Teaching Plug, Crash, Nail and Rail Technique into Multiple 5-Man Pressure Patterns

Feb 8, 2021 | Defense, Pressure, 3-Deep 3-Under Zone Pressures

By Tom Elder
Defensive Coordinator
Wilkes University (PA)
Twitter: @coache57


Our defense and our defensive staff here at Wilkes University pride ourselves in our ability to be multiple on Saturday. At the end of the day, multiplicity is great, but if your players do not understand the concepts and are thinking too much, your multiplicity is a recipe for disaster. We focus ourselves on teaching on a three-tier system: mentality (culture and effort), technique, and then scheme.

The mentality is another conversation because, without the right mindset, the technique and scheme do not matter. Second, technique. If we can effectively teach our young men all the techniques to be successful, then we feel like we can have our young men understand the big picture when it comes to our scheme. To us, it is equally important for our players to understand all the details of a technique, as it is for them to understand the physical demands in performing said technique. In this way, we can then just drag and drop players and tell them what their overall technique will be on this call, and with that, they should know all the responsibilities included in that technique.

Our defense loves to pressure and move. Throughout the 2019 season, we brought pressure or some type of movement over 48% of our calls. Our goal is to do our best to put offenses into 2nd and long situations that will allow us as defensive play-callers to open our playbook and create big plays. Also, we want the ability to be creative with our pressures to attack what offenses do well.

When we call our pressures, we will generally run 3 under, 3 deep coverage behind. We feel that it matches up with our primary base cover 3 principles the most to ensure that (again) we are multiple, but we keep things simple for our players. To do that, we need to be very thorough in our teaching of both pressure techniques, movement techniques, and coverage responsibilities. Throughout this article, we will talk about how we define and teach our different types of pressures, movements, and coverages.



We first want to introduce our personnel, so you can get a better understanding of whom we are talking about with our film and diagrams. We are a multiple front defense, out of 3-4 personnel. Our personnel is as follows:

Bandit: Our field outside linebacker/strong safety

Read Linebacker: Our two inside linebackers are very interchangeable because when we flip our fronts, we also flip our linebackers. So, both ILBs need to be able to play in space

Kall Linebacker: The biggest difference with our ILBs is that when we are in our even front, the Kall is always to the side of the 3-tech. So with him being constantly covered, we like for that guy to be a little better in space since he needs to be able to run and play off spills

Quick: He is our boundary outside linebacker in our odd front and our stand-up end in our even front. He is a true outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid

End: Field end in our odd fronts, can be on either side in our even fronts

Nose: Our standard nose tackle

Tackle: Our boundary end in our odd front, and our 3-tech in our even

Hero: Field safety

Free Safety: Boundary safety

Field Corner / Boundary Corner