Friday, May 15, 2020

Written in Chalk: How to Attack Loose Alignment Tite/Mint Defenses in Run Game

Tite and Mint continue to be the defense du jour among Twitter followers, and as college teams start looking at what some of the best defenses did last year, I anticipate even more will start to implement the front into their package in some form or another. As it becomes more prominent, offenses are going to need to start adapting playcalls for the defense in order to maximize their output. But, of course, you don’t know necessarily a defense is going to run Tite on a given down or stay in that basic look post-snap, so you have to work within your system and not have plays that blowup if you see anything else. This post is going to look at ways of tagging specific base plays and adding wrinkles to better run your base scheme against 4i-0-4i looks.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Jay Johnson: Coaching Primer

With an incredible defense, Mark Dantonio ushered in one of the most successful coaching tenures in Michigan State football history. While the highs of his tenure will almost certainly be remembered by those quarters-heavy, no-fly zone defenses, his downfall will at least be partially linked to the ineptness of the offense overall. While I don’t believe scheme was the primary issue for the 2019 Michigan State offense, fans will be interested in understanding what Mel Tucker brings in with his new staff. Due to the timing of the coaching change, Tucker heavy relied on bringing his old staff from Colorado with him to East Lansing. With Tucker comes his former Colorado offensive coordinator Jay Johnson. I’ve taken the task of watching the 2019 Buffaloes in an effort to highlight what to expect from the Spartans offense in Tucker’s first year.

MSU Athletics

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Inside the Playbook: Michigan's Down G Run Play

Against Notre Dame, when attempting to attack the edge, Michigan attempted to utilize their traditional pin and pull run scheme. In this scheme, they are traditionally trying to "reach" with the TE to set the edge and pull around and up from there. But against Western Michigan, they adjusted their attack by running a "Down" scheme, rather than attempting to reach at the point of attack. This can be a different play call altogether, or it can be a scouted aspect of the offense and a line call. Either way, let's take a look at how it works.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Inside the Playbook: Bluff and Go RPO

At the college (and high school) level, RPOs continue to grow more and more challenging to defend. With relaxed rules against linemen downfield, defenses have been forced to maintain coverage longer and longer following the mesh point. No play demonstrates this more than the “Bluff and Go” RPO.

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.