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Backside Choice Routes In 20 Personnel RPOs

By Dallan Rupp, Head Coach, New Plymouth High School (ID)


With two solid running backs and a quarterback who was a dual threat, it was a no-brainer for New Plymouth High School (ID) head coach Dallan Rupp to design his RPOs out of his 20 personnel grouping. With...


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Applying Springfield College’s Count System in an Option Offense

By Greg Webster, Offensive Coordinator, Springfield College (MA)


Since going to DIII in the late 90s, Springfield has had seven national rushing titles and finished second in nation in rushing three times. Find out how they count the edge to create big plays. Click here to read the...


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Using 3-4 Gap Exchanges to Attack Run Blocking Schemes

By Andy Swedenhjelm, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, Newton High School (IA)


After switching their scheme from a 4-2-5 to a 3-4/3-3 stack, returning and jumping up to the biggest class in Iowa, Coach Swedenhjelm and Newton High School cut their points given up per game by over 12 points using...


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Adjusting C3 to “Match” Spread Sets

By Brandon Staley, Defensive Coordinator, James Madison University

John Carroll University (OH) finished tied for first in Division 3 in total defense and did so by using what Nick Saban and Alabama call “Match” coverage on 60-70 percent of all first down situations. Former John Carroll- and now...


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Backside Choice Routes In 20 Personnel RPOs

2017-03-27 00:55:57

By Dallan Rupp, Head Coach, New Plymouth High School (ID) With two solid running backs and a quarterback who was a dual threat, it was a no-brainer for New Plymouth High School (ID) head coach Dallan Rupp to design his RPOs...

Applying Springfield College’s Count System in an Option Offense

2017-03-27 00:12:31

By Greg Webster, Offensive Coordinator, Springfield College (MA) Since going to DIII in the late 90s, Springfield has had seven national rushing titles and finished second in nation in rushing three times. Find out how they count the edge to create...

Using 3-4 Gap Exchanges to Attack Run Blocking Schemes

2017-03-26 23:47:24

By Andy Swedenhjelm, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, Newton High School (IA) After switching their scheme from a 4-2-5 to a 3-4/3-3 stack, returning and jumping up to the biggest class in Iowa, Coach Swedenhjelm and Newton High School cut their points given up...

Adjusting C3 to “Match” Spread Sets

2017-03-26 12:51:00

By Brandon Staley, Defensive Coordinator, James Madison University John Carroll University (OH) finished tied for first in Division 3 in total defense and did so by using what Nick Saban and Alabama call “Match” coverage on 60-70 percent of all...

Frostburg State’s Down and Distance Pursuit Progression

2017-03-20 13:23:56

By John Kelling, Defensive Coordinator / Linebacker Coach, Frostburg State University (MD) Much more goes into teaching defenders how to pursue the football than chasing a “rabbit” to the sideline these days. Players have to be educated on the responsibilities of...

Quick Game Tags to Zone and Gap Run Schemes

2017-03-20 12:54:28

By Jacob Knight, Offensive Line, Waverly High School (OH) Tagging passing concepts in the run game is a growing trend. See how Coach Knight and his offense structured their concepts to result in over an 85% completion percentage on these calls...

Quarterback Outside Zone/Bubble RPO

2017-03-20 12:44:57

By Chad Stadem, Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Washington High School (SD) There are many ways to have the quarterback run the football. While the power, inverted veer, zone read, and midline read are among the most effective in today’s game, Coach Stadem...

Cover 3 Conversions From a Cover 2 Shell

2017-03-19 13:42:00

By Nick Bamber, Defensive Backs Coach, Chesterton High School (Chesterton, IN) The middle of the field is the biggest void of a cover two structure, so it would make sense to get a post-snap defender there before the offense can exploit...

Hardball and Solo Coverage to Defend RPOs

2017-03-10 17:45:21

By Jerrod Sparling, Head Football Coach, River Valley High School (OH) For the last two seasons at River Valley High School (OH), head coach Jerrod Sparling has been using 3 Cloud Coverage against 3x1 and 3x2 formation RPOs. It not only...

4x1 Triple Post Concept

2017-03-10 16:45:21

By Rich Holzer, Head Football Coach, Mount Saint Joseph High School (MD) See how this 4x1 concept has become a go to big play opportunity for Coach Holzer and his offense while helping the QB get rid of the ball quickly...

Two-Back Iso Variations from Spread Personnel Groupings

2017-03-10 15:45:21

By Andy Martinez, Assistant Head Football Coach/Run Game Coordinator, Archbishop Stepinac High School (NY) Discover how Coach Martinez uses 2 back Iso concepts to compliment his RPO and screen game in this new report. Read it here... By Andy MartinezAssistant Head Football...

Pre-Snap Hitch Controls in the Run Game

2017-03-10 15:15:21

By Mike Kuchar, Senior Research Manager, X&O Labs See how 3 coaches are using hitch controls in their run game to attack defenses. Read the report here... By Mike KucharSenior Research ManagerX&O LabsTwitter: @MikeKKuchar Introduction: The following research was conducted as part of...

In Defensive End Fundamentals I briefly described the keys and reads of the defensive end. While schemes can change from week to week the defensive end will always have two keys. The first key is a visual read of the near back. The defensive end will align in a two point stance so that he can be effective in reading this key for a run to, run away, or pass read. He may also see the depth of the backs track to read inside/outside run. The second key is a physical read of the offensive lineman. The defensive end will feel the block and combine it with his visual read to determine his reaction.

If the defensive end gets a "run to" visual read he knows he will likely be getting a physical read of a no block, reach block, or turnout block. If aligned inside the TE he may also be exposed to a double team or down block. Since a down block is not that different than a turnout block the defensive end is really only going to see four different things happen to him when his read tells him the ball is being run his way. This simplifies the learning curve and avoids the confusion of different schemes. Let's take a look at the reaction to each of these blocks.

The No Block

The No Block read will differ week to week based on the opponent, however, it is almost always the result of an option or lead play. This draws upon the common "block down step down" mantra of defensive line coaches because the defensive end must immediately squeeze flat down the line of scrimmage when the man he is aligned over does not block him. This can change slightly based upon option responsibilities, but since the base responsibility of the defensive end is to take the dive we always make it first instinct to squeeze the gap. If the play is not an option, then the End must still squeeze to prepare for the kickout block. This block can come from just about any lineman or a lead back. He should attack the kickout with his inside shoulder and his inside foot forward. This makes it easier for him to react outside when the ball carrier bounces. The worst thing the end can do vs any no block read is to come high upfield instead of squeezing. This also happens to be the most common mistake among young ends. By squeezing upfield instead of flat down the line a crease is created and the hole remains for the offense to run the football. If the end reacts immediately flat down the line of scrimmage the gap disappears and the back is forced to bounce outside.

The Reach Block

The next block an end will see is the reach block which should combine with a flater ball carrier release on the visual key to show outside run. Since the end is aligned outside anyways it should be difficult for the OT to reach him. As the tackle steps out to reach block, the end must react to contain the ball carrier. He needs to remember that he has his buddies coming from the inside and his job is to set a wall for the ball carrier to cut upfield. Appropriate pursuit angles are crucial for this skill. If the tackle is able to make the reach the end must work to rip back through the block and pursue flat down the line of scrimmage. The worst thing he can do at this point is attempt to go behind the blocker and chase the ball from behind. He needs to work flat to maintain his pursuit angle and help string out the run play so help can arrive.

The Turnout Block

Against any type of turn out block, or base block, the end must work his hands into the OL to squeeze him back into the hole. The key is to not get any farther upfield as it will create a run lane. He also cannot be driven backwards for the same reason. A common mistake against this block is to once again float upfield and into the backfield. It must be stressed during individual drills to immediately begin the squeeze of the OL into the gap. Once the ballcarrier arrives it is ok for the end to rip low and across the face of the blocker to make the tackle as it is difficult at this point for the back to bounce outside and force the defense into a contain problem.

The Down Block/Double Team

If the end gets aligned vs. a TE he may also see the down/seal block or a double team. The down/seal block is any block coming from the outside trying to drive the defender down the line of scrimmage. The down block will come from a lineman, while a seal block comes from a back or receiver. The end must hold his ground and not lose horizontal or vertical positioning. If he is getting moved it is vital that he goes down or our linebackers will not be able to adjust. If the end is able to separate from the block he may rip through to make the play. The end can mentally prepare for any seal block based on alignment of the back or motion of a receiver. If there is a wing or a wide receiver in slow motion towards the end he should begin thinking about the possibility of a seal. We treat a double team much like a down block, but add the "Snake and Split" technique. The End may dip his inside shoulder and rip his inside arm to split the double team.

By simplifying the number of reactions for your players you will allow them to play faster and with more confidence. If you have any ideas for how to minimize and simplify these reads any further leave a comment and share with the rest of us. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Additional Resources

As described in Defensive End Fundamentals, the defensive end will always have two keys. The first key is a visual read of the near back while the second key is a physical read of the offensive lineman. The combination of these two reads will tell the end where the ball is going and how he should react. Specifically, the near back will tell the defensive end whether the play is a run to him, run away from him, or pass.

If the near back steps away from the defensive end then the end is highly likely to see either a backside scoop/no block or a turnout block.

Backside Scoop/No Block

If the end reads run away while not getting blocked his reaction is to immediately get upfield to intersect the quarterback's boot path. This reaction slows down the playaction game while letting both the coordinator and quarterback that they will see pressure if they try to boot, waggle, or naked away from the action. To intersect the quarterback we teach the end contain principles of taking an ability based angle to get out ahead of the quarterback and keep him inside.

Clearly an answer to this reaction is to run counter. With the end getting upfield he does become a target for pulling linemen and counter runs. This is why we gameplan against heavy counter teams. You'll recall during our discussion of the run to read that when our end is not blocked he will immediately squeeze down the line. When teams run counter effectively or are using counter to combat our quarterback intersection we will adjust to this reaction vs. the no block or backside scoop. The end will squeeze with his body and his eyes. If he does not see counter working back then he can always bust back out to the intersect point.

Turnout Block

If the end gets a run away read from the back combined with a turnout block by the offensive line he must initially react to the turnout block by working the lineman inside and down the line. The end cannot afford to lose ground vertically or horizontally or he will widen the gap for any type of counter play coming back to him. While fighting pressure the end must also continue to diagnose the reaction of the quarterback and blocking style of the lineman to determine if the play is actually a playaction pass. In this case, he will get into his pass reaction.

 

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