Basically you will get three possible looks to a three man flank vs. a 4-3 and each has specific problems. (see fig 1, fig 2, and fig 3)In all three looks, we will consider the DT as the handoff key for the midline and the DE as the pitch key.
In figure #2 the problem is the DE has leverage between the the pitch key and the arc block.
In figure #3 it should be noted we usually see this with the coverage rotated away in some single high look. The problem is now two defenders outside the pitch key that must be accounted for. (this is not a real problem as the defense has become an eight man front for us (tackle empty) and we will block it as such. )
(I should address a question that keeps popping up since my last post. People ask how do the linemen know how and who to block? The answer is simple: the QB tells them by applying a tag. All the defensive looks are categorized from day one in a rote method for the quarterback. The above three fit into each of the three categories to a tightened / 3 man face flank. The quarterback will then, based on the package we call, either reinforce the tag called in the huddle or get them into the right one.
If you are interested in the classification system there is an earlier post on this blog.)
Midline Triple vs Fig 1.
In order to neutralize numbers we ask the inside tackle to read from one linebacker to the other. He will step playside foot, backside foot, playside foot. When his third step hits the ground if the lber isn't pressing him, he will plant, turn flat, and work back to the MLB. If the linebacker is pressing him he will block him.
The Tightend /tackle over will loop and block the stack to the mike to the near safety. If the backer over the tackle plugs usually the other is running over the top or vice versa.
Since we are pitching off the DE we feel he will definitely be a QB player and close. (We tell the tightened / tackle to split him out till he shades inside. That lets us leverage pitch off the Mike if we get both linebackers plugging inside.
Midline Triple to Fig 2
In fig two the result is easily gotten by hook the OLB with the TE / tackle over. The leverage he has is different from the quarterback outrunning the five technique since the ball if pitched wider and it becomes a toss sweep. Also we tell the Tightend he can over reach (very wide) since if the OLB goes underneath he will play the QB and his outside movement combined with the pitch makes for two ships passing in the night. If the TE whiffs outside he will work upfield not chase inside.
A note is that our inside tackle will, like the non- tightened flank, will only block the Mike if he attempts to run over the top. With the pitch key on his hip, we can leverage pitch off the scrape of the mike.
Midline Triple to Fig. 3
In figure #3, we basically treat it like an with man front. The tightened / outside tackle will arc for the deep third play (at least three steps of width to find the player.) In our unbalance formation this look allows the tightend / outside tackle to handle the free and get a hat on everybody.
Our Tackle only has the mike if he tries to get over the top.
A big factor in handling these situations is the play of the safety. On high school hashes he is usually further inside as the defense usually plays this in a cloud / cover two concept. On college hashes the divider for the safety is farther over making him more of a factor in the play. With college hashes I would only run it if the twirl motion forced a tilt from the near safety. (fig 7 and fig 8)