Defending The Flex Bone


Today I want to talk about defending the base flex bone offense from your base 425 package.  We will be looking at the standard double wing version of the flex bone offense, and the most basic runs from it.  The key here is playing it from your basic defensive package that will not require a ton of changes or adjustments.  The key to remember is you may only have 2-3 full days to prepare for it.  With that being said you cannot ask your kids to try and play something new in 3 days.  You have to have a system that can adapt and adjust to that offense.  We will look at how we use our 425 to defend the basic concepts of the flex bone offense.  It will only cover the basic concepts of the flex bone, and i know there will be some flex bone fans that will insist there is much more to the offense and i admit there definitely is.  If you watch a fine tuned Georgia Tech, Navy, or Air Force offense it is a nightmare to defend.  I want to look at defending the simplest forms of the Veer, Midline, Rocket Toss and Counter play.

The biggest thing to understand is staying with your base system of playing defense.  Do not try and become something you are not.  Figure out a way to play what you play all the time with "MINOR" wrinkles and adjustments.  This will allow your kids to play fast with confidence, and allow you to continue to grow throughout the season.  If you try to change what you do for one week it will slow your players down and slow down the development of the defensive scheme.  When playing against an option style offense assignments and keys will be the biggest challenge for the week.  Making sure guys know where they fit vs. option schemes is a huge deal.  An even bigger deal is keeping it simple so the fits and assignments stay the same.  Trying to play the veer or midline plays 4 different ways may seem intriguing but it confuses players.  Letting your players play to their comfort level with speed and aggression is your safest bet.  With that said there will be some wrinkles but they are minor adjustments.

What we do is we play an 8 man front with the FS letting the motion of the wings dictate our read side which becomes our quarters coverage side.  Both corners will play aggressive man so the motions do not affect them.  The motion sets the read side for the FS.  In essence when a flex bone team runs orbit or pick up motion it becomes a 2 back set.  If they run a bunch of plays without motion it puts you in a one high concept but it also limits the numbers they can create with motion as well.  We played the veer option play with simple rules.  The ends try to eliminate the dive, the ILB'S run over the top to the QB, the down safeties play the pitch, and the FS runs the Alley playing QB to pitch.  If we use any stunts we send dlineman underneath so they still have dive responsibility and ILB'S still have QB.  We stay away from exotic movements that change the option fits.  We like the inside LB'S on the QB because in Florida the offensive lineman cannot cut LB'S so they have a hard time getting to LB'S running over the top to the QB.  With that said your LB's have to know what they are looking at and looking for because if they hesitate they will get blocked.  If the wings try to block the ILB then the FS must play the QB in the alley.  The midline play will be played differently but in a similar theory.  We like our dlineman tackling the dive and our LB'S on the QB with help.  Normally there will be some sort of fold block by a wing so we can get an extra body on the midline if our down safety can fold when the wing folds.  This involves tremendous eye discipline from the down safeties because the play may look similar to the veer option.  The ends will be C gap players because they normally get base blocks by the offensive tackles.

All of these things can be very hard to explain in writing so I hope you can watch the 40 minute YouTube video which will go through defending the veer, midline, rocket toss, and counter plays.  It will talk about the coverage we use and the option fits.  I hope this helps. Keep Playing Fast.

Sprint Out Passing Game For High School Football

Play To Your Strengths

I think it is safe to say that more and more HS football teams are using mobile, more athletic QBS in their offensive systems.  The evolution of the spread game and QB run game has offensive coordinators heading in a new direction.  Let's face it, every coach loves a guy that can extend plays and get you out of trouble.  It acts as a safety net for offensive coaches knowing that their best player with the ball in his hands can make a lot of things happen, especially when plays go bad.  It forces defensive coaches to be sound with their pressures, think a lot about rush lanes, and make sure they can fit 1 back runs that can now be lead and isolation plays with a QB that is a runner.  But what also happens is the offensive coordinator now must get creative in the passing game.  Most offensive coaches can draw up route combinations.  They all love the Mesh, 4 Verticals, Shallow Cross, Y Stick, Y Cross, Smash, Curl/Slide and the list goes on.  But many of those concepts involve three very key components that not all HS coaches have. 1)You need a pocket QB that can make all the reads and throws, 2)You need an offensive line and backs that can protect and 3)You need to have a plan for pressure which involves hot throws or sight adjustments.  Not to mention the amount of time you need to spend working on the timing and adjustments of intricate drop back passing schemes.  Think about Mike Leach saying he only has a few plays and the offense is installed in 3 days!!!  If that is the case imagine all the reads and adjustments those few plays must have to put up the yards and points Coach Leach has the last 15-20 years.

Using Your Athletic QB
What I want to look at today is the Sprint Out Passing game which helps QB'S that might not be traditional drop back passers, and lineman that may not be able to effectively protect in the 5 Step passing game.  Sprint Out passing moves the pocket which changes the launch point for the defense and effects their rush lanes.  It keeps the athletic QB on the move with the added potential of every pass play possibly becoming a perimeter run with a gifted runner.  On the negative side it will cut off half the field for the offense, and coverages will adjust or sling which makes it harder sometimes for QB'S to read.  There are generally two types of protection you can use when Sprint Out passing.  You can reach the frontside and hinge the backside with your RB becoming an extra edge blocker to the play side or you can fully turn your line away from the sprint out side and put the back on the edge.  Keep in mind most states have rules where you cannot cut the edge with a RB so putting him on a defensive end can be an issue.  We choose to reach the frontside and hinge the backside.  This gives me the ability to use my RB as an extra blocker for second level secondary contain LBER'S.  The issue with this is you give the DL reach blocks at the point of attack which triggers them to run to the play side.  Both protections will be very solid for sprint out passing, you just have to understand the constraints.

As far as the routes are concerned they are several combinations you can use.  Keep in mind with the QB moving you will want routes that are either breaking outside or stay on the outside.  One of the biggest mistakes a QB can make is throwing a blind ball back across his body to the inside.  Even if you like a combination with inside breaking routes, if the QB can not throw those routes before he passes them with his sprint out action, they may be a waste of time.  The two easiest combinations that are standard in just about every offensive system are the curl/slide and hitch/corner combos.   Keep in mind if you run inside breaking curl routes you will want to widen the split of #1 so the QB does not pass the curl window too soon.  You can adjust the hitch/corner combo as well by making the hitch route push the sideline with width since the sprint out action will make that an easier throw.  If you are sprinting towards trips you can now use flood routes which overload defenses with a deep route, intermediate route, and a short or flat route.

Hopefully the Sprint Out Passing game can help your offense move the football down the field.  As always the execution of the play is more important than the play itself so coach it up.  KEEP PLAYING FAST!!!!!