"bastardized" looks and concepts I faced while I ran this offense and the wing-t. The objective of the notebook was to get my thoughts down right after the game and have definite approach in handling these defenses if they come up again. Here lies the key - have an idea before you go into a game. You can only get this if you study other peoples tapes, TV games, and go to every defensive clinic on defending the flexbone. (no matter how stupid it sounds!) Many of the defenses in the book I had never seen against me but had watch other team play it or heard about it through my talks with other coaches or at clinics. That way I was ahead of the game. I had the answers for the surprise!
Here are my basic rules for handling these types of looks:
- Have plan ahead of time. Don't be surprised and grab bagging.
- Find the simplest way to make the defense fit into your system. We are talking about surprises here so you have to be quick and simple and CLEAR in your communication! It is better to fudge the defense into your system then come up with a complicated explanation and game plan in the immediacy of the game. Remember by nature they only had one week to practice something new. Use your advantage to make it something you practiced every week. Something your kids know and are confident with.
- Limit what you run to those plays that take advantage of the weakness of the defense (and by very definition these defenses have severe deficiencies.) and fits in the best with your offensive structure. You may have to let ego go and throw out that great gameplay you developed for the other teams base defense. You may not be able to run what you would like to run or that new shiny adjustment you practiced all week. But you will have success.
BASTARD DEFENSE NUMBER 1 - The 5-1-5
There are a number of ways to get into this defense from various fronts (4-4, 3-5-3, 5-2, etc.) but it is one that if you run this offense enough - you will see! It comes in two forms.
Figure 1A has the expanded version with 4i's (some people play 4's and pinch B) and figure 1B has the compressed version with both tackles in 3's or b-gap alignment.
There are a couple of notes and similarities as well as differences
- While the nose may be shaded, for the sake of these articles, we will consider him a zero technique. This plus the zero technique linebacker make this a balance defense with 5 1/2 man to each side. Since we are mirroring both sides we would be inclined to run to the field. (They may combine and have one side as a seven man front and the other as a reduced defense. In that case our notes will point to the exact side and be different to each.) (NOTE: In a later article we will approach the same defense with a shaded nose as this changes things dramatically.)
- In fig 1A with the front expanded both sides it appears to be a seven man flank. #3 is outside. However one mistake I made when playing this defense the first time is that I considered it an even front due to the middle lber. This caused the elimination of many calls and too much fudging an others. We'll get into that later.
- In fig 1B with the front condensed, both sides are reduced because #3 is inside.
- In both cases due to the single linebacker they have reduced their second level defenders from the inside out. We must assume they are running the free safety through the alley to match numbers which means that the wr are one on one with either match up zone or man to man. If they keep the safety in the middle - strike up the band!)
- There is a huge difference in fig 1B if the guards are in the gap or in 3 techniques. It greatly affects blocking schemes and will address that.
- In fig 1A they have expanded the front to match numbers on the perimeter. By doing this, although technically gap sound, they are giving a large area for two players to handle. If the Lber is a runner, as most single lbers are, you can isolate the nose making him defend two gaps.
- If you add a tightend, usually both defenses with play a seven technique, allowing you to leverage the whole defensive interior. (same with tackle over) If the play a 9 they are opening up the C-gap. Remember with two on two gaps inside you can isolate the d-gap if exposed. The same is true for tackle over teams. More on this later.
- For sake of simplicity, we will no worry if the defensive ends are up or down. That doesn't matter
Now that we have the base structure of these defenses down, in our next article we will start by attacking Fig 1A simply and by rule without changing anything for the qb or the team from our base offense and offensive tags. You will also see why we treat this as an ODD defense and not the "Even" look our count system would demand. (If you are not familiar with our defensive structure, calls, and tags you can read it in an earlier post.)