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Joe Ginn, Defensive Front Coordinator/LBs, Choctaw High School (OK)

Game week film study should tell a defensive coordinator exactly which 2x2 routes he will need to cover in the RPO game, but how he defends those routes can vary. Choctaw High School (OK) Defensive Front Coordinator Joe Ginn has found answers to defending RPOs in using split field coverage variants based on the location of the back. Coach Ginn details these coverage concepts in this exclusive clinic report. Read the report.


Joe Ginn
Defensive Front Coordinator/LBs
Choctaw High School (OK)


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Well, offensive coaches have done it. They’ve found a new way to bring back the Triple option and incorporated wishbone concepts of the veer into the Spread Offense with Zone Read/Bubble Schemes. I want to talk today about a very simple scheme that I believe we can all apply regardless of defensive scheme to attempt to defend it. The example I’m showing and accompanying video will show an Odd Stack, and a Base 4-3 Scheme. The key to incorporating this scheme is having the 2 safeties in the game and matchups you believe in. 

Defending the Run

As far as our concepts vs. the run we wanted them to be fairly simple.  We always play “Big” gaps vs. the Zone.  What I mean is the LB’s are assigned a gap based on alignment or movement of the D-Line so they are to fit their “Big” gap vs. Zone Concepts by the offense.  

In our Base Defense we were again simple.  We wanted to keep our rules the same in Base without having to move the front.  So, we set the 3 tech. away from the back.  This we felt forced the offense to run zone through the A-gap again.  We did not gap exchange out of our Nickel.  Our Will LB was really good at fitting off our Weakside End and making him right, so we really thought we’d get it closed down.  We told Mike the Center would zone him so he had to rip the Center’s block and squeeze the Strong Side A-gap, right Now! 

The Sam Backer really didn’t have a gap here, so he was responsible for fitting off the Strongside Defensive End and making him right.  I have detailed our Sam and Will stepping to stack and making our DE correct in an earlier article on LB Fits in a 4-3 on X&O Labs.if you want to read further into this (Diagram 4). Our biggest issue as you’ll see on film is our Weak Side End on the Side to the back didn’t close tight enough a few times and it put our Will in a predicament.  We have come up with a few answers in our post season evaluations that I feel like will help us there. 

What You’re Missing…

Join X&O Labs’ Insiders, an exclusive membership-based website, and you’ll get instant access to the full-length version of this report—including access to everything X&O Labs has ever published. Plus, if you join today, you’ll also receive up to 4 FREE books mailed directly to your home or office. Here’s just a small sample of what you’ll find in the full-length version of this report:

  • How Coach Ginn was able to keep his normal two-match pattern read coverages based on the location of the offset back.
  • What Coach Ginn did to predetermine the handoff in zone read from his Nickel package.
  • The coverage concepts Coach Ginn to and away from the back in 2x2 open sets.
  • Plus game film on these coverage concepts.

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The goal when we put this together was to give guys reading this article another possibility when preparing for the “Triple Option” concepts presented by Offenses who incorporate the Zone Read/Bubble.  This could even be a great option for those teams that incorporate their 3 step concepts to the Zone Read.  You are essentially forcing that QB to check to the pass, where you have guys manned up. You can incorporate gap exchange schemes, blitzes, pretty much anything you want to do with your front 7 guys, while still staying simple and balanced on the back end. 

I want to again thank Mike Kuchar and Sam Nichols with X&O Labs for what they do to elevate the level of learning for us football coaches. This is a wonderful tool for any football coach at any level. I also want to share my contact information and twitter handle as I’m always open to questions or just talking ball in general. Maybe you have another way to defend this type of offense and would love to share ideas with me.

Meet Coach Ginn: Joe just completed his 8th year at Choctaw. This was his 3rd at Choctaw Coaching Linebackers and Coordinating the Defensive Fronts, Joe has also spent 2 years as the Offensive Coordinator and Receivers Coach at Choctaw High School. Prior to serving his role as Offensive Coordinator, Joe spent 3 seasons Coaching Receivers at Choctaw. Before coming to Choctaw, Joe Spent 4 seasons (2004-2008) as Defensive Coordinator at Tecumseh High School (Tecumseh, OK.) Joe played 1 year of College Football at Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS; and 3 years of Football at East Central University in Ada, OK.



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