Jerry Sandusky - Penn State
Defending the Run & Play-Action Passes

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Discussion of various fronts and alignments.

Any defense called by a "name" is a TE oriented Defense.  Meaning the defensive strength call goes with the TE.

Basic defensive players fundamentals:

  1. DT:  Will crowd the ball with a three point stance.  The inside foot is back, but the hand down is not relevant.  The DT's must be able to get off and gain leverage.  They must not ever get hooked.  They have to be disrupters and need to be able to penetrate.  Do not worry about being trapped.
  2. DE:  Put them where they can take off.   Strong end is staggered with the outside foot forward, slightly tilted in a two point stance.  He wants to create lines by driving across the LOS.  Lead with the inside foot and must not be hooked by the TE.  The weak end is in a three point stance very similar to the strong end.  The ends are the contain players.  They will drive off for the three steps and then force the shoulders square always keeping the inside foot forward.  Getting under control and decide either to continue contain or pursue.  
  3. ILB:  Align according to TE.  Depth is about 3-4 yards.  The strong inside backer or simply the Backer will align on the guard.  The weak inside backer or the Wildcat will align in the G/T gap.  The responsibilities will vary dependent upon the call, but they will always read the triangle of the QB/near back/TE.  
    1. Flow to the strength, the Backer will play the C gap and the Wildcat will play the A-gap.  Flow weak, the B will attack through the Center and the WC will attack B Gap.  
    2. Versus the trap action get inside of the down blocks, beating down block from OT.  
    3. Versus the ISO attack and fill the void.
  4. OLB:  Will read the ball.  If the ball comes to the LOS attack recklessly, filling C-Gap.  Handle anything and everything in there.  IF it is a lead play, attack and disrupt, bouncing everything outside.   The Willies fills inside the weak end.  
  5. DB:  The secondary is dictated by the coverage.  Corners typically align 7-9 yards deep and the Safety is 9-11 yards.  Primary coverage in run, safety is support play to strength.  Safety filling alley between the Sam and Strong End.

Base Front is the "Split"

Keeping the same concepts and fits, aligning TE, you can vary the front by choice.  


In stack the the nose will shade the split end side of the center.  The DT and Ends will stay the same.  The B stacks the Center, giving help to the split end side.  Still ready to fill Strong A-gap.  This gives the ILB's a better pre-snap alignment to help with the Split-end side.  


If you are concerned more about the TE side, over may be the front to call.  This bumps the LB's over, move the strong end head up in a 6-technique, using the base responsibilities playing head-up to inside.  He must be able to handle the C-gap.  B will need to scrape outside on run action.  WC moves to over the center, the rest of the front just like Split.  Run fits all the same.


If need to get the LB's to the split end side, but keep the front the same.  Can run Under.  
If we are concerned with a play which is field-oriented, use numbers to call plays.  


The 5 front gives a solid front, which cuts down on the run seams, forcing outside runs.  The N is going to be a 0-tech and play as a 2-way player.  Needs to be aggressive.  The T/Weak end will align in a 4-tech.  The strong end goes head-up to outside.  If he gets a block down, then close to the inside.  Strong end attacks the TE's down block, keeping him off the LB's.  Willie and Sam have contain.  The ILB have D & C gap.  


Anytime two numbers are used, the 1st applies to the strong side, and the second number applies to the weak side.  
In "25" the Tackle bumps into a 2 on the strong side, while the weak side remains in a 5.  

"25 Weak"

This sends help to the weak side.  The same as 25 but the ends adjust to the strength, putting them in better position to contain.  The WC must handle the B-gap on run action to him.


The 1 front is helping by moving the LB's weak.  It reduces everybody inside.  The end and willie will play 6-techniques.  Move the weak end into the B gap.  WC and Sam will read the ball and are contain players.  Backer stays behind the football working inside out.

If there is a need to really tighten everything to the inside, you can call "2."  Same as the "1" front, but brings the WC inside.  Little vulnerable on the outside, but brings some strength to the TE side.  

The "6" front puts both ends to the inside eye, if needed you can slide the N/T to the strength by tagging "Y"

Defensive Line Stunts

Ends in the base are flying upfield and containing.  This creates a vulnerability to the off-tackle runs.  Therefore you can throw some change up in with line stunts.

"Jugs"  =  In Jugs, the Ends will drive the OL inside of them, through the jugular vein.  This will force an exchange of responsibility with the Sam/Willie to the TE side and with the WC to the split end side.  

"Pinch" = Strong end and willie take a flat step to beat the TE and get up into C-gap.  The Tackle and  End will drive through the jugular of the OL inside of them (like Jugs).  All LBs now play laterally.

"Tooth" = T applies to the TE side.  Punch just to the strength.

"Tan" = Tackle And Nose.  The tackle goes through the butt of the center, then the nose loops behind.  

"Eat" = The tackle and end exchange the responsibilities.  End goes 1st then the tackle.  The end drives through through the outside shoulder of the OT, then the tackle goes flat and outside shoulder of TE.

"Wacko" = Same as EAT, just to the weak side with the Willie and weak end.

Defensive Line Stunts + Linebackers

"Split Gun"
The Split Gun is a great play to call against the pass or play-action potential.  To the split end side, the End will now go to B-gap.  The N & T will slant to the TE.  The OLB to the split end side has contain.  To the TE side, the ILB blitzes straight upfield.  Any backer not going on a blitz is responsible for C0gap.  

"Split Rifle"
Split Rifle is the same play except the ILB to the split end side is the blitzer.  The N/T slant away from the TE and both ends are upfield for contain.  The Sam will charge through the nose of the OT.

Some other variation include:

"Stack Storm"  This sends both ILB's.

"Over Thunder"  This puts an overload to the TE side.  Sam is contain.  

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