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By Vince Luvara, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach, Washington & Jefferson College (PA)

There are many things to think about when game-planning against an opponent. Here are the questions we ask when making our defensive game plan.

By Vince Luvara
Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
Twitter: @Coach_Luvara

 

 

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At Washington & Jefferson we are a 3-4 multiple front quarters team.  We are not a heavy pressure team; in 2019 we blitzed at 25% clip for the entire year.  We believe in having as many tools in our toolbox so we can adapt to whatever type of offense we are seeing week to week.  We have 20 different fronts we can use: both 4 and 3-man fronts.  We use 4 different versions of Quarters, five different versions of Cover 2, four different versions of Cover 3, two different versions of Cover 1, two different versions of 2-Man and 17 different 3x1 adjustment.  While we might not install everything in camp, we feel it is necessary to have these options when the situation presents itself.

 

Essential Questions

There are many things to think about when game-planning against an opponent.  Here are the questions we ask when making our defensive game plan.

  1. Who are their key players and what do we need to emphasize to be successful?
  2. What do we need to do vs trips and empty?
  3. Do they run unbalanced, is it end over unbalanced or true unbalanced?
  4. How are we getting off the field on 3rd down?
  5. What does the offense like in the Red Zone?
  6. How are we handling Wildcat?

 

Key Players / Emphasis

The first thing we look at is what did we do well last week and what didn't we do well.  Most offensive coordinators will try to attack your weakness, so the first thing we do is come up with a way to improve what we did poorly the week before.  For example, if we felt our tackling was poor the previous week, we might hit our tackle circuit double.  Or if we felt we didn't handle a route combination well we will go over it in an extra half-field coverage period

Then we look at who is their go-to skill guy and what do they do well and what don't they do well.  For example, does a QB escape to one side better than the other, if so, we will try to flush him to that side.  Do they have a higher percentage of times they are throwing to a certain guy in critical situations?  What is their go-to run play?

To do this we might decide we are going to double team a certain guy or on passing, situations run a twist or pressure from one side of an opponent's formation or only on a certain hash.  It might be we are running gap scheme movements this week as opposed to our zone scheme movements.

 

 

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  • How Coach Luvara designs his game planning process to defend 3x1 formations.
  • How Coach Luvara designs his game planning process to defend third downs.
  • How Coach Luvara designs his game planning process to defend Empty formations.
  • How Coach Luvara designs his game planning process to defend the Red Zone.
  • How Coach Luvara designs his game planning process to defend Wildcat formations.

 

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Conclusion

We come up with this plan off our scouting report we create off our Hudl reports. Another thing we do that is a little unique, I do not script our team periods. Our Assistant Coaches script the team periods plays and they just tell me the Down and Distance with the Personnel and I call the periods off the call sheet I create on Monday. I feel this gives me a better feel about how the offensive coordinator is going to call the plays on Saturday. It allows us to take stuff out of the game plan that doesn't look good and not get caught running it on Saturday. Also, I am so familiar with the game plan on Saturday that it is very rare if I look at my call sheet, I have the thing memorized by gameday.

 

 

Meet Coach Vince Luvara: Vince Luvara has been the Defensive Coordinator at W&J for four seasons (37-8, 2 NCAA Playoff Appearances, 2 ECAC Bowl Victories). He has previously coached at Misericordia University and Allegheny College. This past season Coach Luvara's defense finished 2019 finished #23 Nationally in Scoring Defense (16.1) and #41 in Total Defense (297.6). They finished Nationally #2 in Sacks (4.27), #7 in Tackles for Loss (9.1), #3 in Turnovers (34), #2 in Fumbles Recovered (16), #10 in Interceptions (18), #6 in 3rd Down Defense (25%), #9 in Red Zone Defense (52%), #64 in Rushing Defense (114.9), #57 in Passing Yards Allowed (182.7) and #12 in Defensive Touchdowns (4).

 

 

 

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