Army’s Two-Gap Technique to Defend Zone Runs

Feb 22, 2016 | Front, Defense, Odd Front Structures

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar


Editor’s Note: This research was conducted as part of special report on “Odd Front vs. the Run Game,” see below for details…


This is a technique used by Army defensive coordinator Jay Bateman 50 percent of the time in base situations, mainly when the back is set away to the side of the open side end. It’s a technique used when the defensive end is working with a linebacker to defend two gaps. It eliminates the ball hitting on a linebacker or safety. “If we play Robber defense, where we get speed receivers to the field, we will have the defensive end play both B gap and C gap because we don’t want that safety being the only player to play the C gap,” said Coach Bateman. “The Mike and Will can play a backside gap (Diagram 4). If the offense is in a gun formation with the back away from me, I’m a kill player. I will go up and under on that offensive tackle. It’s a jab step and come underneath. It’s a two-inch step. I just want the line to come with me. When they can’t use another blocker on you in a two-man surface, we know where the back is coming from based on everything else we know. If the zone is coming to me, I may take an up field step and then come underneath.”