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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Post on Strong Football

This article is about using the 3-4 defense to stop the wing - t. The link is below...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Updated 3-4 eBook link

This link will allow you to view the eBook without asking for permission. It will give you access so you can instantly download it. Here is the link to the 3-4 eBook:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

46 Defense

I was reading "Coaching Football's 46 Defense" by Rex Ryan these last couple of days and it is a GREAT BOOK! I highly recommend that every football coach read this book because it is filled with fantastic material. The detail Rex goes into on defensive line play is impressive and applies to every defensive scheme.

 The book details how to play the 46 (Bear) at the professional / collegiate level, but as a high school coach I will only use bits and pieces of the book.

It was hard to move the ball on the 85 Bears
As a high school defensive coordinator, I am looking for ways to simplify scheme so I can make sure my players align correctly on every play, read the correct key and PLAY FAST!!! I have used the 46 (Bear) front in the past and I think it can be played on any down and distance, but I have used it primarily on short yardage / goaline situations. 

High school football is unique because we cannot recruit our players and we must adapt our scheme to fit our players on a year to year basis. Some teams deploy a Bear front out of a 3-3 stack defense, and some use 3-4 personnel. 

The base coverage for the Bear front is cover 1, and that is what fits best with this scheme. If I am going to use a Bear front, then we are going to send at least 5 players and cover with 6 or 5. I believe that you can bring up to 6 with the Bear front and play soft zero in the secondary. Even if the running back pops through the LOS or a DB misses a tackle, you can still get the ball carrier down because the defenders are in off - man so they can see the throw / running back. 

3-4 Personnel

The Nose plays a 2 gap technique and the two Ends are in 3 techniques (B gap players). This allows the Mike and Will to keep their depth and scrape to make plays. The weak - side end is a C gap player who forces the ball inside to the Will. The strong -side end is a D gap player who will force the ball inside to the Mike or the walked down Strong Safety. 

The Mike and Will combo the backs, so they read through the Guards to the back nearest them for their run / pass read. The secondary plays cover 1 or 0 if you want to blitz the Strong Safety, Mike or Will to get a 6 man pressure. 

The Bear front is not complex, but it can give the defense an advantage because of the 8 man box and man coverage in the secondary. Hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any 46 material that has been beneficial to you, please send it my way!! My email is God bless!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Important is a Playbook?

Throughout my time as a high school coach I have gone back on forth on the value of a "playbook". I have talked to a lot of successful high school coaches and they do not have a paper or a digital copy of their playbook, but they have their players write down the plays and install the plays using walk - thrus. I like this philosophy because you want your players to have to process the information and not have it given to them. Plus, most high school players will not look at their playbook, and if you want to make tweaks to your coverages, blitzes, fronts, etc., you have to tell the kids to not look at their playbook and retain what you are teaching them.

As an offensive lineman at Liberty University I never received a playbook, but our coach gave us a notebook and a pen to write down our schemes / fundamentals. I have kept those notebooks and it is really cool to see the gameplans and the tweaks we used during the season. By giving us a notebook and making us write it down, it forced us to take ownership of our learning and we could put it in a format that made sense to us.

Kliff Kingsbury doesn't use a playbook and he is one of the top coaches in all of college football. He makes his players write down their assignments and they use walk - thrus to SHOW their players the plays. I have always believed that "doing is learning", so why not transfer that to the football field. It is a fact that you remember a large amount of what you write down, and you remember even more of what you physically do.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cover 1 against the spread offense

I was sitting in a Glazier Clinic session this past year and we were watching the Chiefs play the Eagles. This was the week after the Eagles put up 33 and 30 points in prior weeks. The Chiefs were playing a TON of cover 1 against the Eagles to take away their zone read / bubble game and it worked pretty well because they held the Eagles to 16 points. There were no longer any run / pass conflicts because they were in man coverage, and this allowed them to do a good job against the Eagle's powerful running game, which leads me to my next point.

In order to slow down the spread offense you must take away space and limit run / pass conflicts. Cover 1 allows a defense to take away the receivers' space and define every defender as a run or pass player. The popularity of Cover 1 against the spread caused WVU to experience some difficulties this year.

Now, there are also teams that like to spread the field to run the football, like Auburn. Below is an example of one of their base plays, the zone read:

I remember listening to Nick Saban speak during the post - game press conference and he said the corner was supposed to stay with the wide receiver on the game tying play. I know college's get a lot of time to work on their scheme during the week and watch film, but my high school mind thought that the simplest solution would be to play the Tigers in Cover 1. Specifically, you could play Cover 1 Q where the FS spies the quarterback. That would eliminate confusion in the secondary and allow the defensive backs and linebackers to lock in on their key (their man in coverage).

I know that you have to carry more than one coverage / scheme into a game, but Cover 1 does give you a solid base from which to start. It is an effective coverage against the air raid teams and the spread the field to run the football teams.

Hope this article gives you some food for thought as you prepare for this next football season and may the LORD bless you and your team this summer!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

7 on 7

Now is the time of year when 7 on 7 becomes HUGE at the high school level. We are going to throw at the UGA 7 on 7 tournament tomorrow and it is going to be a great opportunity for our kids to compete against good players. We need to learn how to defend the different route concepts we will see tomorrow and continue to work on our technique and scheme. I do think it is a HUGE disadvantage to the defense for the ball to be spotted on the plus 40 every time, but people want to see points scored.

As a defensive coordinator I see the value in 7 on 7 but I have to give myself a reality check and realize that it is not REAL football. I KNOW the most important parts of the game are the offensive and defensive lines, and they are not even on the field during 7 on 7. 7 on 7 / skelly is just one period in a typical practice for us, not the end all be all of football during the summer. I must constantly remind myself of that fact so I do not stress out over the amount of points that will be scored on us during the tournament.

7 on 7 is a great tool for team building and perfecting your man / zone coverages. However, please do not crown yourself the state champion because you win a 7 on 7 tournament. There is no run game, which wins championships, and the defense cannot blitz. As I tell my HC every time he scores on us during 7 on 7.. "We were bringing 6 on that play!".

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Importance of Execution

When I watch film of other teams or watch football on the weekends, I notice a common factor of successful teams.. EXECUTION. There are many defensive and offensive schemes in the game of football and people have won a lot of games with different schemes. The scheme is not important, but the EXECUTION of the scheme is of paramount importance. It does not matter how many different schemes a coach can draw up on a board or put in a PowerPoint, what matters is the ability of his players to execute their assignments on every play. Now, you need to have some versatility in your package, but NEVER sacrifice EXECUTION for a larger playbook.

Steven R. Covey says, "You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage to say no to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside."

If more football coaches listened to that statement, more people would have successful seasons. In order to be successful, you have to coach what you know. It is better to be excellent at a few things than be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Your players will always know less than you, so you must be an expert on your scheme. If you are not an expert; do some research, talk to other coaches, go to clinics, so you can become an expert on your scheme. If you are going to demand that your players EXECUTE their job to perfection, you better know your scheme inside and out, so you can prepare them for the different situations they will face.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

3rd Down Defense

There are different philosophies on 3rd down defense, and good coaches will disagree on how it should be addressed. Some coaches want to use a sub package and a specific list of calls that they run on third down. Others run their base package and may have a wrinkle or two for each opponent.

We are in the age of up tempo offense and it is REALLY hard to substitute personnel on third down because an offense is going to push the tempo when they see you trying to put your nickle / dime personnel on the field. If the offense is not going up tempo and you have a nickle / dime package, there is nothing wrong with putting your nickle / dime package on the field. I coach at a school where there are 400 kids in the high school, so we don't have nickle or dime personnel because we are trying to get the best 11 on the field with our base defense.

 You should have a list of calls based on down and distance and the opponents tendencies on third down (short, medium, and long). You must educate your players about their favorite plays on third and short, medium and long. I suggest that you input the down and distance information into Hudl and run reports based on down and distance, which will save you a lot of time because Hudl does all of the calculations!

Lastly, if anyone wants a PowerPoint containing some really good third down defensive schemes shoot an email to and I will send it to you. Thank you for reading my blog and may the LORD bless you!
Get off the field on 3rd down

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thoughts on Building a Championship Program

Ever since I was in high school I always envisioned myself being a high school head football coach. My grandfather was a state championship football coach and my father won two state championships as a head baseball coach. I was fortunate enough to win a state championship as a player and won two conference championships in college. I have been around championship programs my entire life, so I know how to win.

What I have developed over the course of the last couple years is my vision about how I will one day build a championship program. I have developed a PowerPoint that describes how I will one day build a championship program. Here is the link to the PowerPoint: Building a Championship Program. It will need to be downloaded as a PowerPoint to be viewed correctly because the Google Drive viewer does not give you the full detail. I welcome all feedback and would love to know what you think about the PowerPoint. My email is and I will respond by the end of the day.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and may the LORD bless you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How many coverages?

A question that I ask myself a lot is how many coverages should I have in my defensive package? I struggled with this question for a long time until I read the book "Football's Eagle & Stack Defenses" by Ron Vanderlinden. On pg. 89 he says, "Although a defense can play all 3 coverages, it is difficult to be thoroughly practiced and effective at all three. I prefer to play Cover 3 in all situations, particularly in run down situations, and I use cover 2 for a change - up coverage." He was speaking about how he plays his "stack" aka 4-3 package and the three coverages he considered using were 2, 3 and 44 (quarters). If a successful college defensive coordinator only carries two coverages.. I am oinly going to carry two coverages!

Every defense is different and some use man coverage (2 man, 1 or 0) as their base look. Some prefer to use zone coverage (4,3,2). Whatever you choose to do should be based on your comfort level as a coach and your personnel. Carry two coverages and become an expert on those coverages!! Do not try to be someone else!! Be an expert at what you coach, and coach your kids with passion, so they will believe that you run the best defensive scheme!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

4-3 Tampa 2

As I watch more film on I am really drawn to the 4-3 Tampa 2 defense. This may be because I followed the Chicago Bears closely in 2006 - 2007 or because Liberty University ran a lot of Tampa 2 when I played there from 2005 - 2008. Regardless of the reason, I find myself drawn to the simplicity and effectiveness of the Tampa 2 scheme.

If only we had a QB in 2006....

 The big theme this year was man coverage (cover 1 or cover 0) in the NFL because that is what the coordinators believe you have to run to shut down spread concepts. Now, I am also a fan of man coverage, but the team that won the Super Bowl (Seattle Seahawks) ran a TON of zone coverage (cover 3). The quarterback has to turn his front shoulder to where he wants to throw the football and in zone coverage every defender can see where that is pointed. The Seahawks' secondary / linebackers used this to CRUSH the Broncos in the Super Bowl because they were keyed into Manning's front shoulder.

Legion of Boom

Two of the most dominant defenses in the history of football used zone coverage to win a Super Bowl (Tampa Bay and Seattle), and they both used simple zone coverage schemes that can / should be taught at the high school level (Tampa 2 and cover 3).

To effectively run a 4-3 Tampa 2 defense there are three things you must have to be successful.
1. A Mike Linebacker who is athletic enough to be the run - thru against a pass
2. A dominant 3 technique (under tackle)
3. Corners that are physical enough to set the edge of the defense versus a run or outside screen

There is your DOMINANT 3 tech

Lastly, any good defense has to be able to mix up their coverages to keep the offense off - balance. Even the Bucs of the late 90's and early 2000's did this well. Check out this article if you don't believe me:

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and please do not hesitate to email me at or shoot me a tweet (zachdavis24). God bless!