10 / 11 / 20 Personnel
Because offenses are using 3,4, or 5 wide receiver sets on a regular basis, defenses are having to play with five defensive backs to combat the speed the offense is putting on the field. In order to get 5 defensive backs on the field a defense must choose between a 3-3-5 or a 4-2-5. In high school, we cannot recruit out players, so we must develop our personnel. At my high school we have a lot of defensive linemen and defensive backs, so we use a 4-2-5 as our base defense. The 4-2-5 allows us to match personnel and keep the scheme simple so our players can play fast! We want our players to be able to line up, match numbers (eligible receivers), and be sound versus the variety of offenses we see during a football season. We never want a player to be indecisive, so we use a lot of man principles to eliminate run pass conflicts. Offenses are doing a great job of putting zone defenders in conflict with RPO's (Run Pass Options), so we do not use a lot of zone concepts. We do have them in the playbook, but they can be easily attacked by RPO's. Here is a great article about the evolution of the RPO: http://smartfootball.com/offense/downfield-passes-as-the-pitch-phase-of-the-read-option-as-run-by-russell-wilson-gus-malzahn-and-many-many-others
Base 4-2-5 Structure
There are some 4-2-5 defenses that base out of split field concepts (TCU) or cover 3. I like to use cover 1 because I believe that it is the mother of all coverages because you can get max numbers in the run game, have a low hole and high hole player, and you force an offense to make throws into tight coverage. You can also use a multitude of fronts with cover 1: over, under, double 2's, double 3's, etc.
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