Simple Dime Package


Today we are going to take a look at adding a simple Dime package to your defense to help defend 3rd down situations and spread teams.  We are a 425 defense so we are technically a Nickel package already.  Adding another DB gives you more speed on the field and the ability to cover tighter.  At the High School and Junior High level the key is keeping your coverages simple and consistent.  A lot of times at the college and NFL level they will have specific schemes set for nickel or dime packages to take away the route combinations they will see.  They have more time to work on their substitution packages and more meeting time to go over the coverage adjustments they want to make. Its important for us to have a lot of carryover when we add a package or change a look so we keep things the same when we add a DB into our package.

The way we will generate confusion for the offense is by going to a Base 50 or Okie Front in our Dime Package.  That is different from our base even front and gives the offensive line and offensive coordinator another thing to work on, which affects their practice plan and practice time.  This way we are causing some confusion up front while keeping our back end coverages the same, in essence making the offense play slower while we try to play fast.  We will always have one wrinkle in our coverage scheme for longer yardage situations but we would like to play our base coverages as much as possible.  The way we accomplish this is by adding a second free safety in the game while removing a defensive lineman.  Now we have the ability to play any of our base coverages to either side of the formation.

50 Slant and Angle
We basically will become a 50 Slant and Angle defense much like the great defenses under Bo Schembechler.  We will always slant strong in our Dime Package, bringing the Down Safety from the side with the least receivers with the 3 defensive lineman creating a 4 man rush.  The safety that is rushing must make a call to the defensive line giving them their direction to slant.  Now we can play our base coverages behind that depending upon the formations we see.  If we see a 2x1 formation we will play Quarters strong side and Cov 2 sky or cloud weak.  If we see a 2x2 formation we will play 2 Read to each side bringing the down safety that is on the same side as the Will LB.  That allows the Will LB to walk out and be the Apex player to a 2 removed receiver which is how we play it in base defense.  If the offense gives us a 3x1 formation we play our standard trips checks because we have an extra FS in the game giving us the ability to play trips to either side without changing strength.  We will add simple zone pressures from both sides and a zero pressure to keep the offense honest.  We always want to have the ability to pressure from any package we run.  The zero pressure is really good because you have all DBS covering the 5 eligibles which makes for good match ups, and allows you to bring an outside LB in the pressure with the 2 ILBS.

If you are interested in our base coverage concepts I have an Ebook out on Kindle called Split Field Coverages.  It gives a good brief introduction into how we declare our coverages using split field principles.  Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed it.


Bootleg/Waggle Variations

Adding Bootlegs and Waggles to Your Offense

Today we are going to talk about Bootlegs and Waggles in various formations.  A bootleg or waggle is a play where the QB will roll outside the pocket away from the original direction of the play.  It is designed to be misdirection that slows down the defenses flow to the football.  You can choose to pull a lineman in front of your QB or allow your QB to boot "naked" with no protection.  We choose to use naked boots because it protects the misdirection of the play.  You can use several variations of routes on your boots and waggles but for simplicity sake we will use the same route combinations.

One thing that is very important for an offense of any level is to use the strengths of your QB.  If your QB is not very tall but is a good athlete, moving the pocket can help him see the passing concepts he may not be able to see from the pocket.  Let's face it, we are not always going to get a 6'3 QB in High School or Middle School.  Putting a QB on the perimeter puts a lot of stress on a defense.  He becomes an immediate threat to run which makes defenders want to come out of their pass drop responsibilities.  Defensive coverages that are zone orientated usually have specific drops for their players based on the coverage concept.  When you use a bootleg or waggle you are forcing the defense to adjust those drops because the QB has left the pocket.  This can create some holes in the defense if they are not discipline.  You can also affect the pass rush lanes and mindset of the defensive line since containing the QB will become a huge concern now.  Finding out what your QB is good at and playing to his strengths will be a huge asset for an offense.

Run Boots From Any Offense
The last thing we will discuss is the ability to vary your boots regardless of your offensive scheme.  You can run bootlegs or waggles from any offensive scheme.  Plays that are not scheme specific provide variety for the offense.  I am going to show you today bootlegs off of quick game passing, 3 back power offenses, flex bone offenses, and spread jet sweep offenses.  You can be very creative with boots and waggles and incorporate them into any offense.  Keep in mind the nature of the boot or waggle is to provide misdirection.  We want these plays to come off of full flow in the opposite direction.  This is a sure fire way to slow down the reaction and pursuit of the defense.  Always keep in mind on offense you want plays that protect your plays.  If we are a big jet sweep team we will want to incorporate some things that go opposite the jet sweep and keep the defense honest so they cannot overplay the motion and the jet.  I will also show you a boot or waggle off of the quick passing game which provides a packaged play mentality and helps your QB make good decisions and not force throws into bad looks.  You want your offense to have diversity and the ability to answer problems created by the defense.

Hopefully you can add some of these boots and waggles to your offensive system.  Be creative in your offense.  Whatever it is you run it is very easy to incorporate boots or waggles into your playbook.  Get your QB moving and give him some easy throws to help boost his confidence.  When your QB knows you are trying to keep him safe and you are giving him easy throws to complete he will play with more confidence because he trusts you.  Get your QB to buy in to play action fakes and the ability to "sell" the run game and work these mechanics into his practice routine.


3-3 Stack With Split Field Coverages

3-3 Stack With 5 DBS

Today we are going to look at using the 3-3 Stack or 30 Stack Defense with Split Field Coverages behind it.  The 3-3 Stack is still very popular in High School and Junior High Football, while it is being used in college and the NFL primarily as a 3rd Down pass rush defense.  Some schools choose to use it VS. spread offenses but there are very few teams in college basing out of it anymore.  The 3-3 Stack allows you to use smaller players that are more athletic because they are constantly moving.  The 2 Way Go really disrupts blocking schemes in Junior High and High School and the ability to bring multiple second level defenders causes confusion for offenses.  Generally speaking there will be 2 Defensive Ends over the offensive tackles and a Nose over the Center.  There will usually be 3 Linebackers stacked directly behind these defensive lineman.  The fact that the defensive lineman are head up and the backers are stacked behind them gives the opportunity for tons of movement and gap exchanges.  This can be a way to equalize bigger more physical offenses with smaller players, or to get more speed on the field.

One of the issues with the 3-3 Stack is the fact that there are 2 BIG bubbles on each side of the center that offenses can exploit with Gap Schemes in the run game.  The premise will be to remove one of these bubbles by slanting or moving the front and bringing at least 1 LB with it.  You will usually be moving into an under or over front.  You can maximize your speed on the field with this concept, but keep in mind you can move out of plays as well as you can move into them.  I want to look at playing Split Field Coverages behind the 3-3 Stack which really maximizes your speed on defense.  Now we can have the ability to move and play 2 High structures which is how we base on defense.

I feel like that quote describes a lot of the Stack teams I see in High School.  To move just for the sake of moving on defense can be problematic.  Yes the Stack lends itself to a ton of great movements, but you need to have a disciplined approach to those movements so you can attack an offense while protecting your defense.  Your movements should be calculated with your coverages behind it.  I think this is part of the reason you see so many 1 High structures behind the Stack Defense.  It seems like the 1 High guys feel like they can move anywhere and be sound behind it.  While that may be true, I do not think that is the best way to attack the offense.  By using 2 High Structures you can defend spread offenses a little better in my opinion, but you must also teach a little more to your players.  You will have more coverage options vs 2x2 and 3x1 sets, but your movements and coverages must match each other.  This will give us the ability to defend sets based on the picture in front of us which is the premise of our Split Field Coverages.  When you narrow it down you can only see Pro Sets, Twins Sets, and Trips Sets on your Read side, and single receiver or 2 receiver sets on your Away side.  If you can coordinate your movements with the coverages you want to play to each look you can build a really productive package.  Your 3 Stack LBS will become "Hybrid" players that will need to learn more than 1 role in a coverage.  That may not make a lot of people comfortable, but if you are used to playing split field coverages then you are used to teaching this way.  In addition an offense can trade or motion you into some things you can't control so cross training linebackers and safeties is in your best interest anyway.

At the end of the day I think the 3-3 Stack can create a lot of issues for an offense.  Getting the offense to over think and play slow while your players are attacking full speed will lead to great results.  Depending on your staff and the knowledge of your players you can keep this package as simple as you want, or add more to it to make it extremely diverse.  I have always hated preparing for 3-3 teams on offense and with proper planning and coaching I think the 3-3 can be a very effective every down defense at the High School, Junior High, and Pop Warner levels.  Maximizing team speed while creating movement with multiple second level defenders that can rush or drop is a very intriguing concept.  I think about using the 3-3 Stack more and more each year as long as I can fit it into what we already teach.