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Counter blast the 5-2 defense!

How the blast-counter blast took care of the 5-2 and its many slants and stunts

Ever sine the early 1950s, when the Oklahoma Sooners popularized the 5-2 defense, opponents have been attacking it with the isolation or blast play.

As shown in Diag. 1, the center and guards are responsible for the nose tackle and backside LB - a three-on-two matchup that can seal off a slant by the nose man or any stunt by the LB.

The strong tackle blocks the defensive tackle and a lane is opened between the "A" and "B" gaps. The fullback attacks the strong LB, while the tailback reads this block to get into the secondary.

Of course this will only happen if the FB is big enough and strong enough to handle the LB, especially since that LB will be flying into the backfield as soon as the guard blocks down.

Our early problem was that we wanted our FB to be a runner and receiver as well as a blocker, and such athletes were rarely big or strong enough to block a strong LB by themselves.

To solve this problem, we began zone-blocking the blast play, as shown in Diag. 2. As you can see, we were now able to block the LBs with guards and use our FB to either double-team the nose tackle or work his way to the next level.

Defenses countered by slanting [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAGRAM 3 OMITTED] or by stunting the backside LB [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE DIAGRAM 4 OMITTED]. This stunt, especially from the open-end side, made it very difficult to run the blast. It was now the backside LB who had a running start into the backfield. What we needed was a running play that looked like the blast, and then exploited the defense's reaction.

Enter the Counter Blast. It was shown to me two years ago by West Virginia assistant coach Dave Michaels, and it turned out to be the best running play I have seen since the Counter Trey! It not only proved to be an excellent way of attacking the 5-2, its presence made our blast play become more effective.

As shown in Diag. 5, the QB opens and gives to the TB exactly as he does on the blast play. The FB takes one step forward to influence the strong LBer and then veers toward the backside 'A' gap.

The strong guard steps down to the nose tackle and then backs out to pick up the strong LB who has read blast.

The nose guard, feeling the pressure of a double team, will fight back, allowing the center to block him alone.

The key to the play is the fan blocking of the backside guard and tackle. They seal off the defensive tackle and end coming upfield, creating a wide lane for our FB to attack the backside LB.

This LB will read into the backfield and scrape, expecting blast. Or he will read the fan block of the guard in front of him. Either way, he will be in a vulnerable position, allowing our FB to block him.

The combination of the blast/counter blast has provided us with an excellent way of attacking the 5-2 and its many slants and stunts.

Fred Ciampi, Football Coach, Lawrence H.S., Cedarhurst, NY
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Title Annotation:football
Author:Ciampi, Fred
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Apr 1, 1998
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