By Phil Kleckler
Lindsey Wilson College (KY)
The game of football is constantly changing, and I think it’s important for coaches to always be committed to learning and growing. In today’s game, teams must defend a wide variety of offensive schemes, formations, and tempos. At Lindsey Wilson College, we are an aggressive, odd multiple fronts and coverage defense.
No matter how much the game is changing in terms of schematics, it still comes down to execution! As we look at offenses when we break down opponents, we usually find the most successful ones have very few plays and concepts that their players can fully execute and understand. They window dress their plays with formations and motions to make themselves look more versatile and different from their opponents. We take the same approach with our defense whether it's our base fronts and coverages or within our blitz packages. We make our scheme as simple as possible for our players to learn, so they can play fast and attack! We want our scheme to be annoying for an offense to prepare for by building in pre-snap movements and alignments. We work rigorously to prevent the offense from having a pre-snap advantage.
To put this idea into perspective, I will show you how we implement “Window Dressing” within our coverage packages. Our number one goal each week is to stop the run and make the team we are playing one dimensional. In order to do this, all eleven of our defenders must be committed to stopping the run. We will use our secondary to gain a numbers advantage in the run game. The backend of our defense learns three coverages, but we play many variations within those coverages that make us appear different to our opponents. I will describe how we implement our cover three package in our defense while keeping the teaching the same.
To keep things simple within this article I’ll explain all our cover three coverages from our base 3-4 front. We send in a menu of coverages with every call and it is up to our safeties to get us in the right coverage based on the formation we get. Based on that call the players know how to fit the run game including pullers, kickouts. Backers also know where to insert based on that call as well.
Nickel LB as Extra Fitter
We always begin on our install calendar by starting with our field cover three coverage using our field outside linebacker as the insert. The defensive line can be in the variety of shades we incorporate in our defense while our outside linebackers will “Yo-Yo” from the heels of the DL to the apex of the nearest WR. At the snap of the ball, our DL will take a 45-degree slant step to the boundary of their nearest gap. Our field OLB will aim for the end man of the line of scrimmage. We also can/will change responsibilities with the field DE and OLB to create gap exchanges for the OL to have to block. All of the slanting defensive linemen are aiming for the near hip of the OL they are slanting to and don’t look to get vertical until they have canceled their assigned gap. Our secondary will roll to the field strength with our strong safety being our field Seam / Curl / Under / Flat (SCUF) defender. Our SS is our primary force player to the field and all our box defenders are trying to make the ball bounce to him. Our field outside linebacker insert paired with our field version of cover three is good against perimeter run teams that run power read, outside zone and split zone.
To study game film of this concept, click on the video below:
Editor’s note: Coach Klecker has provided a clip by clip analysis of this playlist below.