Thursday, February 11, 2021

Adjusting the Run Fit in Fire Zone Pressure

Fire zone has run fits like all other defensive calls. Those fits can be adjusted to help prevent issues or account for stress areas. 

Here is an example with a number of errors resulting is a good gain for our opponent. 

What were we trying to accomplish?

We called this pressure to have the DL slanting to the boundary with the walked up OLB on a low track spill course and the ILB going from depth on a wide track. This is a variation of America's Fire Zone. When the OT blocked out on the OLB the Sam should have gone under the block. The expectation is the Sam will go inside/under blocks because the ILB will be pressuring on the wide track outside. That is one of many mistakes on the play, the Sam stay outside. We also have an "I'm IN" or "I'm OUT" call happening here from the Safety. In this example there is a split #2 resulting in the down Safety saying "I'm OUT" meaning the ILB has the wide track.

If the #2 was in a cut split or a TE the Safety would have a better angle for the wide track and would call "I'm IN" taking the wide track pressure pattern and job swapping his seam drop to the ILB.

This is a run pressure concept, the angles can be beneficial to alter who is in the pressure pattern based on the formation.

Why take on this type of complexity? Why not just let the Mike be the wide track the whole time? Don't make it harder than it needs to be. 

On this call the #2 went in motion.

When the motion happened we didn't get the "I'm IN" call. The Safety should have gone from out to in with the motion. That plus the missed assignment by the Sam lead to the Mike's confusion. He gets caught in no man's land neither pressuring nor reacting to the play. 

The Safety ends up on the edge of the box playing like we don't have any "I'm IN"/"I'm OUT" rules on.  

Let's assume we did coach it with no "I'm IN"/"I'm OUT" rules in place. The Mike would pressure no matter what. The Safety needs to vise the lead block with the Will LB. The ask of the Safety here is very very big. The Safety cannot be too aggressive running into the box when he reacts to motion to avoid several problems:

1. Running into the off the LOS ILB wide track pressure from the Mike

2. Over running any potential run by the RB to the pressure side

3. Over running any potential route release from the RB or Y off

4. Over running any return motion from the #2

Just like in the actual clip the Safety ends up being too far from his work to fit the vise on the lead block and the run fit has issues.

If we had correctly handled the "I'm IN" call on this play.

Now the Safety has a great angle to hit the wide track pattern on the run as the motion pulls him inside and into the pressure. The Mike can shuffle over. The result is 2 inside LB's vising the lead block while the pressure pattern remains intact. The Mike doesn't have to be in a hurry allows him to be able to react to any flow or route threats to the pressure side. His stress is less than the Safety being asked run full speed to get to his work as in the prior example.

Something like "I'm IN"/"I'm OUT" may seem like unnecessary complexity at first look. That added complexity got us on this play as we didn't coach it or execute it well enough. You can choose to use that as strikes 1, 2, and 3 for why you don't need something that might create confusion. However, when executed correctly it relieves a great deal of stress on the players.

What is another option if I don't like the "I'm IN"/"I'm OUT" concept but I'm worried about the stress on the Safety. 

Another option is to set pressure Strong (To the Pass Strength) instead of to the wide field. 

In the original example the pressure pattern adjusted with 
"I'm IN"/"I'm OUT" but stayed coming from the field. In this concept the pattern is declared to the defensive right because that is the pass strength. This version has no "I'm IN"/"I'm OUT" rules and will always be an OLB + ILB pressure pattern. 

When motions happens the pressure is changed to the left.

The pass strength is now the left. The defense must now reset the pattern with a left declaration. The new pressure is well positioned vs. runs to the TE side. However, this does create stresses too. The LB's/Safeties have to communicate and adjust quickly to the motion. The DL must hear, understand, and execute the new left call in the pressure pattern. The rotation of the Safeties also creates stress to execute. Lastly, the adjustment also places some stress on the plays like split zone and counter going away from the motion. 

These two options are both tools to have and rep to help take some stress off the players when motions happen in the fire zone run fits. The set it and forget method works in some contexts but if the offense begins to stress those hard called pressures that don't adjust there are only really three options:

1. Make no adjustment and ask the players to repeatedly execute difficult tasks, this includes the player over playing to achieve the difficult task and creating other potentially bigger issues

2. Allow the offense to chase you out of fire zone pressure calls

3. Have tools available and understood by the defense to be able to adjust. 

It is easy to throw a cutup of good pressures on and say "see it works". Well what about when it goes wrong? What are mechanisms of failure? This post hopefully shows a failure we had in way that not only addresses how and why but also gets to the why behind adjustments we carry and coach. Having the tools available is the key to being a complete defense. It takes constant work and there will be failures. Those failures can fortify why we are doing what we are doing, to give players the best possible chance to succeed.  Simplicity for simplicity's sake and unnecessary complexity both undermine the goal. A clip like this one isn't fun because we failed on the play however it is invaluable for helping players and coaches understand the why. Good luck as you build your tool box and master your tools.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Football 101 - Spill vs. Box

This is a short explanation video of the defensive concepts of spill and box. Many people are interested in learning about football, the biggest barrier to entry is football vocabulary.  There is no universal football terminology so this video uses generic terms to establish general definitions of the concepts.