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skyviewtackleBy Mike Kuchar, Senior Research Manager, X&O Labs

Discover how teams are using blitz checks to get their defenses in a position to not only defend, but attack 3x1 sets.  

By Mike Kuchar

Senior Research Manager

X&O Labs

skyviewtackleEditor’s Note:  The following information is only part of XandOLabs.com special report on developing a blitz check system.  The entire three-case study can be accessed by becoming and Insider member by clicking here.


Where to Attack

In 3x1 sets, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster prefers to come from the boundary and mug the Mike. Yet, in 2x2 formations, Foster prefers to come from the field.  “In order to get a free hitter, we try to get four from a side,” Foster told us.  “ If they track their Center to us, we’ll plug in the Safety and it will turn into a man pressure sometimes.

James McCleary, the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame High School (LA) is one of those coaches that prefers to pressure from the boundary in 3x1 sets. “It’s so easy to come from the boundary,” said McCleary.  “It’s harder to come from the trips side because then you have to be in a man principle and I don’t like doing that against 3x1 sets.”

In order to combat run down tendencies, Jason Brown, the defensive coordinator at Dutchtown High School tags his pressures for 2x2 or 3x1 sets in 10 personnel.  “We double call the pressure,” said Brown.  “The first call is a 2x2 pressure while the other will be a 3x1 check.  His base 2x2 pressure is what he calls Snow or Wind (Dia 45 and 46).  Snow means it’s a strong side pressure with the strong side inside an outside backer while Wind refers to the weak side inside and outside backer.  He call also tag “flood” which is a field side pressure or “blizzard” which is a boundary side pressure to 2x2 formations. 


If he gets a pure 3x1 formation with the back set away from the trips side, Brown will run what he calls Snow which is a three-deep, three-under zone pressure coming from the trips (Dia 50, 51, and 52).   It’s America’s zone pressure. “The End sticks into the A gap while the Mike is now in the face of Guard.  The outside linebacker is hitting face of Tackle.”



To see video cutups of Snow, Wind, Blizzard and Flood blitz concepts, click on the link below:


For pure shotgun, 10 personnel run teams, programs like Kean University in New Jersey will tag its pressure either to or away from the back based on who they want carrying the football.   If they want the back carrying the ball, they pressure away from him.  If they want the quarterback carrying the ball, they pressure check to the back.  Consider its Florida pressure against a dominant running back (Dia 47) and the same pressure against a dominant quarterback (Dia 48).  In essence, the defense is dictating who it wants to carry the ball based on the pressure.  Since the Cougars are an odd front defense, it can apply any of the pressures described earlier either to the back or away from the back.



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