High Safety Inverts in Odd Spacing

Feb 2, 2024 | Front, Defense, Coverage, One High Coverage Structures, Odd Front Structures

By Mike Kuchar with Cody Baethke
Defensive Coordinator
Coe College (IA)
Twitter: @CodyBaethke



It was three years ago when Cody Baethke decided to incorporate interior drops from his safety who is responsible for playing hook defenders. But, it really took shape this season when Coe College boasted one of the top returning safeties in the country at the Division 3 level. So, Coach Baethke decided to get him tied into some box run fits at the second level. He termed it “Slip,” which tells the strong safety to insert “inside” to replace the blitzing linebacker. Most times it was the Mike who became the fourth rusher in Coe’s Odd front presentation.


At Coe, the safeties don’t flip. So a different call, say “Flip,” can be made to alert the Free Safety to replace the blitzing Will linebacker.


So, essentially the safety knows which is rotating down based on the call. “We tried to do more ‘Flip’ this season because our Will was the better blitzer of the two,” said Coach Baethke. “But we would billed it based on game plan as well against teams that used swipe concepts. So, we would call the backer away from the TE to do be the pressure defender and it worked well against those schemes.”


Front Movement:

The first level movement pattern consists of a cross dog between the Nose and blitzing linebacker. The Nose is responsible for “RAC-king” or ripping across the Center while the pressure defender (Mike or Will) works opposite him.


At times, Coe will move the Nose to A gap or just align him there. And in pass situations, it would make sense to keep the Nose away from the side of the pressure because it helps with pass rush integrity. Coe often plays with two 4i technique that are responsible for the B gap in the run game. If pass develops, they are asked to make the trip into the C gap for contain. Coach Baetke calls it a cross technique.


Naturally, the linebackers are given the freedom to read out of pressure against any pulls or keys way. This allows him to be an extra fitter to the side of the run.