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Creating a System of Pressure Disguise Protocols

Feb 26, 2018 | Defense, Communication, Game Planning

By Bobby Peters 
Contributing Writer 
X&O Labs 
Twitter: @b_peters12 

Introduction 

In the modern era of no-huddle offenses, coupled with look tempo, it has become necessary for defensive coordinators to disguise their pressure patterns pre-snap as to not tip off the quarterback or coaches in the other press box. It almost becomes necessary to have a system in place where defenders on the back end do not give away any pressure indicators. But how they disguise their pressures must fit within their system. There are techniques behind these movements and the slightest hint of poor eye discipline or false movement can trigger the offense and result in surrendering potential big plays.  We reached out to several defensive coordinators, both at the high school and college level, to ask them how they disguise their pressure concepts as to not tip off the offense and asked the following four questions: 

  1. What coaching points do you use to instruct your cornerbacks to vary their disguise in corner pressure, trap coverage and cloud coverage as it pertains to the following: QB cadence, offensive formation structure and field location (boundary/hash)? 
  2. What coaching points do you use to instruct your safeties to vary their disguise in transitioning from MFO (middle field open) to MFC (middle field closed) pressure concepts as it pertains to the following: QB cadence, offensive formation structure and field location (boundary/hash)?  
  3. What coaching points do you use to instruct your second level defenders to vary their disguise between showing (mugging) pressure and bailing out as it pertains to the following: QB cadence and pass protection indicators?  Provide a specific example of how you will check your pressure against look tempo teams? How do you double call your pressure? Will you have an auto check opposite? Do you pair your pressure packages each week based on game plan? 

Their anonymous responses are below:  

Question: 

What coaching points do you use to instruct your cornerbacks to vary their disguise in corner pressure, trap coverage and cloud coverage as it pertains to the following: QB cadence, offensive formation structure and field location (boundary/hash)? 

Responses:  

“As a pressure defense that does a lot of pre-snap rotation, at the snap we have a general rule of trying to show a s much two-high as possible and trigger as late as we can to affect not just the look we give the QB but also to hide our force and alley players in the run game. We also like rotation on the back end because it gets our guys playing faster and not having to react from a static position.” 

“We use two triggers in all of our pre-snap movements dependent upon if the quarterback is in gun or under center. In terms of corner pressure, most QBs either under center or in gun will check both sides of the formation to identify the alignment of the corners and if the outside receiver is on the line or not. We show a pressed quarters look every play pre-snap so our trigger for our corner pressure (boundary only) is either when the QB looks away or when his head gets even. In the Gun we tend to show coverage and pressure when the QBs hands come together, obviously to accept the snap. If the quarterback bluffs and looks to the sideline we reset.” 

“Against trips to the field we may have a situation where the Corner wants to bail a little sooner if the offense likes number two on the out or wheel and we are in our cloud/read two scheme. We want to try to stay pressed as long as we can though, to maybe invite a check to a fade, especially on the backside of trips where we usually are playing some sort of invert coverage or a bail to 3 deep.”