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Box Run Fits in the Mint Front

Sep 10, 2021 | Front, Defense, Odd Front Structures

By Max Fransen
Defensive Coordinator and Inside Linebackers Coach
Herscher High School (IL)
Twitter: @TheFran54

 

 

Last year, like many high schools and colleges across the country, our program implemented the mint front into our defense as a result of the growing popularity of the spread offense.  As a first-year defensive coordinator, I was transitioning our team from a 4-man front to a 3-man front.  I like the Mint front because it only requires 3 defensive linemen.  As I coach at a small 3A school in rural Illinois, numbers, and size can be limited from year to year.  Other benefits of the mint front include the closed B-gaps, as well as the easy linebacker keys.

 

Nose Technique:

Starting in the center of our defense, the nose tackle lines up in a 0 (head up the center) and plays the “lag” technique.  Too often, interior defensive linemen can get washed down the line trying to cross face a lineman while attempting to maintain a gap.  The lag technique takes advantage of the center by allowing the nose to control the A-gap away from where the center steps.

 

If we are playing a gap-based scheme, the nose’s hand on the side of the running back should be down.  This allows the nose to get hands-on the center and prevent him from blocking back on one of the 4i's.  However, if we are playing a zone-based scheme, the nose’s hand opposite the running back should be down.  This allows the nose to get hands-on the center and prevent him from having a free release to the linebackers.  As the nose explodes out of his stance, he will naturally fit into the A-gap away from where the center steps.   While doing so, the nose should lock out and force the center’s body in the opposite A-gap, thus 2-gapping the A-gaps.