By Mike Nahum
Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach
David W. Butler High School (NC)
As a Base 4-2-5 defense, we utilize 4 down linemen, 2 linebackers, 3 safeties and 2 cornerbacks. Our front six is set separately from our back five. This simplifies the teaching to our players with the use of half-line drills. Since the ball is on the hash at least 80% of the time or more in high school, we focus on teaching from the hash the majority of the time. Our defense is field/boundary based since we declare passing strength to the field the majority of the time.
We base out of Blue coverage (Quarters concept) using split field principles. Blue coverage is a pattern match defense, which allows your players to play zone coverage with match man principles based on the route distributions. This coverage easily adjusts to handle multiple formations/motions. It allows us to handle 4 verticals and gets us in a 9-man front vs. 21P and an 8-man front vs. 20P. It also allows us to stay in safety force concepts, which simplifies our teaching as well.
For the purpose of this report, I will discuss our Blue coverage vs. 10P 2x2, 3x1 and 11P 2x2, 3x1.
20P 2x1 and Empty 3x2.
Terminology is the biggest obstacle to learning. I will simply explain our defensive terminology.
BC: Boundary Corner, Buck: Boundary Inside Linebacker, BS: Boundary Safety. These 3 players line up to the boundary/away from the passing strength.
FC: Field Corner, Mike: Field Inside Linebacker, Rover: Field Low Safety, FS: Field High Safety. These 4 players line up to the field/to the passing strength.
When the ball is in the MOF, FS declares rip/liz to the passing strength side of the formation based on the # of skill receivers.
Blue Coverage vs. 10P 2x2, 11P 2x2
Against 2 detached receivers to the field, we will play read coverage as a standard check out of Blue. FC will align with divider rules 1x7 inside leverage of #1. Our FS will align with divider rules 1x10 inside leverage of #2. Our Rover will align by game plan, but generally inside leverage of #2 at 5-7 yards deep. Mike will gap align to the field. FC/FS read the release of #2. If #2 is out before the Rover then the FC will leverage #2 and break on him when the ball is delivered. The FS will flat foot read and open to #1. The FS will gain depth and play curl/dig/post of #2. If #2/#1 are vertical past the Rover, the FS/FC lock on man. If #2 is in before the Rover, the FS will shuffle and rob the direction #2 went. The Rover will wall #2 and play #3 to the flat. The Rover is the force player. The Mike is a wall #3/MV#3 player in 2x2. He will always open to #3 and he is a spill player.
Against a pro-set to the Boundary, we will play Lock coverage as a standard check out of Blue. BC will align with divider rules 1x7 Inside Leverage of #1. The BC will play all of #1 except the shallow cross. The BS will align 2x7 outside leverage of an attached #2. The BS will play all of #2 except the shallow cross. The BS is the force player. The Buck is a Wall #2/#3 to the Flat player. The Mike is a wall #3/MV#3 player in 2x2. He will always open to #3 and he is a spill player.