At the tail end of our 2019 season, three-high safety defense became our base vs. 10 personnel and Bracket was our answer against our opponents’ best receiving threat.
By Jacob Gill
Shiloh Christian School (AR)
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As you break down your opponents every weekend you start to see trends, concepts, and preferences from your opponent that you know you’re going to have to defend in the week to come. One of the hardest match-ups to equalize is when your opponent has a “go-to” receiver and they go to him… a lot. It’s hard to defend people who have an explosive player and even harder to do when they know how to get him the ball and they consciously find ways to get him touches. At times we will all play someone who has this type of player and will need to find solutions within our schemes that allow us to successfully defend this player without compromising the integrity of our scheme. In 2019 we saw a few of these players and this is how we bracketed those players.
At Shiloh Christian, we base out of 4 down / even spacing concepts but get to 3 down / odd spacing concepts quite often. Additionally, in the past few years, we've added to our 3 down concepts by using a 3-safety structure as well. We’ve modeled a lot of what we do based on what Iowa State has made popular in recent years and what one of my mentors, Adam Gaylor (@CoachAdamGaylor), has run successfully everywhere he's been. We normally prefer this structure in long yardage, end of the half, and 2-minute situations, but at the tail end of our 2019 season, this became a base of sorts when we would play teams that majored in 10 personnel sets. From this came the need to figure out a way to be able to bracket another team's best-receiving threat and still play good defense with our other 9 players. Here is how we used this concept in our second-round playoff game this year.
We checked the front based on the offensive formation. If the bracket was to any 3 WR or 1 WR formation we were going to play our version of the “TITE” or “MINT” front (4i / SHADE / 4i). If the offense lined up in 2 WR formation to the side of the bracket we wanted to play outside leverage on the #2 wide receiver to the side of the bracket so we were going to play a shade/5 to the side of the bracket and a 4i on the backside. So, we gave a single front call with this coverage concept and our linebackers checked the front based on where the bracket was and how many other receivers were on that side.
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In this game alone we ended up running this scheme 20 times. The opposing Quarterback was 3/13 for 27 yards and 1 Interception. Our opponent rushed 7 times for 2 yards against this look. It wasn’t perfect but we kept working on it and it became another tool in our belt throughout the playoffs. We knew were facing a really good Wide Receiver and wanted to find a way to bracket him while still using coverage concepts our kids were familiar with.
Meet Coach Jacob Gill: Coach Gill has been the Defensive Coordinator at Shiloh Christian School located in Springdale, Arkansas for the past three seasons. The Saints were State Semi-Finalist in 2018 and State Runners-Up in 2019. In the past 2 seasons, the Saints Defense has been top 5 in the state of Arkansas in Sacks and Interceptions and has allowed an average of 13.6 points per game. Coach Gill had previous coaching stops at Springdale High School (AR), Siloam Springs High School (AR), and Olathe Northwest (KS). He is married to his wife, Kala, and they have three sons: Colson, Keegan, and Cannon.