By Adam Hovorka
X&O Labs Managing Editor
with BJ Hammer
Head Football Coach/Defensive Coordinator
Bowdoin College (ME)
Coach Hammer utilizes what he calls a 2-4-5 defense. Even though he mixes in 4-man and 3-man fronts he is playing with only two traditional down-lineman on the field. This was born of necessity as it is tough to recruit Defensive Lineman at the DIII level. This is also true at the high school level and playing this style of defense will get your better athletes on the field.
Coach Hammer, the Head Football Coach and Defensive Coordinator for Bowdoin College, says his defensive philosophy is based on three components:
1) Get the ball back to the offense by forcing turnovers or getting three and outs.
2) Stopping the run by forcing all runs to bounce to the outside by mixing fronts, stunts, coverages, blitzes, and emphasizing run fits, tackling and pursuit.
3) Pressuring the Quarterback by bringing 5,6,7 and 7+ form all different angles and paying attention to blitz fits. Attacking protections from the inside out and bluffing pressure. Coach Hammer and Bowdoin want to force their opponents to make mistakes and feel by bringing pressure this will force the opponent into mistakes.
The focus of this report is Coach Hammer’s Texas pressure family, which is a pressure characterized by sending six defenders, with the ability to send three A-Gap rushers and play Cover 5 (Hot Coverage) behind it.
Look at the following chart to see what Coach Hammer names his position and the qualities he is looking for in those positions.
|R||Traditional 3 Tech – DT|
|E||Traditional 3 Tech – DT|
|H||Strong Side Hybrid OLB - Looking for a 3-4 OLB type|
|V||Weak Side Hybrid OLB – Looking for a 3-4 OLB type|
|W||Weak Side ILB – More of a down-hill run stopper|
|M||Strong Side ILB – Bigger FS type|
|S||Strong Safety –Run Stopper and Ability to play the Post|
|FS||Weak Safety – Run Stopper and Ability to play the Post|
Coach Hammer uses wrist coaches to communicate his blitzes and feels that enables his guys to be comfortable in their assignments. Coach Hammer will call pressures to the open side (away from TE), to the TE, from the field or boundary, and to the RB and away from the RB. A key component of this pressure family is the fact that it will not change based on the offensive formation or motion. Coach feels strongly that if calls pressure he wants that specific pressure and doesn’t want to check out of it. The only check they will need to make is if the offense comes out in empty. Coach Hammer will have specific pressures that the players will check to just for empty. Coach Hamer will go into a game with two or three pressure checks for empty along with some form of drop 8 coverage.