When you’re looking for answers to stop Air Raid offenses, defend RPOs, and to find ways to win 3rd down, see what this coaching staff did...
By Chris Bunting
Defensive Coordinator & Safeties
Millbrook High School (NC)
Insiders Members: Login here to access the full-length version of this report.
Here at Millbrook, when I was hired here, we transitioned away from a 4-2-5 look. We installed a 3-4 mostly due to a lack of quality depth at the defensive line. Our 2019 defensive line had 2 starters that weighed 205 or less. We also knew we would have a lot of “tweener” type guys. Our 3-4 has given us lots of answers, but not all that we need. When looking for answers to stop Air Raid offenses, defend RPO’s, and to find ways to win 3rd down, we looked at incorporating a 3 high safety package. Our Psycho package accounted for 25% of all calls in 2019 and we gave up almost 1 yard/play fewer than our base package calls. We used it predominantly for 2nd & long or 3rd down calls, though it can be far more than that. We used it as our primary package against an RPO-heavy conference opponent to limit the conference offensive player of the year at wide receiver. We also used it as a major part of our game plan against the eventual state runner-up in the highest classification in NC. We held that team, averaging 32 pts/game, to only 4 field goals. In this report, we will discuss our run fits out of the Psycho package.
Our goal when implementing our Psycho package is for simplicity to win out. We want to limit any new teaching that needs to occur. We want guys playing techniques they know and allow them to play fast. When we meet as a staff, I always ask position coaches how we can teach concepts with our terminology & minimize confusion. Because of our 3-4 structure, we only must teach one new position when we transition to our Psycho package- our Prowler (P) who replaces a linebacker. We use Hudl to share installs, we draw it up on the board in our Monday install meeting, and we include drawings in our scouting reports during the season. The only time investment we use on the field is during our group time (9 on 8 run period, ½ field pass, 7v7, etc.) or during team time.
We keep our run fits the same as our base defense when possible. Again, we want guys playing what they know and limiting over-thinking. We use our Prowler as the replacer when needed for overload pressures or sim pressures. Our Tite front was used on 56% of all calls out of our Psycho package, so, we will use that front when discussing how to defend RPO’s.
D- Devil is field side defensive end in a 4i. Responsible for strong side ‘B’ gap.
N- Nose either in a strong shade or 0 tech & slanting to the strength. Responsible for the strong side ‘A’ gap.
E- Edge is the boundary side defensive end in a 4i. Responsible for the weak-side ‘B’ gap.
W- Will linebacker is our plugger. Responsible for the weak-side ‘A’ gap.
S- Sam linebacker is our field-side overhang. Responsible for strong side ‘C’ gap and has seam/curl responsibilities in Cover 3. Force player with seam/curl responsibilities in Invert (Quarters).
J- Jack linebacker is our boundary side overhang. Responsible for the weak-side ‘C’ gap and has seam/curl responsibilities in Cover 3. Force player with seam/curl responsibilities in Invert (Quarters).
LC- Left corner, will know coverage from the nearest safety.
RC- Right corner, will know coverage from the nearest safety.
F- Free safety is our field-side safety. We will play the post in Cover 3. Communicates coverage to the nearest corner and makes all coverage checks.
R- Rover is our boundary safety. Communicates coverage to the nearest corner.
P- Prowler is our middle safety and is like our queen in chess. He is the RPO player for us and has the freedom to move around. He is the adjuster for trips checks and replaces linebackers on overload or sim pressures.
Continue to the full-length version of this report...
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:
- The 3-high pressure coverage variation which combines quarters coverage with an invert safety to defend quick RPO concepts.
- The overload pressure concept to the boundary while keeping the same Cover 3 fits to the field.
- The adjustable “Key” concept which keeps the Cover 3 shell, allowing the safety to the H to be the invert defender.
- Plus, raw and narrated game film of these concepts.
Join the Insiders today and get your FREE book(s)!
The numbers don’t lie for us. Using Hudl breakdown stats, we were 75% efficient on 3rd downs using our Psycho package. On those plays, we gave up an average of .54 yards/play. We were 89% efficient on 4th down in Psycho, giving up 1 total yard in 9 plays. We know we can’t play entire games in Psycho, but it has helped us tremendously in giving us a tool for the toolbox. We feel like there is so much to do out of this package and we're only scratching the surface after 2 years of running it. The package is also very useful against RPO teams. Please use it if it will help you. My only advice is to know your kids, know how to teach it, and make it work for your program. The only thing limiting us is our own creativity.
Meet Coach Chris Bunting: The Millbrook Wildcats welcomed Chris Bunting to the coaching staff in 2017. Chris is a former head coach with 19 years experience coaching high school football in NC and SC. He is also the Head Track Coach at Millbrook.