Quincy University's Attacking 4-2-5 Defense - Keith ?? AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 • Keith Allen Defensive Coordinator Quincy University Quincy, Ill. Quincy University’s Attacking 4-2-5 Defense Diagram 1 Diagram 2

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  • I n the 2001 season, our defense had 92tackle for loss, 32 sacks and 28turnovers with the attacking style 4-2-5defense. We use this 4-2-5 defense for fivebasic reasons.

    1. It fits our personnel. At our level it isdifficult to find a true Mike linebacker andtwo good outside linebackers, but it is a lit-tle easier to find a strong safety and weaksafety position and two inside linebackers.

    2. It allows us to adjust quickly and eas-ily to multiple formations and/or motionsthat the offense can show.

    3 . The five secondary defense alsoallows us to give the illusion of having 8-9guys in the box on the quarterbacks pre-snap read.

    4. It puts more speed on the field to helpagainst todays spread offense.

    5. It allows us to put more players in athreat position (or a position to blitz from).

    In this article we will discuss our basealignments and our combination blitz pack-age with man and zone coverage con-cepts. Keep in mind that our blitzing philos-ophy is that the threat of the blitz in moredangerous than the blitz itself, so ourdefense will continually stem and movearound on the field to keep the offense offbalance.

    Base AlignmentIn our scheme, the front six (four down

    linemen and the two inside linebackers)always set to the run strength (tight endside) denoted by the Mike linebacker with arip/liz call and our back five (secondary) setto the passing strength (most quick receiv-er side) denoted by the strong safety with a

    right/left call. Setting the front and backindependently allows us to call the bestfront and stunt to stop the run and the bestcoverage to defend the pass.

    Against a base 21 personnel (two backsone tight end) as seen in Diagram 1, ourmike linebacker will set the front with a Lizcall setting the weak end to a five tech-nique (outside shade of the tackle), nose toa 2I technique (inside shade of the guard),tackle to a three technique (outside shadeof the guard) and our strong end to a seventechnique (inside shade of the tight end).We will align our linebackers using a pointsystem. They begin in a stack alignmentbehind the defensive tackles and thencount the three closest eligible men to thequarterback. In this case, the two backsand the tight end. If the backs are stackedbehind the quarterback each backerassigns him 1/2 point, if a man is set tostrong side completely the M assigns himone point, if a man is set to the other sidethe B assigns him one point. In any case,there will never be more than a total ofthree points assigned. In this formation theM has two points (FB- 1/2 TB- 1/2 TE- 1)and the B has one point (FB- 1/2 TB- 1/2 ).Our rules are simple.If the M has two pointsor more, he slides one big step to thestrength, otherwise he stays stacked. If theB has 1.5 points or more he slides one bigstep away from the strength, otherwise hestays stacked. So in this example the Bstays stacked and the M slides over (asseen in Diagram 2). We do this because wehave found it helps align our linebackers ina more of a power position and in scrapingover the top to make plays.

    Again in Diagram 1, our strong safetywill set the passing strength with a Left call.Our base rules for the alignment of thestrong safety and weak safety are two ydswide x seven yds deep of the end man onthe line (EMOL). Our free safety will align10-12 yards deep over the guard to thepassing strength and our corners will alignanywhere from six yards to a press align-ment, inside or outside shade of the widestreceiver. This base alignment will changeaccording to formations, opponent and ten-dencies.

    Now when the run strength and passingstrength are not the same we call this abastard set (Diagram 3). The M will setthe front with a Liz call. The front four willalign the same, but now the alignments ofthe inside linebackers are a little different.The M and B both have 1.5 points to their

    AFCA Summer Manual 2002

    Keith Allen

    Defensive Coordinator

    Quincy University

    Quincy, Ill.

    Quincy UniversitysAttacking 4-2-5 Defense

    Diagram 1

    Diagram 2

  • sides. So the mike linebacker will staystacked and the B will widen his alignmentby a step.

    The strong safety will set the passingstrength with a right call. The strong safetywill now play inside leverage of the No. 2receiver (slot) still about seven yds deep.The weak safety will play 2x7 off the tightend. The free safety will now get 12-14yards deep over the strong guard. The cor-ners will play same alignment as before.

    Blitz PackageWe feel that the toughest blitz for the

    offense to pick up is a blitz in which fourguys come to one side. When we call anoverload blitz (linebacker and safety to thesame side) we use the term dog (safetyoutside) or dig (safety inside). There are sixways we denote where the overload blitzwill come from. If we a concerned aboutblitzing in reference to the run strength wewill call thunder or lightning. T h u n d e rmeans to the tight end side (run strength)and lightning means to the split end side(away from the run strength). If we are con-cerned about blitzing with reference to thepassing strength we will call strong orWeak, for obvious reasons. If we are con-cerned about blitzing in reference to thefield or boundary we will call wide or short,wide meaning to the field and short mean-ing to the boundary. These six tags allow usto easily dictate where the blitz will comefrom and allows us to adjust our blitzes tothe different tendencies we will see in thecourse of a game and a season withouthaving to teach different blitzes or tech-niques.

    With each blitz we run we will have aman coverage and a zone coverage to playbehind it. In our man coverage (man cover-age blitzes are shown in diagrams 4-7), thecorner has No. 1 to their side, the free safe-ty has No. 2 to the blitz side, the safety notblitzing has No. 2 to their side and the line-backer has No. 3. The blitzing safety willpeel off any man crossing his face. Whenthe blitz is away from the tight end, the non-blitzing safety and linebacker will Banjo

    the tight end. This call means if the tightend releases out or vertical the safety willtaking him man to man and the linebackerwill take the back out of the backfield. If thetight end releases inside the linebacker willtake him man to man and the safety willtake the back out of the backfield, asshown in Diagrams 4 and 7. Again, we willstem our defensive backs to help disguisethe blitz and coverage on every play.

    In our zone coverage, we will call zoneheat. Heat tells our weak end to attack up-field three steps and drop 45(to thecurl/flat). Zone tells our free safety to makethe best coverage call for their alignment.In an odd set (2x1, 3x1) we will call Cover3 and roll one of the safeties into the strongcurl while the other plays a deep third. If itis an even set (2x2) we will call our Cover

    8, which is our 1/4s coverage- the twosafeties will play curl to 1/4 while the cornersplay deep 1/4 to 1/2. Our non blitzing line-backer will cover the quick hot and middle(this can be seen in Diagrams 8-11).

    Blitz TechniqueThe techniques for the dog blitzes are

    very simple and easy to coach. We teachour edge rusher to step to and rip tight tothe EMOL using speed to beat him. Weteach our ends to shortened the corner andattack the inside number of the EMOL. Thiscauses a 2-on-1 situation on the edge.After passing the EMOL, the edge rushernow attacks the outside number of thewidest and deepest threat- this puts him agreat situation to peel on a swing route andtake on a cut block. We teach them toattack this way because we feel it makes

    AFCA Summer Manual 2002

    Diagram 3Diagram 4

    Diagram 5

    Diagram 6

    Diagram 7

    Diagram 8

    Diagram 9

    Diagram 10

    Diagram 11

  • the runningback declare what he is going todo. If the runningback is going to block andgo, the attack of the edge rusher will slowhis release down tremendously. If the run-ningback is going to block, it allows theedge rusher great power to collapse thepocket and beat the block. The edge rush-ers aiming point on the quarterback is theback number. We use that as the aimingpoint for two reasons. That is the armwhere he is holding the ball, and if for somereason we do miss the sack- it should forcethe quarterback to step up into the pocketto the rest of the pressure.

    If the rusher aims for the upfield number,the quarterback may spin out and causethe defense to lose contain. We alwaysstrip the quarterback from top to bottom- ifthe quarterbacks back is to the rusher wewant him to club the back arm of the quar-terback with his outside hand to force aturnover and secure the tackle with theother hand. If the quarterback is facing therusher, they get their hands up, run throughthe quarterback, and strip him from top tobottom.

    We teach our inside linebackers twotechniques, a pause blitz and timing blitz.

    On a pause blitz we want the offensive lineto get engaged with the defensive linebefore they blitz. In this technique we aretrying to also get the runningback to stepout to protect the edge rusher, allowing anopen inside blitz. On a timing blitz we wantour linebackers to split the gap they areblitzing on the snap of the ball. In this tech-nique we are trying to force a quick pass,force to runningback to step up and blockto linebackers, or confuse the offensive lineby allowing someone to leak free.

    With the basic understanding of the dogblitzes and the techniques used, we caneasily incorporate our dig blitzes (Diagram12). The dig blitz allows us to adjust to ateam who has widened their splits or usestheir back to block the edge rusher. Wenow widen the defensive end and show anedge rush with the safety. On the snap ofthe ball our defensive end and safety rushoff the edge and the linebacker blitzesusing a paused technique, The safety- afterthree steps past the line of scrimmage, w