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By Ed Raby, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties, SUNY Morrisville (NY)

In this report, Coach Raby reveals his weak side overload fire zone pressure that he runs out of his base 4-2-5 defense called “Waco.” Waco comes from the boundary using our boundary corner and Will LB.

By Ed Raby
Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
SUNY Morrisville (NY)
Twitter: @CoachRabyJr

 

 

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One of the biggest issues in the 4-2-5 defense is blitz angles. Particularly when blitzing from the weak side; you are presented with numerous issues in terms of angles that your players will have to blitz from. In this article we will look at our weak side overload fire zone pressure that we run out of our base 4-2-5 defense called “Waco.” Waco comes from the boundary using our boundary corner and Will LB. In this fire zone we will cut the Mike to cover the weak side for coverage; and drop our strong side DE in the hole. In order to help with the back in coverage we will peel our corner on the blitz. We will also discuss our “Switch” call when presented with 2 quick receiving threats to the boundary.

In addition to discussing the specifics of this weak side pressure we will dive into a couple of different items as well.

  • What situations we are looking to use this pressure in
  • The specific defensive line and linebacker teaching points of the blitz
  • Coverage rules and teaching points for this pressure

 

The Scheme:

As I discussed above, blitzing from the weak side out of the 4-2-5 can become problematic, because the angles are not as good as some other defensive alignments.  When you start talking overload blitzes on the weak side with the 4-2-5 it can be even more challenging because of coverage. When we came up with this pressure, we had 3 goals in mind:

  • Design a weak side overload blitz that could be disguised out of our base look
  • Design a weak side overload blitz that could be used as 3 under 3 deep fire zone option
  • Design a weak side overload blitz that would be effective against both run and pass

 

In order to accomplish all three goals, we came up with our Waco blitz. In this blitz the defensive line will stunt strong. Typically, we will run this out of a Field Over front, but we can go with a Bench front and change up the DT’s stunt responsibilities if we want. Most teams in even fronts will marry this with the 2 under 3 deep coverage that has become popular over the last few years. We wanted a way to stay in 3 under 3 deep coverage but keep the blitz pattern. We will drop our strong DE to the hole and have our Mike LB cut to the weak side when he reads pass to accomplish this. The Mike would have a hard time covering the back if he flared; so, we have the corner peel on the blitz. This has the added benefit of helping vs option to the boundary as well.

Diagram 1

 

The Blitz Path:

Now let’s look at the blitz path of both the Corner and Will LB. For the Corner we want him to make sure he understands that his alignment must not tip off his intentions. Looking like our base is important in order to have the element of surprise. We tell our corner to align in his normal open stance at 5 yards or in a press alignment with inside leverage; depending on how much we are pressing that game. On the snap of the ball he should blitz off the edge aiming for the near shoulder of either the RB or the QB depending on which one is closest to him. He is the force player in this particular blitz, so he must match that shoulder at all time. In pass he will be the weak side contain player. If the back flares weak than the corner must run with him (this is the peel portion of the blitz). The Will is what we call a B Gap read blitzer. He is going to blitz the B Gap on the snap of the ball reading the OT to determine his path. Like the DL long stick technique, we will tell him to execute a face to butt read on the OT. If the OT blocks down on the stunting DE, the Will wants to fit tight off the outside shoulder of the OT; vs run he must spill all other blocks that could show up. If the OT works outside, he will fit tight off the inside shoulder of the OT to fill B Gap.

 

The Coverage:

As noted before we will use a 3 under 3 deep coverage behind the blitz. Our FS, which we play to the boundary, will play the Deep 1/3 to the boundary, because the corner is blitzing, he must split #1 and end man on the line of scrimmage at 12 yards depth for his alignment. Our SS to the field will rotate to the middle 1/3, and our Corner to the field will be the Deep 1/3 to the field. Our deep outside third players are always secondary support against run. The middle 1/3 player will be our alley defender against all runs. Underneath our Sam will play what is called Control #2. This plays like a traditional Curl to Flat drop. The Sam is the force player to the field against any run play. Our Hawk DE once getting a pass read will be the hole player.  The Mike will cut to the weak side vs pass. He must get flat initially or he will not be able cover crossers/slants by #1. We tell him to look for the crossing or slant routes first; if no crossers then key QB intentions and sink to the weak Curl area. In the run game the Mike will match the path of the back with an inside out fit. The Sam will play cutback with flow away, and our blitzing Will acts as the cutback player to the weak side.

 

Coaching Points:

With each blitz there are coaching points on all 3 levels; the DL, blitzers, and cover guys. Below I list the most common items we coach up on this pressure.

 

Defensive Line Movement:

  • On the long stick we stress to the DL that the first step must be lateral and quick in order to be able to execute the face to butt read on the offensive linemen.
  • The Hawk DE must be coached hard on the fact that he cannot just drop on the snap of the ball. That settle step outside is crucial for defending the run game to the strong side.
  • The tackle must work to contain on all pass plays. An easy win inside is not an excuse. There is a ton of field out there. Against this blitz the QB should be scrambling strong in any scramble situations. We always tell him to get outside of the OT vs pass no matter what.

 

 

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  • The settle step technique of the field side defensive end to either be a fold defender vs. runs and the hole dropper vs. pass.
  • The dual read technique of the Will linebacker which can provide advantages in multiple pass protection schemes.
  • Vital coaching points on timing for the pressure defenders and drop technique of the coverage defenders
  • Coach Raby’s “Switch call” variation to keep the concept effective against two quick receiving threats to the weak side of the formation.
  • When and why to call this pressure concept.
  • Plus, raw and narrated game film of this concept.

 

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Conclusion

When running the 4-2-5 defense blitz angles can be a challenge. This becomes more apparent with weak side pressures; especially if you are looking to overload the weak side of the defense. The “Waco” blitz is a way to bring the weak side Corner and Will LB from your base look. This allows you to disguise your intentions; which is critical on early run downs. By dropping the strong side end you can maintain a 3 under 3 deep fire zone coverage. This blitz allows us to defend both the run and pass in a sound and aggressive manner.

 

 

Meet Coach Ed Raby: Ed Raby, Jr. joined the Morrisville State football coaching staff as the defensive coordinator in the spring of 2017.Raby came to Morrisville State from Allegheny College where he served in various roles for three seasons from 2014 to 2017 which included: Special Teams Coordinator, Defensive Line, and Linebackers. Prior to his stint with the Gators, Raby served on the coaching staff at Alfred University as the defensive line coach and tight ends coach.

 

 

 

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