Defending Unconventional Offenses Case 3: Movements & Pressures to Attack Run Concepts

Feb 18, 2015 | Defense, Game Planning, Defending Specific Offensive Systems and Concepts

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


Movements to Defend Wing T Run Concepts:

There seems to be conflicting opinions on whether or not to move the defensive front post-snap when defending the Wing T. According to our research, 49 percent of coaches choose not to move their front post-snap when defending the Wing T run game. While 35 percent will continually move their front and 16 percent will only stunt with motion.


Movements in Four Down Fronts:

Sparta High School, a perennial public school powerhouse in New Jersey has had success defending Wing T run game from its 4-2-5 front by mixing in several post-snap run movements by its first level defenders. On almost every play, Defensive Coordinator Christopher Kappelmeier will make sure one or more of his defensive linemen will be stunting into the adjacent gap or across the face of the offensive man and he’ll teach the proper stunt technique early in the preseason and practiced regularly. Many of them are gap exchanges which include second level linebackers as well.

“The linebackers need to know which gaps the defensive linemen are stunting into at all times because they will need to fit those gaps that are opened by stunting linemen should the flow head in that direction,” said Kappelmeier. “By moving our defensive linemen and linebackers on most plays, we make it very difficult for offensive linemen to execute their blocking schemes, particularly man or gap blocking schemes like the Wing-T.

“At Sparta when we practice our gap exchanges we do it during the inside run period. It is vital that the stunting linemen and linebackers be able to read and react while moving. Defensive linemen learn by repetition to read the offensive linemen toward whom they are stunting. Linebackers learn by repetition how to fit open gaps and not get caught between stunting defensive linemen. We have found that the movement of the defensive front, even if it doesn’t seem to be fundamentally sound on paper, very often creates situations in which defenders are totally unblocked and in position to make big plays. Pre-snap we try to look the same every play. The only player who may need to change his alignment is the nose. If he is stunting into the B gap, he aligns in a 2i-technique. This does not telegraph his intention to stunt because that is his alignment in the tight G front which is used often.”

Movements defending Strong Side Run Game:

One of the more frequent movements Kappelmeier will use against the Wing T is his “Tag” stunt (Slide 78). It is a single tackle stunt highly effective against the fullback trap. It is also very useful against many other Wing T plays because it gets the defensive tackle moving toward the halfback, which is the direction of a many wing T running plays. “The movement of the tackle, across the guard’s face, makes it almost impossible for the guard to cut him off. If the guard is pulling away, the tackle can jump in his pocket and follow him right to the ball carrier. This technique makes it very tough for the offensive center assigned to block back on the defensive tackle.”


Kappelmeier will use his “Spike” movement (Slide 79) against the strong side Wing T run game. “The normal technique of the defensive end is to read the movement of the offensive tackle. Because so many of the Wing T plays involve the offensive tackle down blocking on the 3-technique, the defensive end will be bending inside often. However, stunting the defensive end inside the tight end on the snap eliminates any possibility of getting washed down inside. The proper technique will put the defensive end into the path of the pulling guards on the buck sweep, belly down, power, and strong side waggle. Keep in mind that the base defense uses linebacker type athletes at the defensive end positions. They are expected to be quick enough to avoid the down block of the tight end when they stunt inside.”


To defend buck sweep, Kappelmeier will use his “Silver” movement (Slide 80). “After several stunting inside or bending with the movement of the offensive tackles, the aggressive up the field movement of the defensive ends provides a change up in technique and discourages the tight end from anticipating the inside movement of the defensive ends.”


“Aim” (Slide 81) is a movement that is highly effective against the fullback trap. “The tackle stunts across the face of the guard into the A-gap allowing him to blow up the trapping guard and force the fullback to bounce outside. The Sam linebacker will quickly fit the B gap when reads flow because he is aware that his tackle has closed the A gap.”