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Linebacking the Wing-T red motion threat.

How Bandit, Sam, and Will read and react to the wing in motion plays

High school defensive football coaches have one of the toughest jobs in sports. In a typical season at Sevier County H.S., for example, we are called upon to defense the Power I, the Split-Back Veer, the Run and Shoot, the Pro Offense, and three very good Wing-T offenses.

The "red motion" series has been called the heart and soul of the Wing-T, and we feel that any time we can stop or slow down this series, we will have a legitimate chance of defeating the offense.

All defenses must start with an intimate knowledge of the key offensive sets they will be called upon to stop and the key defensive personnel who will be called upon to do it.

Our focus here will be the three linebackers in our base 4-3. We teach assignment football against the Wing-T, just as we do vs the option offense.

For example, against the potent Wing-T 20 series ("red motion") we have personnel responsible for the trap, other personnel for the sweep, and one, two players responsible for the QB keeper.

The players must trust their keys implicitly. We stress the need to focus on the keys and not get mesmerized by all the flow and counter-flow of the Wing-T.

Diag. 1, Red Motion, Attack Areas: Just as we do in our preparation against option teams, we run the Wing-T plays against our defense in various drills without a football.

One of the keys in stopping this offense lies in having as much carryover as possible from your basic reads and schemes. We teach our linebackers to "key your back, but see the guard out of the bottom of your eyes."

Though we are a multiple 4-3 defense with quarters (four across) coverage, we play man coverage vs the Wing-T.

Diag. 2, Alignment & Reads: Our three linebackers set up five yards deep on alignment.

Bandit, our C gap player, reads daylight.

Sam is the middle linebacker.

Will aligns to the weak side in a 40.

On "red motion," Bandit keys the strong guard, Sam the fullback, and Will the tailback. Bandit ignores the FB, while Sam and Will ignore the guards.

Bandit Reads: Diag. 3, Read on Red Waggle. If the front guard pulls toward Bandit, Bandit becomes a run-through player for the waggle. Bandit must find a seam and take it to the QB, trying to beat the backside guard's block. If the end does his job and pulls the QB up, Bandit hits inside. If the end is logged and the QB is outside containment, Bandit plays over the top for second contain.

Diag. 4, Bandit Read on Trap/Sweep: If the guard pulls away, B plays trap to sweep.

Diag. 5, Bandit Read on TB Counter: If the playside guard pass-sets, B has broad-side fill. If our strong tackle plays it correctly, he will spill the play to bandit. If the OT blocks out on Bandit, he must hold leverage.

Bandit Read on Tackle Trap: If the near-guard down-blocks, B will back-side fill. It's okay for B to play over the top (in B gap) for the spill-out of the trap by the 3 technique. If the QB takes the ball off the line, B must gain depth and look for crossers.

Diag. 6, Sam's Reads: Sam keys the FB and is coached to tackle him on red waggle. (The Trap and read waggle will have the same look to Sam.)

If Sam tackles the FB, it eliminates him from the pattern - reducing this pattern to a three-man instead of a four-man pattern. Tackling the FB allows our strong corner to afford under help to our strong safety on the TE's corner route.

Sam vs the Trap: Sam will be unblocked on the red trap. If the FB goes away, Sam will eye the TB - a carryover from our split-back read. The TB will tell Sam the play. If the TB doesn't attack the LOS or if he rock-steps, Sam will look for the Counter/Tackle Trap. If the TB attacks the LOS, Sam will play inside-out for the iso, option, or sweep. (Diag. 5 shows him doing this.)

If the QB takes the ball to the second level, Sam will get deep, looking for crossers.

Diag. 7, Will's Reads: If the TB attacks the LOS, Will will match his angle for the iso, sweep, or option, as shown in the diagram.

If Will reads belly keep pass, he may take a chance and shoot for the interception, since the free safety is over the top of the fullback. (See Diag. 8).

The key to this defensive scheme is to prepare systematically with as much carryover as possible from your normal reads, and then practice the scheme periodically throughout the entire training period, including the off-season.

The coach must avoid overwhelming and frustrating the players by waiting for game week to prepare for the Wing-T. This blueprint will give the players the necessary tools with which to give the Wing-T offense a heart Attack.
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Author:Ratledge, Kenny
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Aug 1, 1999
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