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Multiple 4-3 linebacker gap responsibility. (Football).

SEVIER COUNTY EMPLOYS a multiple 4-3 defense that can declare the front with a myriad of designations: to or away from the short side, to the single-receiver side, to the two-receiver side, to a particular player, to the open end, or simply to the tight end side.

Our linemen operate with a run-and-read mentality. They run first and read second, and are responsible for one gap. They will squeeze down a gap vs a down block and become gap-and-a-half players vs a base block.

Our linebackers are responsible for two gaps. They have a particular assignment on flow to them and a different gap on flow away.

The key to multiple fronts lies in the ability of the linebackers to fill their assigned gap according to flow.

Our teaching progression makes it possible for us to play multiple fronts. We start by telling the linebackers that the ball can go only in one of two directions: to the right side or left of the center.

Diagram 1, Ball Flow:

We employ a three-linebacker look. B stands for Bandit, S signifies Sam, and W is Will. You can also see that flow to B and S is flow away for W.. By the same token, flow to Will is flow away for S and B. Flow away from W is flow to B and S.

The other diagrams include all three linebacking positions. However, unless a position or positions is germane to a particular section, they will have no movement. Unless you understand this concept, the following information might seem confusing.

If a linebacker is to the side of flow, he is "Playside." If the ball goes away from him, he is "Backside."

Diag. 2, Points of Attack:

We designate the points that our reads attack alphabetically. The four gaps to the tight end are A, B, C, and D. The three gaps a way from the tight end are A, B, and C.

Diag. 3, "A" Point Assignments (Bandit and Sam):

Sam (S)-Vertical

Bandit (B)--C gap, read daylight

Diag. 4, B, C, D Point Assignments (Bandit and Sam):

Sam (S)--Scrape

Bandit (B)--C gap, read daylight

Diag. 5, Will's A, B, C Point Assignments:

A Point--possible trap

B Point--plug, read daylight

C Point--scrape

The frontside concept is taught first. When the linebackers fully understand the terminology and assignments on flow to them we are then ready to move on to the concept of flow away or backside assignments.


Whenever a play goes away, our linebackers are taught to pick up a secondary key.

Vs the I formation, we pick up the off--area for counter type plays.

Vs split backs, we cue the off-side back.

On runs away, we tab the linebacker as either a "Backside Fill" (BSF) or "Free" player.

If there is no defensive lineman responsible for the backside A, the LB has BSF. He cannot cross the ball immediately.

If there is a backside lineman in A gap, the LB is "Free." He can immediately flow frontside.

If on flow away, there is a possibility of a cutback (A or B Point), we teach a "Physical Check."

The LB must physically get up into the gap.

If there is no cutback threat (C or D Point), the LB becomes a "Mental Check" player. He still has the same gap, but he does not have to physically get up into the gap. He can flatten out more quickly, but he must maintain inside-out tempo on the ball.


Diag. 6, Midline Assignments (Bandit and Sam):

Sam (S)--BSF Physical Check--possible trap

Bandit (B)--BSF Physical Check

Diag. 7, A/B Point Assignments (Bandit and Sam):

Sam (S)-Scrape

Bandit (B)--BSF Physical Check

Diag. 8, C Point Assignments (Bandit and Sam):

Sam (S)--Scrape

Bandit (B)--BSF Mental Check

The last teaching point in the progression involves the Will linebacker. He is coached on his reactions on plays away.

Diag. 9, A/B Point Assignments (Will):

Free with a Physical Check

Diag. 10, C/D Point Assignments (Will):

Free with a Mental Check

The preceding diagrams emanated from our Base 4-3 Front. Everything we do evolves from this front. Once the linebackers understand the theories of point of attack, backside fill, free, physical, and mental checks, they are ready to expand to other fronts.
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Article Details
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Author:Ratledge, Kenny
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2002
Previous Article:Components of a successful offense. (Volleyball).
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