Because of the leverage on the middle backer this defense loans itself to being a great defense to run the triple against. As a rule we will pound the triple to the field as log as we can block run support and/or control him with play action pass.
With the 4i we will start off with our loop scheme. Initially, we handled this defense as an even defense but two problems occurred with our labels and their interpetation into our positional rules as they apply. The first is that in our triple, we would bump off the nose and the lber would have to be blocked by the tackle. It is safe to say, as the only second level support the defense has the lber is running over the top and can be treated as such. By treating it as an 50, our guard now goes directly to the backer. (note: we step playside foot and go to where the lber is going.) Also as we will see later the odd call allows us to run midline and midline triple without fudging any rules. This would not be available in the Even calls.
In essence, we have leverage on the backer AND free safety with the tackle and guard. We can handle everybody. Theoretically, with leverage on the lber and the guard stepping placed, we should pin the lber every time allowing the tackle to go straight to the free. It is a great play. If the free is running the alley the SS must account for the HB running vertically and is usually deeper. With the arc block the HB is running away from the free safety so if he is playing the HB vertically he must play flatter and slower and doesn't become a really alley threat. (Note: I've seen teams play this defense with deeper SS ala 5 across in order to handle the HB vertically. ) See fig 1 (The play action pass off this is a killer!)
If the SS is deep enough we can switch block taking the pitch further away from the free safety. See fig.2. This also sets up the wheel.
If there is a problem with handling the perimeter we can go end over. This defense is usually a match up type defense and will flip the corners over. (see fig 3 ) They like to do this to keep the three safeties in the same configuration.
You can see in these looks that the remaining DB /SS to the short side is really in a bind to play the arc and covering the HB deep on the play pass.
If they do not flip the will either bring the safety over (fig 4 we have a blocker for him.) or bing the SS out (fig 5) this softens up the flank, makes the HB block easier) and makes the threat of the inside receiver going vertical a threat. (we can easily make him eligible)
Finally if the Strong Safety fudges and does not cover #2. We will throw the quick screen to #1 (fig.6) if #2 is ineligible. Or the bubble if #2 is eligible. Both of these set up 2 on 1 fast breaks.
With middle to backside pursuit usually stopping homers in the option, you can see that against this defense running the loop scheme allows for big plays because of the ability to get the tackle downfield. It should be number one against this defense and run with the placation pass till they stop it. All other plays, as we will show in later articles, should come off it.
In part C we will deal with running the midline tuck and the midline triple. Why and how?