In my defense the outside linebackers are critical…just as important as the safeties in the 4-3.  The small difference is this:  In the 3-4, they are asked to come up & play on the LOS vs TE sets.  They can be overmatched in this scenario.  In the 4-man front defenses they can be slightly smaller since they are always an OLB/Safety.

THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY DVD and PLAYBOOK ON THE 4-2-5/3-4 MULTIPLE FRONT DEFENSE FOR HIGH SCHOOL

You need to identify those kids in January and spend some time with them.  “Coach ‘Em Up”…find 6 that you think can play the position and let the dust settle after the summer.  I would try to find 2 Seniors, 2 Juniors, and 2 sophomores.  That way I don’t have to start over the next year.

Sit down and think: “What will they be asked to do on Friday night?”

RUN DEFENSE with 1 WR on their side.  This puts them in a 2×2/3×3 alignment off the Tackle or Tight End.

  1. Contain vs sweeps/toss/Jet Sweep:
  • The initial read should be End Man on Line of Scrimmage (EMOL) is a reach step. After getting this initial read, eyes snap to backfield to see full flow coming at you.
  • “Set the Boundary” Attack LOS but never go more than 2yds across unless you are sure you can make the tackle. If RB gets outside you, you WILL COME OUT.  This is non-negotiable.  Turn it back inside.
  • Take on all lead blockers with your inside shoulder. Cut blockers in half.  Do not try to go around…”ripping” through blockers sideline shoulder is OK if RB is trying to get outside.
  1. Option At You:
  • The initial read should be EMOL releasing inside. End is squeezing down hard. Flow at you.
  • This is ASSIGNMENT as “Set the Boundary”, however there is no lead blocker, just a pitch man.
  • The TECHNIQUE is to slow play the QB. Come at him to get him to make a decision early, but keeping an angle so that if he pitches it you can get the pitch man without the pitch man getting around you.
  1. The Contain on the Edge vs off tackle:
  • The initial read should be EMOL is a base blocking. Might get pulling G trying to kick out.  Flow coming at you.
  • “Squeeze the Window”: Attack LOS while coming towards the RB. Don’t come upfield & give the RB a window to cut up into & then bounce.
  • Take Lead Blockers on with inside shoulder. Match their angle…if you drew a straight line between you & the blocker, then travel on that line full speed with the intent of knocking the blocker back into the RB.
  • You cannot commit inside or cross face the blocker until the RB has 100% cut up. When you get the RB to cutup, the ILB & F will probably make the tackle.
  1. Fold Inside vs Belly type plays to their side:
  • The initial read should be EMOL is a blocking End out. Backfield flow inside the tackle.
  • “VICE”: Sit at a 1×1 off the DE hip. You cannot commit to the TB/FB inside because the QB can pull & run around the edge.  When you see QB “empty hands” then go full force for the tackle in the b-gap.
  1. CBR (Counter-Boot-Reverse) on flow away:
  • The initial read should be EMOL pulling. Or EMOL block the End with Guard pulling.  Backfield flow away.
  • “STACK & STAY”: Stack 5yds behind the DE. Find WR/Wing on opposite side of formation.  Look for pulling OL from other side.  Make sure QB has “empty hands” on his boot path.
  • In my defense, the backside OLB and DE are the only players responsible for CBR. The other 9 players pursue flow.

 

RUN DEFENSE with 2 WR on their side.  In my defense, we are 4×1 on the #2 slot receiver so that we can VIOLENTELY re-route vs pass.  But they still have to do all the above from a landmark that is farther away.

Repeat all the above drills but widen him out & put a slot receiver in front of him who is trying to stalk block him the entire time.

 

PASS DEFENSE with 1 WR on their side.

  1. PLAY ACTION. EMOL run blocks.  Backfield is play action faking.  If the playside Tackle/Guard really sell their run blocks, then you have to honor the run.  A give away might be back coming out of backfield.  Film study is crucial here.
  1. QUICK PASS: EMOL fires out. QB in 1-3 step drop.
  • “Find #1”. Turn and get eyes on #1 WR while understanding that your landmark is 10yds deep, top of numbers.  The #1 WR route will 99% of the time stop you from reaching this landmark.
  • QUICK/HITCH: run at him. Do not look for ball.  Separate him from ball when you arrive.  “Show up with a headache”
  • SLANT: sit on slant route & find QB. Think of yourself as a soccer goalie getting in the line of sight between QB & WR.
  • FADE: head on a swivel. Continue dropping, but looking for RB/TE out of backfield.
  1. DROP BACK PASS: EMOL pass drops. QB in 3-5 step drop.
  • “Find #1”. Turn and get eyes on #1 WR while understanding that your landmark is 10yds deep, top of numbers.  The #1 WR route will determine the actual drop.
  • OUT: get under the man so the QB has to throw over.
  • IN: Dig/Curl. If there is a #2 threat from a TE or RB, pass it off to ILB…otherwise sit underneath the Dig/Curl. “Squeeze the Zone” if nobody is in your zone (flats)
  • DEEP: Continue dropping, but looking for RB/TE out of backfield.
  1. SPRINT OUT PASS: EMOL reach blocks. Drop to flats.  ILB has the QB.

 

PASS DEFENSE with 2 WR on their side.

OLB is in a 4×1.  If EMOL/QB gives pass read, turn all attention to the #2 slot receiver.  He has to come to you.  Do not attack or lunge.  If #2 WR gets to you (4-5 yds), then the goal is to put him on the ground or out of bounds.

  1. PLAY ACTION. EMOL run blocks.  Backfield is play action faking.  If the playside Tackle/Guard really sell their run blocks, then you have to honor the run.  A give away might be back coming out of backfield.  Film study is crucial here.
  1. #2 breaks inside underneath 4 yards.
  • “Find #1”. Follow same rules as 1-WR.  A #2 shallow route inside is ILB problem.  However, be an athlete & break on ball if QB has quick release.
  1. #2 breaks outside underneath 4 yards:
  • “Flats”. Break out with #2 receiver but stay on top of him with a 2yd cushion.  Don’t be a “hugger” because of wheel and your flat zone extends 10yds deep. Break on “palm off’
  • If you get an “IN” call by CB, then sit on slant by #1 while CB jumps the out by #2.
  1. #2 gets to your 4yd landmark: violent re-route.
  • “Eyes on #1, Hands on #2”. If either one stops in the flats (hitch by #1 or breaks out) disengage from re-route and sprint to the threat in the flats.
  • If #1 breaks in on deep dig/curl…you should sit on it but make sure CB gives you an “IN” call so you know CB/F have #2 deep.
  • If both continue vertical (post/seam/fade) stay inside of #2 so the QB has to throw it over you, giving FS time to get there. Also have CB help on 2-verts because CB is closer to #2 than #1.

 

PASS DEFENSE with 3 WR on their side.

TRIPS involves no re-routing because you can’t cover #3 speed out while re-routing #2.  We have a couple of trips calls:

  1. RATTLE: Traditional ¼, ¼, ½ vs trips.  CB/F read #3 on their drops with no backside help from Will OLB.
  • OLB is Flat-Curl-Seam. Slow backpedal, breaking on any out routes by #1, #2, or #3.
  • Outside shoulder of #2 Collision #2.  Backpedal to 12yds.  Deny seam to #2.
  • #1 breaks in: “IN” call from CB with no flat threat from #2 or #3: OLB expand under #1 dig.
  • #3 breaks out: “PUSH” call from F. OLB drop to #1, break on flats
  • #2 breaks out: OLB mirror flat route, over top while staying in seam as long as possible.
  • #2 breaks in: Seam drop. Get #1 dig or break to flats if #3 out (#3 to flats is an “UNDER” call from F)
  1. ROLL: Trips side CB rolls down to play flats.  F, W, & backside CB are deep 1/3 defenders.  Good vs bubbles & perimeter runs to trips side.
  • OLB is Curl-Seam. Sits on digs, inside comebacks.  Make QB throw over head on seam routes.
  1. SOLO: Backside CB plays man v single WR opposite trips.  Will OLB drops to deep middle, reading #3.  Allows F to read 2 to 1.
  • OLB reads 2 to 1. Cover 2 puts OLB closer to box, splitting #2 & #3 or even getting inside #3.  Cover 4 puts Spur OLB in flats
  1. SPECIAL: Trips side CB plays man vs #1 WR.  F & Spur OLB play 2-read off #2 & #3.  Will helps backside CB on solo receiver.
  2. SURVIVOR: Spur plays man on #3 trips receiver. F & CB play 2-read on #1 and #2.  Will helps backside CB.  Mainly for Trey sets.

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THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY DVD and PLAYBOOK ON THE 4-2-5/3-4 MULTIPLE FRONT DEFENSE FOR HIGH SCHOOL