Here is a tutorial on how to defend trips to take away the oppositions top run game plays.
By Joe Ginn
Defensive Front Coordinator
Choctaw High School (OK)
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Each game plan is different, but there is something about defending one-back trips teams that makes things especially nuanced. Over the past few years, we have found that our swap and vegas calls are a perfect solution to attack these schemes. Here is a bit of the background.
A few years ago, we were playing a very dominant run team. They had 5 outstanding linemen, highlighted by a right tackle who just committed to play at Nebraska. They were also forced by injury to move a third tackle to tight end, giving them six outstanding linemen up front. They came into the game averaging 45 points a game and 271 yards a game rushing on 41 runs a game. We knew going in we would had to stop the run to give our kids a chance to win the ballgame.
We knew we had to find a different way to get an extra hat in the box against their one back offense, which almost always had a tight end in the game. We also wanted to ensure that our extra hat was to their trips side, which was most of the time where they ran. They ran two different types of trips sets, strong and weak trips which I’ll diagram later. This game was probably one of the biggest games in our program’s history. A win would give us a chance to host a playoff game, and our school hadn’t even been in the playoffs in 30 years.
Swap vs. Strong Trips
Our secondary had a pretty simple week, as we knew playing cover number three to the trips side. This would give us a safety dropped down on the number two receiver and another safety aligned inside the number three receiver. The result is that we can keep our three linebackers in the box, giving us seven in the box to stop the run. They didn’t normally pass to the #1 receiver, so we felt like we could keep a corner matched up on the back side one on one.
The weak side counter wouldn’t be effected by the “Swap” call our guys do a great job of playing the counter in our base. Our weak side defensive end is taught to keep his hands on the tackle to keep our linebackers clean, then spilling the pull on counter. We tell the Willie he has to “clean the butt cheek of the defensive end” for his fit. The Mike LB reads the center to guard, so he gets in the pulling guards hip pocket and fits in the window left between Willie and the DE. If Willie closes it all the way down, Mike’s window will be outside Willie (Diagram 4).
As expected, “Swap” gave us what we wanted, as our opponent never ran Stretch strong due to the quick force of our 9-technique.
Vegas vs. Weak Trips
It is worth mentioning that we knew going in that we had to stop the run first! The plays we had to focus on were the stretch toward the trips, counter weak, and trap strong and we felt like “Vegas” to Weak Trips gave us the best option. Against the stretch, we had Willie and a 5-technique. The defensive end outside the tackle to fit, a $ head up on #2 and playing the gap outside him, a free safety who would fit between #2 and #3 as a secondary force, and a corner to fit outside #1.
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- The box adjustment that Coach Ginn uses to defend one-back trips runs.
- Why he uses a 9-technique against trap strong and counter weak schemes.
- An explanation of the “Vegas” concept, which alleviates some pressure.
- Why the trips side corner in Vegas may be the most essential defender in this scheme and what he is asked to do.
- How Coach Ginn fit the trap, counter and stretch run concepts in these coverages.
- BONUS: Watch game film of this coverage concept
Our plan wasn’t fool proof and we knew that going in, however, we felt like this was what we needed to do to give our kids the best chance to be successful this particular Friday Night. I believe that’s the best we can possibly do each and every week is to give our kids a chance to be successful. I hope you were able to get something from this clinic report. Again, thanks for the opportunity to share what we are doing here at Choctaw.