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Friday, December 23, 2016

Protecting the Bear

When you use a bear front on a regular basis, an offense can begin to pick on the "weaknesses" in the defense. One of the weaknesses is putting the back into the flat on an arrow route and making your Mike linebacker cover him one on one running inside out. Another weakness is motioning the back out of the backfield then running quarterback draw, counter or zone.

One way to protect yourself against these weaknesses is to use a "Peel" technique by the edge rushers.

This page is taken from Wade Phillips' playbook and provides really good details about how this coverage is used against 11 personnel. Below are examples of how it is used versus different formations:

I believe in using a simple defense that employs a limited number of fronts, blitzes and coverages. However, I do believe in having adjustments within your scheme to help protect the "weaknesses" of your defense. Using a "Peel" technique is a great way to help your Mike linebacker play the run more effectively and have low and high hole help versus the pass. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Using Man Coverage with the 5-3 Defense

These past two seasons have taught me a lot about being a head football coach. In order to be a good HFC you must hire a great staff that constantly pushes your players towards excellence. I have been fortunate to hire great coordinators that hold themselves and the players to a high standard. High school is different from college in that we cannot recruit players to fit our scheme. We must fit our scheme to our players and be able to defend all of the different offenses you will see during a season (Wing - T, Pro, Spread). We have a couple different packages in our defense but our 5-3 package has been effective in getting max numbers against the run. It is risky versus the pass, but that is a risk you have to be willing to take from time to time.

In our 5-3 package we still use two safeties, but one rocks down into the box versus 11, 20, 21, 30 and 31 personnel. Versus 10 personnel we have a 5-2 box with our two safeties in coverage on the #2 or #3 wide receivers. Below are pictures of this package versus various formations:


The advantage of using man coverage is that you can be very creative with your line movements and blitzes. We use a nose / tackle twist and a tackle / end twist as well as blitzing the linebackers in the A, B, C and D gaps. The nose and tackle are spill players and our ends are force / BCR. If a tackle loops to the edge, he now becomes force / BCR and the end becomes a spill player.

When we are in man coverage, we will run with any motion. The coaching point is to beat the guy in motion across the formation so you have leverage on the arrow route and jet sweep. We play press and off depending on the opponent / down and distance. We try to keep it as simple as possible so our guys can play FAST!!! Here are some cut - ups of our 5-3 defense:

Thank you for reading and GOD BLESS!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Using Man Principles to Slow Down Today's Offenses

As I researched the current state of football this off - season I came to a couple of conclusions:
1. Combining spread formations with option, power run game, RPO's, quick game and down field concepts is the best way to build an offense.
2. Defenses have to use some form of man coverage to stop what offenses are doing today. We have to get plus 1 in the box (sometimes plus 2) to stop the run game, which leaves you one on one versus every receiver in the passing game.

You better have a plan for the zone read!!

After watching offenses go up and down the field with zone read, gap scheme (power / counter) and RPO's I started to realize that defenses need to become more aggressive with their schemes. Today's spread offense is using option principles so today's defenses need to use more man coverage to combat the offense's ability to put defenders in conflict.

High Risk / High Reward Defense

There is a great 3 part series on Virginia Tech's Bear package on and I would highly recommend all defensive coaches read all 3 parts. I believe what Coach Foster believes: we cannot sit back on defense and try to win games 50 - 49. We have to take the fight to the offense and make the quarterback beat us with pressure in his face while making tough, downfield throws!

I believe you can use a bear package like is shown above or you can go with the Ole Gap 8 defense as a great change up!!

You can move to the Gap 8 or line up in it

What is great about the bear and the gap 8 is that they are both very easy to teach. You can install them in 1 practice but like all defenses you have to spend a lot of time on the fundamentals (the devil is in the details).

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope your off - season is going well!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Smoke Package

Smoke Package
`                 Bringing pressure is a must if you want to create negative plays. You can do this with cover 1 pressures or you can play cover 0.  Cover 0 may seem scary, but if you have well defined rules that adjust to any formation, cover 0 is an excellent tool. You cannot be afraid to bring pressure when it is needed!
                  The blitz I am going to detail is what I call “Smoke”. I learned this package from a couple of great coaches in the state of Georgia, and they run this call 25 – 30% of the time. This is a packaged blitz that has very defined rules that allow your players to key in on their assignment and play without thinking.
                  Smoke is a field pressure that is illustrated below:

                  The field end and nose slant to the boundary and the boundary end plays a tight base technique where he spills all pullers and performs a bull rush versus the pass. The Sam is a spill blitzer to the field and the Will is a contain blitzer to the boundary. The Mike has the Tailback man to man. The Stud ($) is a contain blitzer to the field. The Corners are in man to man on #1, the Adjuster (A) is man on #2 to the boundary / #3 to the field and the Free Safety (FS) is man on #2 to the field or #3 to the boundary.

This is what Smoke looks like versus 3x1:

Versus Empty the Spur gives an “I’m Gone” call and the Sam becomes a contain rusher. You can also blitz the Mike if you still want a 6 man pressure.

Here is what Smoke looks like versus empty:

                  This pressure can also be called to a tight end and that is referred to as “Gator”. That concept is illustrated below:

                  The Adjuster takes the Tailback and the Mike takes the fullback, but everyone else remains the same. This is the beauty of the Smoke blitz! It is a simple package that is sound versus every formation and it allows your players to play fast so you can take the offense by surprise.

                  Thank you for reading my article and I would greatly appreciate your feedback! My email is and my Twitter handle is @zachdavis24. God bless you as you progress through your season!