Complete Installation: The 9-Up Psycho Front

Dec 14, 2019 | Front, Defense, Amoeba Front Structures

By Clay Iverson
Defensive Backs Coach
Carroll University (WI)
Twitter: @CoachIverson



As always it is a pleasure to contribute to X and O Labs.  I know I speak for Coach Krzykowski and the rest of the Carroll University Football staff when I say our doors are always open to you and your program.  I am excited to share some coaching points and film on our “Psycho” package.  A scheme I have used for over a decade at multiple places.  It was a true pleasure working with the great defense staff at Carroll University to find ways to incorporate this grouping in the very tough CCIW Conference.  

When we refer to Psycho we are talking about leaving two defensive linemen on the field and bringing in nine LB’s and DB’s in some fashion, based of course on what our personnel allows.  We began using this, as you might imagine, as a 3rd down package or in end of game situations.  It has evolved, not to an every down defense, but as a great change up to confuse blocking rules, disguise pressure, change RPO and options reads, and to hide coverages.  Hopefully, you can use some of it in your defensive scheme.


Base Psycho Alignment

As in any defensive scheme (or any part of football) you want to make this look complicated for your opponent but easy for you.  I have coached out of a number of base defenses, such as the 3-3, 3-4, 4-2-5 and whenever installing Psycho we have kept our same coverage and block destruction rules.  I would recommend doing the same and then adding your bonus players in.  Here is how we have done it, but you can be creative, just be sound and do what you do best.  Below is the first install – we are rushing two, dropping 9.  After this goes in, we add different coverages and pressures that are already part of our base – this means limited learning and time for our players but gives offenses a totally different look.  As well as something else to prepare for.

Psycho Install – Psycho Cover 9 *note: players need stem around.  Be close to your alignment when the ball is snapped.  We call it cover 9 because we are dropping 9 in coverage vs pass.



Run Rules

Pass Rules


4 tech – head up (be ready for pinch call)

You are a B gap player, Squeeze all down blocks, play cut back on reach

You are a Heavy C-Gap rusher unless put in a jet call.  Do not worry about a screen or draw if you get pass set.


Zero Tech – 5 to 6 yards off the ball adjust based on D and D

Play Side A gap player to flow.  Read center’s block

Middle hole – Watch Draw, middle screen

Sam and Will

50 Tech – 5 Yards from the ball, adjust to D and D, follow our basic formation alignment rules

Run to: C to B gap – read OT to OG. 

Run away: Back side A to open window.  Can slow play for RPO

Curl Players – don’t drop to wide.  Wall middle. You are contain on QB. 

Rover and Nickel

3X5 off EMLOS, if there is #2 rec. follow alignment rules – inside eye at 5 yards to start.

Run to: Contain – set edge and turn everything back inside.  Outside arm and leg free.