Oct 13, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison during the third quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Playbook X's & O's -- Lets Talk Defending Option Football

Posted at 12:00pm — 11/12/2012

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Playbook X’s & O’s — Lets Talk Defending Option Football

With Northwestern and Air Force giving Michigan some problems with the option I thought we would talk about ways to defend it. Especially with Coach Meyer being one of the best option coaches around.

Defending the option is 100% assignment football. You have a defender assigned to each phase of the option. Like linebacker on dive back, defensive end on quarterback, and outside linebacker on pitch.

Problem is if you don’t switch up your assignments you make life extremely easy on the quarterback. So what teams will do is mix it up or change assignments, putting different defenders on each phase.

I have teams use gap responsibility to decide assignments. One of personal favorites is to put the defensive end on the dive back, that is running some sort of stunt to take the defensive end on an aggressive angle move and get him to the mesh point.

The point where the quarterback has the ball in the first phases stomach. This forces the quarterback to make a quick decision and also tends to push the mesh point back into the backfield. I then like to scrape the inside linebacker and out him on the quarterback. The quarterback sees the defensive end crashing and thinks he has a free ride, and usually never sees the inside linebacker who has a chance to rearrange the quarterback’s brain cells.

I generally coach the defender with quarterback responsibility that if they take fifteen yards smoking the quarterback I will do the running for them. I want the quarterback punished each time they run option. I will also switch up on the pitch man. I can play two and have cornerback on him. You can invert and have cornerback run with wide receiver and let safety fill the alley.

One of my personal favorites is to NUT or KNOT Inside and force the first phase, the dive back to bounce.

This gives you an idea of some of the possibilities. key here is switching up, without confusing your defenders. Because one mistake vs. a good option team can be six points.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — CoachBT

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