Florida State was one of the hottest teams the second half of the college football season large in part due to its defensive turn around who became quite dominate with their pass rush and nation leading 51 sacks. Charles Kelly does a a great job of mixing up the looks to be able to pressure the quarterback. I started going back to some of FSU games, this week I’am watching FSU vs Miami and I found a great example of how Charles Kelly gets pressure.
Its 3rd and 6 and Miami has drove the ball deep into FSU territory at the +19 yard line. In my opinion as a defensive coordinator one of the best times to send pressure is with teams inside the +25 yard line. My reasoning for this is because the field shrinks and you now have the help of the 12th defender which is the back of the endzone which means less chance of allowing a explosive play to happen.
Miami comes out in 12 personnel in a 2×2 alignment, I call this formation Gun Ace Wing.
Florida State has their Nickel package on the field but gets into a 3-4 Okie look presnap, I really like this because some blitzes are easier to disguise and work better out of a 3-4 look because you don”t have to drop a defensive lineman into coverage.
Like I said earlier one of the best times to send pressure is when teams get inside the +25 yard line because the field shrinks and the defense now has the 12 defender aka the back of the endzone to help you out. Charles Kelly dials up a nice overload pressure in this situation.
An overload pressure is any blitz where you intentionally blitz 4 defenders off one side of the Center. In this scenario Florida State is bringing this blitz to the Running Back side. Im sure through game plan and preparations Florida State knew that Miami liked full slide insert protection. Also with it being 3 and 6 inside the 20 yard line Miami knows they can at least get 3 points here in a scoreless game nearing the end of 1st quarter. Miami play call is very conservative because of this.
As you can see nothing is aggressive about the play call and Florida State did a good job here and deciding to be aggressive in this situation. The key to making this blitz work is that Miami is using full slide protection on this play. Florida State brings the overload to the Running Back side in order to get a 2 on 1 versus the RB. They purposely bring 2 defenders off the edge to have one more defender than Miami can block. The blitz side defensive end also did a great job of occupying the left tackle to free up both defenders blitzing off the edge.
Florida State is running Man Free Cover 1 with this blitz as well. Important to note that even though Florida State did not get a sack on this blitz the pressure forced Brad Kaaya to get rid of the ball early, but more importantly he had to get rid of the ball and doesn’t have any room to lead the TE open because of the back of the endzone. If Kaaya would have had an extra half second he probably would have been able to fire a shot for a easy TD. See the blitz in action below
Yes yes this is another blitz post what can I say I love pressure I think all defensive coaches love being able to send pressure when you can. I was browsing through some old game films when I was at my last high school looking at how we played Quarters Match similar to Michigan State when Narduzzi was the Defensive Coordinator and I stumbled across a blitz that was highly successful for us which is the traditional NCAA Blitz that everyone runs (DIAGRAM #1)
We found a different way to run this blitz with a simple exchange between the MLB and the blitz side DE we mugged up the MLB in the B gap and loop the DE into the A gap with the SS still blitzing off the edge. We really like this versus 2 back formations and became a pretty good run and pass blitz for us versus 21 and 20 personnel formations. (DIAGRAM #2)
But we also discovered we could run this blitz versus 2×2 formations with great success as well
(DIAGRAM #3 and #4)
we started out using traditional 3 under 3 deep zone blitz coverage dropping our weak side DE in the low hole. Then we evolved We made it a 6 man blitz and played 2 under 3 deep coverage because we noticed the team rarely released the RB out of the backfield. (DIAGRAM #3 & #4).
When we ran into teams who wanted to release their RB on the check down we easily just tagged a “peel” call to the huddle call. I really like this blitz because when we did it right we had great success getting our stunting DE as a free rusher in the A gap. Which as you know immediate pressure in the QB’s face causes automatic problems.
The other element of this blitz I love too is that it’s a very safe call versus the run as well. We still all all the gap covered and frequently ended up with a unblocked player in the backfield on run plays.
I really wish I had more footage of this blitz because we had A TON of success with it but I’am no longer coaching at this school and don’t have access to this film but I found a few clips with the film I do have below enjoy.
We have seen a resurgence in the 3×1 formations this season in the teams on our schedule. Except for the three wing-t teams we faced all of our opponents had some type 3×1 formation in their offense. I love being fundamentally sound on defense but I love pressure just as much and I’am always looking for ways to send pressure versus what a offense does best.
Early in coaching years I use to like sending pressure from the the trips side to try and make the QB make a quick read. But I have grown fond of sending pressure from the weakside of 3×1 formations. If you read one my earlier posts about bringing pressure with cornerback blitz was my early stages of experimenting with weakside pressure to 3×1 formations.
This blitz I’m going to talk about this post is a simple overload 6 man blitz with Zero Coverage behind it. We are a 4-2-5 defense so in TCU terminology this blitz would be a “Dog Blitz” (DIAMGRAM #1).
3×1 is technically an unbalanced set it forces a defense to show its hand a little bit. So many offenses I face go 3×1 to see how you line up and then call what they think is the best play. So I really like this overload pressure because most teams I face run either half slide or full side protection (DIAGRAM #2)
We use this as a chance to get a 2 on 1 on the RB in both pass protections. In high school football most running backs are not good pass blockers yet so sometimes we get two free blitzers but at least one when we run it right. They key to this blitz is that pre snap we try our best to make it look similar to all our other coverage adjustments to 3×1 to not tip it off. But sometimes we do show it depending on the down and distance and the situation in the game.
As you can see in (DIAGRAM #1) below
We are bringing four off one side of the center for the overload. We are bringing two off the edge on purpose the DE on the blitz side knows he is rushing now with what we call a “bully stunt” he will still rush C gap but stay on the tackle’s outside shoulder rush as tight as he can to try and shorten the edge for the Weak Safety blitzing off the edge. I also like this blitz versus the run as well for teams who like to run weak side in 3×1 formations.
Now like all things in football there are strengths and weaknesses and the biggest weakness here is that you run Cover 0 there is no MOF player so if you get beat its 6pts,
Also the MLB has the RB man to man which is a match up I dont mind because if the ball is on the hash its not much room for RB to have the ball in space versus our MLB who is pretty athletic, but we easily tag a “Peel” call with this blitz which then the Weak Safety blitzing will peel with the RB. We do that if we dont like the match up or if the ball is in middle of the field or we bringing blitz from the field instead of the boundary.
Lastly some runs to the 3×1 side can be tough to handle if you get caught in this blitz. Some run plays can hit fast and you lose two flow and pursuit players who are backside blitzing. With your secondary in Cover 0 that can make the run tougher to handle to the 3×1 side.
With proper game planning and knowing what your opponent does and situation that would be good to call this blitz this can be a great addition to your blitz package. Here are some clips of this blitz in action below
Empty formation can be tough to defend because you must defend literally sideline to sideline and you have 5 immediate vertical threats. That can be tough on your defense, especially when you don’t have to personnel to match 5 WR empty sets which is a common theme in high school. Empty formations also allows the offense the ability to spread the defense out and run the ball between the tackles and on the perimeter, as well. In addition, screen plays out of empty formations can be very troubling versus the empty set.
Over the years if you really work on it and practice it you can formation your defense. Based on offensive tendencies you can have a built in blitz checks so your the aggressor and not letting the offense dictate.
One way I like to attack empty is with the blitz I will talk about in this post. In TCU terminology this blitz is called “Bullets B”(Diagram #1) versus your typical empty slot formation.
It’s a simple plug blitz, but we like it versus only 5-man protection. In “Empty,” we typically like this versus non-athletic QB’s. It’s easy to disguise and someone will come free if we blitz with correct technique. We also should be able to force a quick throw out of the QB or get him flushed out the pocket. Any of these scenarios is fine with us, but this is high risk high reward because it is easy to see, no MOF safety in “Cover-0” which lets us know if someone gets beat vertical, there is no help and probably a TD.
An important component to this blitz is for our players to understand controlling their gap with no seams or cracks in our front. It’s important for your LB’s to know how to blitz. You don’t want them just running into the lineman and getting absorbed which can leave a seam. They need to know its important to control the inside half of their gap. Our DE’s in this blitz are the contain rushers. They must not make the mistake of getting off their rush lanes. Also, the defense doesn’t want to rush too far up field as a contain rushers because it opens up a scramble lane.
This is one simple way you can attack an offense who is using empty and here are some cut-ups of this blitz below.