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

Discover how multiple successful programs attack this common protection scheme with their blitz checks.

By Mike Kuchar

Senior Research Manager

X&O Labs



Editor’s Note:  The following research is part of our full-length special report on developing a pressure check system, which can be found in its entirety by clicking here.



Attacking Man/BOB Protection


Man protection is typically referred to B.O.B. or “big on big” protection. It can be difficult to attack, particularly if an offense has two backs in protection, making it a seven-man concept.  It becomes difficult to get a free hitter.  We’ve found that most coaches prefer to use some sort of Gut, or double A gap pressure, to attack man protection schemes.  While there are certain checks that defensive coaches use to attack this protection, Kuchinski’s answer has been to use a combination of twists by bringing linebackers.  In his system, Spider is a man beater that allows the ILB to the pressure to come free.  “We can run this out of many fronts but we need at least a three-technique to the side of the blitz so he can draw the attention of the OG to fan out on him, thus allowing an A gap entry point.”  In Spider, the OLB pressures off the edge getting to the up field number of the QB while the three-technique to the side of the pressure has a vertical B gap rush. “Our nose is a Bull ‘n Pull guy away from the pressure. The DE away from the pressure is a Stab player and is responsible for speed to power collapsing the pocket and up field shoulder of the QB. The ILB to the pressure bubbles in the C gap with his inside foot forward and has a read tech on the OT. As the ILB takes his step if the OT works out to him he stays tight off the vertical 3 tech and works to the A gap coming free (Diagram 96).  If the OT works down on the 3 tech he comes off the edge staying inside of the back (Diagram 97).


 To see cutups of the Spider concept, click on the link below:



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  • How Bud Foster will manipulate protection by “swiping” the Center in man protection schemes in his Rake Pressure.
  • St. Thomas University’s Twister and Spider pressure concepts that it runs from a three-down front.
  • Why producing a three-technique defender is necessary to generate double A gap pressure.
  • How Kean University (NJ) gets one on one matchups by placing Defensive End’s on Interior linemen.
  • How Defiance College (OH) teaches an add-on pressure check for its outside linebackers in man protection.

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Another gut pressure check that has been effective against man protection schemes has been what Kyle Ralph, the head coach at New Palestine High School (IN) calls his Thunder and Lightening package (Diagrams 100, 101, & 102). New Palestine lead the state of Indiana with 70 sacks this season.  Ralph told us he would only have 1-2 pressure checks based off formation because he wouldn’t get a ton per game.  “More than that became too much to practice,” said Ralph.  “We had three different pressure checks for a team that was multi-faceted, but didn’t do a ton of different things formationally.  We had two interior blitz checks- one Thunder and one Lightening.  It was a gut pressure based on either man free or pure man coverage concepts.  From his 3-4 front, it would be a seven-man rush with cover zero or a six-man rush with cover one. 


To see cutups of the Thunder/Lightening concept, click on the link below:

Ralph was quick to point out not to get too risky with pressuring the offenses base formations if you’re able to defend them without bringing pressure.  It’s the unique formations that have strong tendencies that are susceptible to pressure. You don’t want to get too risky with their bread and butter stuff,” said Ralph.  “You want to be able to defend them without doing that.  We won’t do it against good teams that line up in their base formations and run their schemes.  If you try to get tricky with that, teams will beat you.  If they are in the same formation 70 percent of the time, then we will do what we do and match up against them.Our goal is to get them out of their base stuff and have them do things that they are predictable with.   We want to get them behind so we can get risky. If we get burned and give up a touchdown we can be okay with it because we’re up by a few scores.  We do it to try and create more big plays on defense.” 



It seems apparent that a gut or double A gap pressure is most effective against man protection schemes.  It’s also beneficial to spike the front by twist or movement in order to move the offensive front out of its typical alignments.  All of these variables could help get your players home in a hurry. 











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