Michigan Football: Playbook X's and O's -- Defensive Fronts and Techniques

Posted at 6:00am — 2/27/2008

Michigan Football: Playbook X’s and O’s — Defensive Fronts and Techniques

How will the Defense work or and what to look for:
There has been a buzz with information since Michigan is looking at playing more press or tight coverage with their corner-backs. Question becomes how the rest of the defense will play and the effect of the corner-back out on an island while much will depend on what defense played.

Playing press coverage will have different effect depending on what personnel is on the field. Press in 4-3 will have different effect than press in 3-3. Reason for this is match up on slots will be different if you have nickel in game, than if you are in base and have weak side linebacker paying slot. I sure all of us still shutter at sight of Chris Graham lining up over Ohio State’s Anthony Gonzalez.

Basic tenet is you can play any defense coverage out of press you could play out of soft coverage. Only difference is you are giving your underneath people time to help in under coverage. You are also giving your blitzer and front four time to get heat on quarterback. First thing press coverage does is change the quarterback read, and effect the hot wide receiver’s. So out of press coverage you can play man, man under deep zone, and even still play 3 deep. Many Tampa 2 teams play press and then sit the corner-backs in the flat. One of biggest things you need to do in press coverage is make sure your under people, safeties, linebacker’s, or nickel to reroute slots. If they do not do this, and inside wide receivers/slots can attack safeties without impediment, they will put a stress on the defense that will be tough to overcome.

Defensive Fronts:
There are two generally accepted numbering systems used to align Defensive fronts. First is simple. Each player/position in the front-lines up in a 1, 2, or a 3 technique on his assigned defender. 1 tech means inside shade, 2 tech is head up, and 3 tech is outside shade. By inside shade, I mean line up on shoulder of defender closest, by outside shade I mean shoulder furthest from the ball. This scheme not used much any more. The second method numbers the alignments from 1 to 9, with each number telling the defender which offensive player to line up on, and in what technique.

0 tech is head up on the center.
1 tech is either inside shade of offensive guard, or outside shade of offensive center.
2 tech is head up on offensive guard. 3 tech is outside shade of offensive guard.
4 tech is gap between offensive tackle and offensive guard, or inside shade of offensive tackle.
5 tech is head up, or outside eye of offensive tackle.
6 tech is gap between offensive tackle and tight end.
7 tech is inside shade of tight end.
8 tech is head up on tight end.
In addition, 9 tech is outside shade of tight end. There are as always-slight variations on these alignments.

Even Fronts:
In the 4-3, 4-2, or other even front the defensive tackles in base lineup in 2 techs, or head up on offensive guards. Defensive end to the strong side/tight end side will play either a 7, 8, or 9 technique. Defensive end quick side, away from the tight end. Will play either 5 or 6 tech on the offensive tackle. Some teams will use the wide side of field for calls instead of tight end. One basic variation, which some teams actually use as their base to stem or shift the defensive tackles to strong side. This puts defensive tackle to strong side in 3 tech, and defensive tackle to quick side in1 tech. 1 tech defensive tackle is sometimes called a nose tackle.

Odd fronts:
In 3-4, 3-3, or other odd fronts, the alignment is similar. Your nose tackle will generally line up in 0 tech. They will from time to time stem to shift into a 1 tech. Moreover, even go step further and actually tilt directly towards the center. The defensive tackles/defensive ends will play in either 5 or 6 techs. There are many variations.

This might confuse people more and this could raise more questions. Therefore, if you have any questions please e-mail us and we will try and answer them. It is just difficult when you do not have specifics, down and distance along with the situation a defense might be in during a game.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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