By Matt Puffenberger
Berkeley Springs (WV)
Editors Note: Matt Puffenberger has been an Assistant Football Coach at Berkeley Springs since 2001 and is currently the Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Back Coach. Berkeley Springs HS is an AA school located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. It had never played in a post-season game prior to 2002. In 2000, Angelo Luvara came to BSHS after being the head coach at Potomac State College in Keyser, WV for 22 years. During his tenure, BSHS has won their first playoff game in school history and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Nickel Alignment Rules:
In this adjustment, the single-receiver side safety eyeballs the #3 receiver. If he releases vertical, the safety plays him man. If #3 does not release vertical, then the safety robs #1, just like he would in normal quarters. It is extremely important that the safety understands that his run responsibility does not change.
The single-receiver corner gets a signal from the safety alerting him that he is man-to-man on the receiver. The only real change in technique for the corner is to align in a press-man position (catch-man the red zone).
All we need to do is to play "bango" to the 3 receiver side and "trap" to the 2 receiver side.
For diagrams and film on Coach Puffenberger' bango concept, click here to join the insiders.
He's a flat player if it's "Banjo" or vs just 1 split receiver; its really 1/4,1/4,1/2. If we play that coverage vs 2 quicks, the LB gets a call that tells him to play vertical hook; walling and carrying any inside vertical.
If its "Steal," the corner is locked up because the safety is responsible for deep crossers from the 3 receiver side. This is the way we install the defense vs 3x1 formations first.
I like the "Banjo" variation vs teams who like to run the ball weak or if we can't handle the 1 on 1 vs the lone receiver.
Thanks for the questions, nice to hear from someone semi-local. I'm actually from Cumberland, MD...
Are your corners eyes on QB for 3 or 5 step? Are safeties reading OL's for initial run / pass key?
Our Corner's will shuffle through the 3 step game with eyes on the drop of the QB. Once the QB passes through the quick game, our pattern matches begin.
The exception to this is on the 1 receiver side when we make a call to play cloud coverage or press. In these calls, the corner just relates to the receiver, because he has help.
Our safety's read release of #2 for run/pass. If #2 is detached, that slows us down to the nickel side, but that's why we play our nickel with outside leverage so the safety can play the alley, which is being leveraged better by the front. If #2 is a back, the safety will read the uncovered OL to the ball; unless we make cloud/press call.
Thank coach, great info. In the cloud / press call is that corner pressing but still playing zone? Or are you running a zone/man combo?
On a side note I went to college at WVWC in Buckhannon. Had a teammate from out your way.