The latest trend from offensive coordinators is finding the hybrid Y/H that can line-up virtually any and everywhere to keep the defense guessing. Having defensive backs that can complement the overhang both in run and pass concepts may be the difference for success of the defense.
By Adam Harvey
Defensive Backs Coach/Special Teams Co-Coordinator
Cibolo Steele High School (TX)
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The latest trend from offensive coordinators’ perspective is finding the hybrid Y/H that can line-up virtually any and everywhere to keep the defense guessing. The players who can line-up as an offset FB (H), Off Y, On Y, and slot have given defensive coaches headaches in matching personnel especially when there are no substitutions. Regardless of the front, having an overhang that can account for the flex player is important. Having defensive backs that can complement the overhang both in run and pass concepts may be the difference for success of the defense. In this report, I will discuss our reads versus the Y, off Y, and H from the DB position, particularly safety because we are primarily either spinning or keeping two on the roof based on the alignment of the flex player. For identification purposes, I will refer to this player as the flex throughout this report.
20 Personnel (Flex is aligned as RB/FB/H)
Teams that stay in a 20 personnel look will align the flex inside the tackle box. We have played this similar to a three-man surface keeping our backers inside and adjusting in the back end. We are a press 2 scheme by design and want to stay in our base if possible vs 2 back sets. If the flex is aligned as an H, whether on the strong or weak side of the formation, we will generally align to him. With the game plan in mind, many times it will depend on the talent level of the outside WR and the slot to the twin’s side. The skill of those players determines how much attention we can give the flex. In this report, we illustrate how we align vs split backfield, strong flex, and weak flex. As we get into the coaching points, please keep in mind, all of our variations are game planned and we will keep our alignment consistent but change responsibilities as the strength of offenses change from opponent to opponent. At the end of the day, the teams that can show similar alignment, yet run different concepts to confuse the opposition are those who will come out on top usually.
FLEX STRONG: With Power, GT, and Wham schemes reigning as the go-to with 20 personnel, we like to play either press 2 or quarters to this formation. However, we will also spin the safety to the flex side if we feel the offense will run power or a wide zone play. With our front seven often in an under front, we will spin the safety to get a closer force, fit inside with the Mike and Sam and put the backside safety on the roof. The coverage becomes Sky 3. If we remain in two-high, we are either playing quarters to get both safeties involved in the run fits (force) or two and have the corners play press and force. We have also played some man free to the look with the same idea of spinning the safety on the flex side to make it look like sky, but we remain in a cover one concept.
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- What he trains his safeties to read post-snap from a two-high alignment.
- Why keeping both safeties in a two-high alignment slows the QB read on RPOs.
- How Coach Harvey handles the backside pop pass from 2x2 off alignments while adding an extra run fitter to the formation strength.
- How Coach Harvey mixes half and quarters coverage concepts to defend true split back RPOs.
- Why integrating Odd fronts vs. 11/20 personnel groupings helps in slowing down tempo teams.
- The distinction Coach Harvey makes in defending Y attached formations, from both 2x2 and 3x1 structures.
- Plus, game film on all these concepts
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In closing the use of the flex position has been an asset to offenses with the rise of RPOs. With different looks from the defensive coaches, we can slow this fad just as well. It is essential to remain unpredictable no matter if you mix zone coverages, toss a man concept in here and there to keep quarterbacks honest, or even play with split coverages on occasion. If you have any ideas or any suggestions based on what you have read, I would love to discuss. Please reach out and let’s talk ball. Thank you for reading!
Meet Coach Harvey: Coach Harvey has been at Cibolo Steele for five seasons. During that span, the Knights have played 74 ball games reaching the state quarterfinals twice, the state semi-finals twice, and the state championship once. Steele has seen five division 1 defensive backs sign during that span and currently have three DBs with division 1 offers. Coach Harvey is also the Head Track and Field Coach for the Knights.