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Installing the Bear or 46 defense from the 3-3.

After several years of mediocrity at Sevier County H.S. the coaching staff decided to shake things up.

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One of the first changes was to switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-3-5. It was a winner. We went 9-3 and finished second defensively in our conference with a 175.5 yards allowed per game average, surrendering only 9 points per game, and leading our region in run defense.

Highlight: Sevier County High held the conference champions to 77 total yards and held the #1 offense in the conference to a field goal.

Even though we abandoned the 4-3 for the 3-3-5, we kept a few things from the 4-3 playbook. One of the major things was the Bear or 46 defense. It had been very good to us in the past and we couldn't see abandoning it.

Diag. 1 illustrates our old 4-3 look and Diag. 2 shows what happened when we shifted into the 46 look. Following is an overview of 4-3 personnel.

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4-3 PERSONNEL

* S- Stud (end)

* T- Tackle

* N- Nose

* E- End

* B- Bandit (Strong Outside Linebacker)

* M- Mike (Middle LB)

* W- Will (Weak Outside LB)

* SS- Strong Safety

* FS- Free Safety

* C- Corners

Diag, 3 shows the base 3-3 alignment and Diag. 4 the Bear look in the 3-3. Included is a compendium of 3-3 personnel.

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* S- Stud (end)

* N- Nose

* E- End

* B- Bandit

* M- Mike

* W- Will

* D- Dog

* R- Rover

* FS- Free Safety

* C- Corners

COVER RULES FOR THE 3-3 INCLUDE:

* Corners- #1 man to man

* Dog- #2 man to man

* Rover- # 2 man-to-man motion. Adjuster vs two back motion

* Mike- #3 man to man

* Bandit- Edge Rusher

* Will- Edge Rusher

* Free Safety-Hole. Spin to #3 on any 3X1 formation

Diags. 5 through 10 show some basic formations with defensive reactions.

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As we learned more about the 3-3, and as we evolved defensively, we discovered it was much easier to get into the Bear from the 3-3, and that the 3-3 had many inherent advantages over the 4-3.

THOSE ADVANTAGES INCLUDE:

* A better athlete is on the tight end. The 4-3 look required an outside linebacker to cover the end. The 3-3 uses a defensive back on the tight end.

* The 3-3 allows the defense to declare to the numbers. The 4-3 required the defense to declare to the tight end.

* Alignment rules are easier. If an athlete can count to three, he can get lined up. Corners don't have to cross the formation to match up with receivers.

Should a coach choose to match up, he can do so but isn't required to do so as a basic rule.

* The Mike stays on the strong side in the 3-3 as opposed to sliding to the weak side in a 4-3 configuration.

* A three-deep zone, out of the Bears look, can be incorporated in the 3-3. The defense gives the illusion of pressure with man free coverage, but in reality, it is a three-man rush with eight defenders dropping into a three- deep zone.

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BEARS COMBO

Years ago, when we first started using the Bear look, the defender responsible for the tight end would walk down and play tight man to man coverage from a 7 technique.

Diag. 11 illustrates this. We found there were many inherent disadvantages to playing a 7 technique. Many years, we didn't have the personnel to play this technique and enough quality practice time was just too hard to find. We have now gone to lining up the defender on the tight end at a three to four yard cushion.

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The problem with this alignment is that it is sometimes hard to tell if the tight end is blocking inside or running a drag route. This angle, by the tight end, puts the defender in a quandary.

The problem has been solved by using a combo technique on the tight end. Combo is a read by the defender covering the tight end and the Free Safety. The assigned defender will take the end man to man on any outside or vertical routes with the Free Safety working to the hole.

Diag. 12 shows this. Should the tight end block, the defender will fit where needed and the Free Safety will run the alley. Diag. 13 exhibits this. On inside cuts, the Free Safety takes the tight end man to man with the original defender working under the dig route. Diag. 14 shows this.

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SPIN

When the defense is confronted by 3X1 formations, the Free Safety will give a "spin" call to the Rover. The Free Safety will take the #3 man to man while the Rover replaces him in the hole. This adjustment keeps us from having to assign Mike to #3, which could result in a defensive mismatch, or bringing Rover across the formation to man up on #3. Diags. 8 and 9 illustrate the spin call.

By Kenny Ratledge, Defensive Coordinator, Sevierville (TN) County H.S.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:FOOTBALL
Author:Ratledge, Kenny
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:853
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