Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Football Fundamentals: The Tite Front Defense

The defense du jour against modern spread attacks is what is commonly known as the “Tite” front. Over the past couple years, you’ve seen Big 12 teams run it increasingly often, and SEC and other teams start to incorporate variants of the look more often as well as they begin to deal with an increasing number of spread formations. But what exactly is the “Tite” front? Like any front, say, a 4-3 Under, it isn’t necessarily any one thing. You can have single-high, two-high, or even three-high safeties. You can attach your overhangs differently. And with Tite, it may even mean different box numbers. And of course, there are multiple techniques that can be employed along the way. This post is a primer to the Tite front. At the end, I’ll link some of the better articles that get into greater depth for those interested, but for now, we need to understand the basics, so that we can understand how to attack it.



Friday, August 30, 2019

Football Fundamentals: I-Formation RB Draw Plays

This is a series post with lots of play diagrams. Where it lacks depth, it hopefully makes up for with breadth. The goal of this post is to demonstrate the many run game nuances that are at your disposal, outside the very basics that you can find almost anywhere. I will point out some key attributes for the plays, but for the most part the diagrams will stand alone outside a brief description. This post is limited (out of necessity) to strongside plays that are given directly to the RB. It does not include FB runs, or QB runs, or H-Back, Wing, TE, or WR runs. It also doesn't include option plays. Those are things for future posts.

Why did I select an I-formation, which is mostly going out of fashion, and how do I expect this information to be utilized? The I-Formation is a classic 2-back set that, by the time it was implemented, had the benefit of a lot of football history. It is also a highly adaptable run formation, along for offsets, for H-backs, and other aspects that allow essentially any run concept to be incorporated into its framework. And that's the important bit: you can look at an I-Formation run play and easily carry it forward to many modern formations. For instance, by altering footwork and possibly timing, any of these plays can be utilized in the following:


  • 2-Back Shotgun Runs (with the second back potentially being a FB, an H-Back, a Wing, or a Sniffer)
  • 1-Back Shotgun QB Runs (utilizing the RB as an added blocker)
  • 1-Back Shotgun Read Options (the read of a run-run option, run-pass option, or pass-run option take the place of the additional blocker).
Many of the best current offenses often circle back to old formations. In the NFL, along with the modern spread concepts, you see a lot of the best offenses utilizing Wing T concepts. This set of plays does the same where it can (though, again, recognize that the option packages and fake packages are not included in this post, so it is somewhat limited). Below, you will see each play blocked against the two fundamental Even Fronts (4-3 Over and Under).


In this final post, we will be looking at draw plays.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Inside the Playbook: Banjo Coverage and Minnesota's Switch Double Slants

Against Indiana in the Red Zone, Minnesota went to a switch release concept which paired a basic twins passing concept to take advantage of bracket coverage. I've long advocated utilizing switch releases from bunch/stacked formations because it often helps the QB better define the coverage and take advantage of defensive coverage tendencies. In this case, Minnesota knew they were going to get a banjo coverage (effectively, the outside defender will take the first defender to release outside or the second receiver to go inside, and the inside defender will take the first receiver inside or the second outside). Let's take a closer look.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Inside the Playbook: Wisconsin Play Action Power O Wheel

Against Iowa, Wisconsin was finally able to get things going offensively when they returned to an old friend in the offense: the wheel route off of Power O. I knew I had seen it previously, and mistakenly noted it was a few years ago in a bowl game, but actually it was against Indiana last year. The basics of the play are a hard Power O play action out of a heavy formation. Rather than kicking out, the FB plants and runs upfield on the wheel route. What ensues is beautiful, beautiful FBs rumbling in wide open spaces. Let's take a look.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Inside the Playbook: Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan and the Use of False Blocks

As a defender, you are tasked with reading your keys in order to properly diagnose the play and fulfill your assignment. Gap responsibility and run fits and execution all start with properly seeing what is happening in front of you, and based on what the offensive line does, will change your path to success. But offenses know this. To a degree, and offense does what it does because that's the easiest and most efficient way of finding success. Other times, they find success with mind games, by showing something and doing another. This post is going to look at "False Blocks", the art of pass setting on runs and false pulls.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Football Fundamentals - RPO Run Concepts

If you've been following along, we've offered up a lot of pass concepts that can be paired with a run play to make an "RPO". We looked at passes behind the LOS, quick passes, and even downfield reads. We've also looked at pass first RPOs, known here as PRO. And if you've been really paying attention, you'll have noticed that those RPOs were attached to pretty much every kind of run scheme. Here we are going to summarize those run schemes and discuss briefly the types of routes to look for given the type of run.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Let's Speak Technique - Blocking the Draw Play

The Draw play is one of the most effective run plays in any playbook. It's versatile. It works just as well on 1st and 10 as it does on 3rd and long. It presents a false read to the defense which sows seeds of doubt for the remainder of the game by looking initially like a pass play and then firing out and knocking some guys around. But it also allows an offensive line to get by without tons of movement. Sure, it's great when a DL gets into a pass rush and then you shotput him out of existence, but just as often you only need to utilize good footwork to position yourself between the ball carrier and the defender. In this post, I'm going to discuss the techniques employed on draw plays in a little more detail.