|MOVE TO CREATE CONFUSION|
I have to apologize, but due to the nature of being a Head Coach in season is an extremely difficult time to do any blogs. This week we have caught some bad weather so I have been able to find some time to do a blog on changing defensive looks. In an earlier post I talked about moving from the 425 to a 3-3 stack look with the same personnel on the field. What we are trying to do is confuse the offensive lineman to affect the blocking schemes and create some negative plays. I am a firm believer in teaching your kids how to react to blocks and defeat blocks from a base defensive structure. I do not feel like it is a good idea to use movement as your base defense for defending the run game. Here is my mindset on defense. I would like to see how we can handle an offense playing base defense first. Then I would like to build in movements to help protect the base techniques of my players and disrupt the blocking schemes of the offense we are facing. When looking at movements in high school or junior high or pop warner, I think it would be extremely wise to make sure your movements are geared towards disrupting the run game first and worrying about the passing game second. The reason I say that is two fold. Number 1 high school football is generally 85% run. And number 2 when the ball is thrown it is usually out pretty quick or max protected. There are not a ton of opportunities to crank up some great pass rush movements and they become way to cost effective unless your conference has 3 or 4 teams that throw it 35 times a game.
With technology the way it is today you can rest assured knowing your opponent has seen you on film in every game you have played. While this can sometimes serve as a detriment, I look it at it in a positive light. If I know the other team is going to see all of my games then I try like heck to give them a whole lot of things to look at. Football is a game of preparation. But it is also a game of time management and the more looks you can give another team the better. There is only so much time in a practice week. I want the opposing offensive coordinator and offensive line coach to have to show all the looks they might see from us up front and in coverage so that they can not zero in on what is actually our base structures. Let's face it, offenses are so good today that if they know where you are they will beat you every time. The key element to changing looks is how effective you can be playing those looks. You can't just draw up wholesale changes on defense but you can do things that are similar in nature to your base structure. When we move from the 425 to the 33 stack we make the exact same stunt, blitz, and coverage calls. The offense has to prepare for the different look but we practice the same techniques. When we use our defensive line movements we are giving the offense another thing to prepare for. As a defensive coach you have to understand that moving up front is nowhere near the same as playing base defense but you are still incorporating similar fundamentals. You have to teach players to read and defeat blocks, you are just changing the player they may be keying to identify the block to defeat. It is is still a goal in the run game to gap out your defense, but how you gap it out by exchanging those gaps can make you extremely effective.
The last thing I will talk about is changing coverages to present the offense with different looks. Your coverage must tie into how you want to stop the run, not just cover the passing game. We are a split field 2 high safety team. That gives us the ability to play coverages that are separate from one another on each side of the field. By doing this we can determine how we want to fit the run to the multiple receiver side as well as the single receiver side. It also gives us the ability to dictate how we will handle certain route combinations. This is a huge part of determining your game plan and what things you want to take away and what things you want to force the offense to do. Every offense knows how to stress defensive coverages in both the run and passing game. The thing they don't know is when you are going to play those coverages. Just like the front, if the offense knows where you are and what you are playing they will carve you up all night. The ability to close the middle of the field, change coverages to trips, and change your coverages behind your pressures will go a long way in helping you play good defense.
As always the biggest key to all of these things is your ability to teach your kids and their ability to grasp it. A confused player is a slow player and slow players will not help you win football games. If changing looks is more confusing for your players than it is for the other team then maybe it is not a great idea.