball outside into the overload. The zone blocking scheme can't account for the SS. The Hot dropping Will LB serves as a clean up player against any runs that might squeeze through on the inside.

Nice overload blitz from Pitt and Randy Bates.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Max Drop Tampa 2

Here is an example of an 8 man drop Tampa 2 coverage concept. The Jets are in a 
4-2-5 Nickel personnel with OLB bodies at DE on 3rd&7.

The Rush:
3 man rush with DT's on a interior twist game. The 3 tech is a penetrator while the Nose is 2nd looping over the top.

The Coverage:
8 man drop Tampa 2 

The initial pre-snap picture is a 4 man rush 2 high safety concept. The offense knows if the weak side safety says weak to play a cover 2 concept in a 4 man rush defense the place to attack is strong side. The safety working weak means the defense has the offense outnumbered weakside.

This is a problem area of 4 man rush Tampa 2 coverage vs. 3x1 formations. By playing the safety weak the QB's progression goes strong. In a 4 man rush Tampa 2 call there is a soft spot over the #3 receiver's initial alignment extending inside underneath the hole dropping LB. That area can be attacked by any of the strong side receivers depending on the route combination. The weak hook player can squeeze strong but doing so weakens the weak side coverage on any 2 man route combos between the X receiver & the RB. 

The Jets instead use a 3 man rush to mitigate the stress area in Tampa 2 coverage vs. a 3x1 formation. The Jets use the OLB aligned as the strong side DE to drop out on the #3 receiver. The 8 man drop is unexpected from the pre-snap even front presentation which is likely a man 4 pass rush based on alignment. Post-snap the coverage has a safety working weak which takes the QB's eyes strong. The OLB dropping combined with the Tampa 2 coverage is a strong side 5 on 3 advantage for the defense. When the strong side routes are denied by the overloaded coverage, the QB works back weak. The throw is late to the RB on the check release and an immediate tackle by the flat defending Corner for a gain of 14th down - Punt.

Good stuff from Gregg Williams to dial up an unexpected 8 man drop Tampa 2 to get off the field on 3rd down.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Kickoff Return

Left hash kickoff return scheme from the Bengals.

Front line is aligned at 49 with Ends splitting the hash and numbers. The Guards are on the hash.

Tackles are at the 47 splitting the numbers and hash.

Upbacks are at the 38 on the numbers.

Fullbacks are at the 20 on the numbers

Returner is on the Goal Line in the MOF

Drops & Responsibilities:

LE - 25 yl, 4 yards outside the hash, block #2
LT - 30 yl, 2 yards outside the hash, block #4
LG - 25 yl, on the hash, block #3
RG - 25 yl, MOF, block #7
RT - 25 yl, on the hash, block #8
LE - 25 yl, 2 yards outside the hash, block #10

LU & RU - 22 yl, MOF, double team #6

LFB - 18yl, MOF block #9

RFB - 10 yards in front of Returner, see the ball caught, lead on left hash block #5

Returner - Left Hash Return, stay on hash and inside blocks #1 is unblocked

All the landmarks are estimates from watching the film. The blockers do a great job of dropping full speed and getting to landmarks to create the proper spacing. Most of the blocks happen because blockers get to their landmark, move their feet, and keep their hips in good position/hands inside the framework. The blocks are not overwhelming physical dominance or crushing blows, just good athletic stalk block mechanics to cover up the kickoff coverage players. The double team gets good movement and vertical push. The returner does a nice job being patient on the hash before a quick inside cut behind the double then immediately back out to a hash - numbers - sideline course. 

Good stuff from Cincinnati Special Teams Coordinator Darrin Simmons. 

Bear Front Twist Pressure

Baltimore is in a specialized pass rush personnel on 3rd 10. The package is a 2-3-6 made up of 1 DT, 1 DE, 3 OLBs, 3 Safeties, and 3 Corners.

The personnel is in an interesting spacing the 3 OLB bodies listed in the diagram as R for Rush backers are all on the same side of the formation. The strong side edge rusher is a Safety body instead of an OLB body.

The Rush:
5 Man rush with 2 edge rushers and an interior 3 man twist game. Both down DL are slanting with a looping blitzer over the top.

The Coverage:
Coverage Zero with a hole dropping ILB

The bear front spacing would force many protections into man blocking making every OL 1 on 1. Instead the Bills full slide the protection with the RB cross blocking for the edge rushing Safety. The looping blitzer is able to pressure the space between the slide of the OL and the RB on the edge forcing a difficult redirection block for the OT in the slide. The outside rushers build edges while the interior twist pushes to collapse the pocket. The twist is unexpected. The likely 3 man twist from bear front is to have the Nose and a 3 tech penetrating and one 3 tech looping. The Ravens using the off the LOS linebacker as the looper is a nice variation. 

The coverage does an excellent job. The bunch side corner mans the outside receiver and gets help from the dropout LB in the hole. The safety manned on the RB also flashes through the window to help deter throws inside against a Corner who is out leveraged on inside breaks. The Nickel presses the point rerouting before manning the off the LOS receiver. The jam on the point helps the deep safety pick up the point receiver's route and disrupts the timing of the overall route combination. Backside the off man tech of the corner denies the X.

This type of bear front pressure with an interior three man twist has been popular for a long time. Here are three examples of a similar concept featured in the past from AlabamaGeorgia, and Virginia Tech.

Really nice variation of a tried and true pressure concept from Wink Martindale and the Ravens.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Pressuring Wing-T

Here is an interesting 5 man rush concept vs. the wing-t. The pressure is going to the 3 man surface regardless of if the 3 man surface is a TE or Guard over unbalanced. The defensive spacing is a 4-2-5 field under. The front has the 3 technique to the boundary.

Example 1:

The concept is to simple plug pressure to the three man surface with a read out element.

With motion to the 3 man surface the pressure is a simple B gap plug. The blitzing LB follows the pulling guard on the jet sweep scheme helping disrupt the play chasing it down from behind as the force player builds the wall outside.

Example 2:

The next pressure is again set to the 3 man surface. This time the 3 man surface is into the boundary. The ILB will plug the open A gap. There is a read out on motion opposite the 3 man surface.

The Will reads out on the motion snap blitzing the opposite A gap. The pressure allows the Mike LB to fast flow with the playside A gap filled by the backside pressure.

Example 3:

The pressure is again set to the the 3 man surface on the unbalanced formation. 

Before the OL shift the pressure was going into the boundary where the 3 man surface is initially located. Following the shift the pressure resets to the field and the new 3 man surface. The LBs are visible communicating and resetting the pressure. The ILB has motion coming to the 3 man surface and plugs with no need to read out.

Example 4:

The pressure is once again set to the 3 man surface

The ILB reads out on motion away snap blitzing to the opposite A gap. The snap pressure disrupts the run on the fold blocking scheme. 

Interesting concept to help account for a wing-t team that likes to shift the OL and change the location of the 3 man surface. Good stuff from Kevin Porter and Fort Valley State. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Cover 1 Rat Pressure

Wisconsin is in a 4-2-5 personnel with OLB's at DE. 

The Badgers are in Cover 1 with the Nickel matched up on the slot and the boundary safety spun down into the box. The Safety and two ILBs make up the 3 on 2 funnel technique against the TE and RB.

The Rush:
The 4 man front is in the pass rush. The Safety and Mike have the TE and RB when they block to boundary side. Both green dog and add into the pass rush.

The Coverage:
Cover 1. The Nickel is playing outside leverage man on the #2 expecting inside help from a Rat dropper out of the funnel. The Will LB becomes the Rat in the Hole with the two man coverage threats (TE and RB) working to the boundary side and being manned up by the Safety and Mike.

Really nice job by the Mike mirroring the the flow of the backfield. When the RB works back outside the Mike reacts and changed course. The Mike makes a nice jump cut to get into daylight as he adds on the green dog. Against a 7 man protection the rush is still outnumbered 6 on 7. The Mike's technique to find daylight makes the pressure work. The DT's each eat a double team leaving the Mike free on the run through. 

Good execution from the Badgers. Always well coached defense from Jim Leonard.

Monday, June 22, 2020


I did my first CoachTube video. This is a mini-clinic about the safety technique in 2 under 3 deep hot coverage. The video is FREE and takes about 8 minutes. I wanted to test out CoachTube for posting coaching videos. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Weak Side Overload Pressure

Weak side overload pressure from TCU. The Horned Frogs are in a  4-2-5 personnel spaced in a over front with 2 high safety alignment pre-snap.

The Rush:
6 man rush with both the Will and Corner in the pressure. The DL is slanting away from the pressure.

The Coverage:
Strong side 3 over 2 quarters with man away. The WS replaces the blitzing corner on the X receivers. The pressure is designed to eat the RB.

Pre-snap the blitzing corner does a good job showing bail and hiding his intentions. The WS also does a good job holding the look. The WS doesn't tip the Corners pressure and aligns in a location that would allow him to potentially poach the #3. The pre-snap sight picture for the QB is unclear. 

The protection is half slide to the field/strong side forcing the OG to set to the Nose. Once the guard sets inside the ILB pressuring in the B gap is a very difficult pickup. The OG has to redirect to pick up a full speed blitzer. The RB sets wide to the Corner leaving the OG 1on1 with the Will. 

If the OL went full slide the OT could have set to the Will. This would have left the DE and Corner 2on1 overloading the RB.

Nice pressure design to overload the weak side from Chad Glasgow. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

QB Power Option

Navy using a interesting QB power variation. 

The formation is a nub trips spacing. The A back goes in rev motion returning to get into pitch phase. The QB flashes the F before the F becomes the lead blocker on QB power. The two receivers are 2 for 2 against the Safety and Corner blocking the perimeter. 

The playside DE is unblocked and takes himself out of the play going flat down the LOS. The pulling OG does a great job bypassing the DE to block the scraping ILB. The edge is well blocked also. The #2 receiver ID's the corner triggering to pressure and cuts him down while the #1 works to the safety. 

The pitch phase helps to hold a force/pitch player stretching the defense horizontally to create space for the QB to hit the hash-numbers-sideline course off the edge. In this case the pitch phase turns into a lead blocker once the QB keeps.

If the DE attacks the QB, the ball can be pitched to the A back. The numbers on the edge are there to block the other threats. If the DE plays the QB the ball is out on the edge fast.

The interesting part if the play is an option is if the DE crashes down getting the spill of the puller the play is still viable. The QB could potentially outrun the scraping backside ILB or pitch once pressured getting the ball out on the edge.

Really nice play designed from Navy's Offensive Coordinator Ivin Jasper.