|Simple Force For Success|
One of the things I like most about the 425 is your ability to make force rules simple for your players and declare the run fits as easy as possible. For the sake of today's blog I will keep this limited to 2 Back 21 personnel groupings. I played 3-4 under fronts for 10 years and teaching read force was always a tough deal for me. Keep in mind that read force is occurring between a safety and an OLB so it requires 2 players being on the same page and reacting accordingly. I choose to play a 7 Tech Defensive End which is inside eye on the Tight End. I know a lot of people do not like playing a player in a position where he is reached by alignment, and vulnerable to easy down blocks because of the angles involved. My answer to that is I sacrifice those things to easily define my run fits on the back end. Now my down safety knows he will always be the force player and my FS knows he should always run the alley and fit off the Mike LB. I can now identify the blocks those players will see and the techniques needed to defeat those blocks. When I was playing under fronts with read force i had a problem finding a real good Sam LB that could play in a 9 tech with the ability to wrong arm and close down blocks while also effectively defeating the reach block. The safety side of that was easier because on the back end you are just making the 9 tech right no matter how he fits the blocking scheme.
When dealing with lower levels of football like High School, Junior High, or Pop Warner you have to keep time constraints and athletes going both ways in mind when developing your schematics on defense. I chose to be a 425 team because of the simplicity, not the complexity. All things considered the 3-4 odd front stuff is definitely harder on an offense but it is also harder on a defense. Especially if you want to go all out and try being a 2 gap team. Because I have a lot of players that play both ways on my team, my time to teach them is cut down tremendously. I need a scheme that is simple to teach and understand but also very flexible in nature. My defensive end is probably also a fullback or offensive lineman for me, so playing him in a 7 Tech makes things a lot easier on him and my staff. The thing you have to sell him on is the fact he may not make as many plays on paper as a 3-4 outside LB, or as a head up or 9 Tech end. A lot of this discussion is pointless because most people today are trending towards playing without a Tight End, and that DE now becomes a 5 Tech anyway. But that also helps me defend my argument by saying if we see a Tight End twice a year the 7 Tech adjustment is easier to make. You take a Sam LB who is playing in space 90% of the time and then ask him to play as a 9 Tech on a Tight End, and i think you are asking for trouble. Now if he only plays Sam LB and has 5 days a week to work techniques vs. Tight Ends then I can see your point. The great thing about it is you have the ability to fit your scheme to your players and your schedule if you are flexible enough to teach more than one scheme. A great example of that to me is the military academies and the flexbone. They run a system conducive to the players they are able to recruit.
At the end of the day it comes down to what you feel you can teach best, and what you feel your players can learn and play the best. If we all had to play the exact same thing what fun would this be!!!