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By: Mike Talbot

Defensive Coordinator

Bishop Manogue Catholic "Miners" High School (NV)

As most coaches know, we are the best thieves in the world. We tend to steal most ideas and then either rename, add, or change just a little bit to make the idea ours. The same is true with the "Miner" blitz that I am going to discuss here. The genesis of this concept came from an article I had read a number of years ago about a blitz/pressure that the then current defensive coordinator of the University of South Florida had written about. We took the general concept of the blitz/pressure and adapted it to our front, terminology, and concept.

The "Miner" blitz is a pressure that we will run in most passing situations, but have also run the pressure in run down situations we generally try to run this blitz when the pass/run ratio is roughly 65/35. The goal with this pressure is just that, to create pressure and force the ball out of the opposing quarterback before he wants to throw it. We really do not count on this a sack or casino style blitz which is to send all available defenders with zero deep coverage.  Depending on the formation this could be 6,7,or 8 man pressure, essentially you are rolling the dice.

We are a 3-4 base team (Diagram 1) but will run the "Miner" blitz out of any of our odd or even fronts. We are not a field or boundary team as far as moving players. We will however flip safeties depending on our game plan, or our opponent’s personnel.  In years past, we have switched our safeties if we have a safety that is a little bit better at defending the run (i.e more of a linebacker type) vs. our other safety that may be better in coverage against run heavy teams primarily to the tight end surface. But for the purpose of this blitz we may only switch if we have it game planned to do so, which creates a consistency with our defense that an O coordinator may look for. We really want to show everything the same whether we are blitzing or not.  This blitz creates a tremendous amount of stress on the edge, and puts us in a real sound position to defend screen/draw.

The "Miner" blitz is a 4-man pressure (diagram 2) we will also game plan to add the 5th rusher on a "hug" basis.  We would either drop the Nose out to cover the backer hugging up to the back or we would have the Nose bull rush and have the Mike or the Sam check crosser first then "hug" up to the RB. This year we have seen a lot of occasions where the back would check the inside backer and then curl over the ball. We may have our Mike or Sam play it this way if we are getting a lot of perimeter routes without crossers and the back curls over the ball. As a base rule for this blitz we typically keep the Nose as the spy and have the Mike and Sam wall #2 or #3 depending on the formation.

The coverage for this blitz is cover 2. The two ILB’s are to wall off #2 or #3. The NG is the short hole dropper and is responsible for screen/draw. His technique is one of two things:

1.  He will execute a two step rush then drop to roughly LOS level looking for screen or draw.

2.  He will drive up field to side of the back and then proceed to "hug up" to the back.

We do have certain rules where we can invert the coverage or will go to a Tampa 2.   If we get an empty set we will either check out of the blitz or go to a Tampa 2 coverage where we will drop the Mike backer in the deep middle hole and the Sam backer will have the short middle towards the 3 receiver side and we will have the Nose work towards the 2 receiver surface while still spying the QB.

We believe in a couple of real movement or non-movement concepts within this blitz. The first concept is the movement concept in which we will stem the front, typically out of bear front (Diagram 3) to our odd front or from an even front to the odd front.

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Miner Blitz Rules:

Now we have gone through the alignments we will go over what the "Miner" blitz assignments are:

Nose Guard: Two step to center and then drop to low hole looking for screen/draw or crossers: Hug-push hard up field to running back –blanket back.

DT: On snap drive hard into B gap working through shoulder of the offensive tackle to the near hip of the guard, hold the B gap if getting doubled or washed take a knee and make a pile.

ILB: Read pass or run. If run to your side fit to C gap, if run away fit to A gap away for cutback: If pass-look immediately to wall off #2 or #3.  Do not allow any crosser by keeping leverage.

OLB’s: Contain as an edge rusher.  The movement concept will have you going towards the QB on snap make sure you use your eyes EMOL to near back.  If no backs cross your face, we take all backs with us to the QB.  In the Walk concept you need to look like they are re-routing their alignment and on snap same responsibility of contain not letting any back cross their face.

Corners: Do not let receiver get outside release, funnel all releases inside then get eyes inside to read run or pass, flat defender.

Safeties: Deep halves coverage. Don’t bail too fast, at the same time make sure you can get to your deep half of the field. Nothing should be deeper than you.

Lastly if a team comes out in empty (or motions to it) we will do the following things depending on who we are playing:

1. Check to man coverage on the 2 surface side with the OLB going with motion and replacing with the ILB.  If they align in empty and we do not check out or go to a Tampa 2 coverage we will "lock" the 2 surface side (Diagram 8).

This would be "truly" game planned.  The nose get the "Spy" call along with the Sam backer and they spy QB.

2.  We may also make an automatic to "Rob" the Strong Safety.  I still like to remain in the blitz but this needs to be practiced.  This would be the second adjustment against the empty set. The Strong Safety reads #2 to #3 to see if any hot route and "robs" down to that route. We teach him if he is "robbing" from depth that he is flat foot defender without any backpedal and play what you see (i.e. have some football savvy) and make sure that when you go you take a good angle(Diagram 9 is below).

How Do You Blitz the Spread?

Have questions about Coach Talbott's concepts?  Want to share what you do to stress spread teams?  Tell is us the comments section below.



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