By Ben Bullock
Mount Dora High School (FL)
At Mount Dora High School, our base defense is a 3-4 quarters system. We believe the 3-4 is a perfect fit for us based on several reasons, chief among them being that this three down system perfectly fits our personnel. Typically, we have many more linebackers and safety type players than defensive linemen. In addition to the way the concept fits our players, we also have found that the 3-4 allows for seamless adaptation to any offensive formation/scheme without forcing us to change our fundamentals. Much of this change starts with the safeties and the rules that we have in place to keep them in the right place be it run or pass.
Our base coverage is a quarters system with half field support calls. The base coverage is built to aggressively stop the run while matching any passing concepts especially play-action. The coverage allows our safeties to be the 8th or 9th player in the box while supporting the point of attack. We make our support calls based on half field formations. The safeties are only concerned with the surface on their half of the field. Our basic defensive alignment is shown below (diagram 1).
The entire defense aligns to a field call which we refer to as the hawk call. The safeties look at the surface and make the appropriate support call which is communicated to their half of the defense. The base support for a tight end/wide receiver surface is called READ and the support for twins is called FLIP. We will discuss the safeties responsibilities for each support.