Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Be careful what you wish for....

Sorry that I haven't posted much lately, but I have been pretty busy. After 15 years of paying dues and grinding away, I was hired for my first head coaching job about 3 weeks ago. Having missed Spring Ball, I have a lot of catching up to do. When I get settled I will try to get back to routine postings but for now, don't expect a lot. I still appreciate any questions or comments. Thanks for all of the feedback and support!

Magic LB Keys that Fit Any Defense.....

          What!! Magic LB Keys! Sounds too good to be true, but this off season I have "borrowed" this stuff from a friend of mine and so far it works like a charm. I asked him to write an article about this but he declined and told me to go ahead and share.

          In this age of constantly-evolving spread & option and fast tempo offenses, the defensive side of the ball has sometimes struggled to keep up. To combat the variety of offenses we see, defenses today are forced to become more flexible, sometimes merging fundamentally different concepts (two gap, one gap or 3-4/4-3 fronts). The problem with multiplicity on defense is that it tends to take away from the fundamental soundness of spending time mastering the techniques of a single position. This is especially true at the LB position. How does a young player become a better technician if he is blitzing the edge on one play, playing a stacked 50 tech the next play, then an uncovered Mike on the next. What we have come up with is a simple set of keys that will fit any defensive alignment, whether it be a 3-3 Stack, or the Bear 46, or the 4-3, etc.

          Regardless of the defense called, the inside LBs will be playing one of two techniques: BOA or CAT. If the LB's gap of responsibility or closest uncovered gap is the B gap, then he plays a BOA technique. He is responsible for B gap on a play to him and A gap on plays away. If the LB's gap of responsibility or closest uncovered gap is the C gap or A gap, then he plays a CAT technique. He is responsible for either the C or A gap on plays to him and A gap on plays away.

BOA Technique means that the LB will read the OG and that his gap of responsibilty is attached to the OG's outside shoulder. . Instead of getting too caught up in the semantics of reading the guard (Is that a scoop or a zone?, etc.), we tell the LB that the OG can do essentially 4 things:
  • The OG can pull outside; in which case, the LB should scrape to C gap, pressing the first clear path and attacking the outside shoulder of the OG.

  • The OG can pull inside & away from the LB; in which case, the LB should run thru A gap. ("Pull Away, Run Thru A") Once again he will press the first clear path, whether it is the near A gap or far A gap.

  • The OG can pass block; in which case the LB will play his pass responsibility

  • The OG can stay in his gap, either blocking inside (down) or outside (scoop) or straight ahead (base). In each of these cases the LB should run thru the OG's outside shoulder as hard and as fast as he can.

CAT Technique means that the LB will read and/or mirror the near RB (not the QB). This is pretty much as simple as it sounds; if the RB comes to your side, the LB mirrors and presses the first clear path closest to the gap of responsibility. If the RB goes away, "Run Thru A".

There you go...some simple, sound keys for LBers that can fit into any defensive structure. For instance, in a 3-3 stack defense if the call is Base and the DEs have C gap, then the SLB / WLB are BOA players and the MIKE is a CAT player. If the 3-3 is running a Pinch stunt, then all 3 LBs are CAT players. Ina traditional 4-3 Over front, the MIKE is a CAT player and the WILL is a BOA player. Go ahead and draw this up in your defensive structure and see if it fits. Then draw up some of the plays that you will see the most of and see if these keys hold true. Please give me some feedback & let me know what you think.