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By Adam Hovorka with Rob Everett, Former Defensive Coordinator, Bridgewater College (VA)

What started out as a game plan adjustment against flex bone option offenses (the corners support helped on the perimeter) has morphed into an every down defense for the Eagles this season.

By Adam Hovorka with Rob Everett
Former Defensive Coordinator
Bridgewater College (VA)
Twitter: @nineinthebox

 

 

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Editor’s Note: Coach Everett uses several play simulations in this report. More information on these products can be found at Go Army Edge.

 

 

Defending the modern spread offense has become increasingly more difficult as offenses continue to stress defenses with RPOs, option run game, QB designated run game and shifting/motioning. Defenses have had to counter and recent adjustments for many coaches is the Odd Front robber looks that are being played by Iowa State courtesy of Coach Campbell and Coach Heacock. If you think only the Big 12 has these defensive challenges, you couldn’t be more wrong. High school defensive coordinators, and small college coaches around the country, are continually searching for answers to the riddle that is the RPO and spread game. For Coach Rob Everett, former DC of Bridgewater College and currently a defensive staff member of Coach Mike Singletary's Memphis Express of the AAF; the answer was and is to play odd front robber.

 

Advantages of Dime Robber Package:

  • Allows for 50/34 defense to stay in its base personnel
  • Play a version of two high coverages
  • Account for two overhang players
  • Adding a middle of the field third level player to help in coverage and more importantly an extra hat in the run game

 

At Bridgewater College, Coach Everett’s odd robber package held offenses to 3.1 yards per attempt and was 60% efficient (65% when blitzing). Most importantly, his system allowed his players to line up fast and play aggressive because he was utilizing it with his base quarters personnel. This defense helped Bridgewater to a 6-4 2018 record and their middle linebacker won Defensive Player of the year in their conference.

 

Adjusting to Base Defense

Bridgewater College is a quarters outfit by trade, so this was not anything different, it was just deploying people in a different fashion. So, they played it on all downs. The thing Coach Everett likes the most about it is that you get a four-man rush (with the late inserting Mike) and because of the front, pass protection is forced into a full slide or big on big with bad leverage. In addition, the middle hole Robber plays as the “number three relater” that the Mike normally does but he is a better athlete and "closes" the middle of the field because they play match coverage enough. It may not be a great answer against 22 personnel because, like in most odd defenses, speed personnel have to match with bigger offensive linemen.

 

Base Personnel and Alignments:

Below are the base personnel he’ll use with this package:

 

Nose: O-technique defender

Tackles: Two 4i-technique defenders

Mike LB: 10-technique defender; 3 yards off the ball (tighter than normal alignment)

Whip: Field overhang, apex end man on line of scrimmage and number two receiver

Backer: Boundary overhang defender; apex end man on line of scrimmage and number two defender.

Bronco: The “robber” (called Bronco in this defense)

Free Safety: 10 yards over #2 to the field

Rover: 10 yards over #2 to the boundary

Corners: 8 yards over #1 receiver

 

Below are the alignments based on common offensive formations. It’s important to note that a “loose” call tells the Backer and Whip to get depth off the line of scrimmage. A pure Bronco call will put the Whip and Backer closer to the line of scrimmage.

 

Bronco Loose Vs. 2x2 Open

Diagram 1

 

Bronco vs. 2x2 Open

Diagram 2

 

Bronco Loose vs. 2x2 Y Off

Diagram 3

 

Bronco vs. 3x1

Diagram 4

 

Bronco Loose vs. 3x1 Y Off

Diagram 5

 

Bronco Loose vs. 2x1

Diagram 6

 

Bronco vs. Wing Alignment

Diagram 7

 

Bronco vs. Wing Twins

Diagram 8

 

Bronco Loose vs. Bunch Formations

Diagram 9

 

Bronco Loose vs. FIB (formation into boundary)

Diagram 10

 

Bronco Loose vs. Stack Formation

Diagram 11

 

 

 

Continue to the full-length version of this report...

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  • The role and reads of the Robber (Bronco) in this defense including his run fit rules and coverage responsibilities.
  • The base coverage checks Coach Everett uses in this defense against the following formation types: 2x2, 3x1, 2x1 and Empty.
  • The “3 Rat” and “9 Rat” coverage package he will use against 20/11 personnel Y off teams to defend split zone and split zone RPO packages.
  • The “Box” and “Triangle” coverage package he will use to defend heavier personnel groupings and four man surface formations.
  • The two types of pressure packages he will use to complement these coverages.
  • Plus, game film on all these coverage and pressure concepts from the Dime Robber.

 

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Conclusion

Playing Odd Robber is more than just a new phase that teams in the Big 12 are doing to combat high powered spread offenses. This is an easy adjustment for any coach at any level of football to install while using your base personnel. Coach Everett has shown how easy it can be installed from your base odd looks. The ease of the install combined with the fact the defense plays with two 3-techniques, two overhangs, two deep safeties, and middle field third-level robber makes it very successful.

 

 

 

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