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The Shade 50 and Double Eagle defenses.

Playing two different fronts with the fewest adjustments for the players

It is extremely important for football players, especially defensive people, to be able to react to the offense without being overburdened with adjustments.

We want our players to adjust easily to the offense while being multiple enough to disrupt the blocking schemes. Moving or stemming from the Shade 50 to the Double Eagle and vice versa allows us to mix up our defensive looks with very little change from front to front. Our base coverage stays the same for both fronts as well.

As a 4-3 defense, we have in the past based out of the Shade 50. We occasionally lined up in the Double Eagle as a means of changing the look of our defensive front.

We have learned that with very few adjustments we can move back and forth, changing the alignment of our strong-side (tight-end side) personnel. This causes the offense to adjust its blocking schemes.

One of our linebackers is responsible for getting us lined up in either the Shade 50 or Double Eagle, based on a call by the defensive coordinator. Before the offense snaps the ball, the linebacker will call "shift" and our strong side will move to the appropriate alignment, changing the look of our defense.

In order to be successful with this defensive scheme, we needed to adopt a philosophy shared by our entire coaching staff. We also realized that without talent any scheme is susceptible to attack.

The following ideas have strengthened our defensive scheme:

1. Our players play hard and understand our defensive philosophy: everyone runs to the ball; hit the opponent hard early, it will pay dividends in the fourth quarter.

2. If a player goes both ways, he starts on defense and then substitutes on offense.

3. Our offensive schemes and special teams ideas add to our defensive success. We are not going to put our defense in a bind on offense or special teams.

4. Our defensive staff teaches the opponents' offensive tendencies (formations, motions, shifts) and attacks accordingly. We attack schemes, not personnel.

5. We won't get into certain fronts that aren't good vs the opponent's base. If the opponent attacks with something other than its base, we feel we gain the advantage.

6. The free safety better be able to run the alley. The strong safety has to play like a linebacker and vice versa. The corners need to feel comfortable with one-on-one coverage.

7. We assume all players are "on scholarship" and of equal talent (i.e., he may not win a double team, but our outside techniques should make the outside play).

8. We will play gap-control defense, focusing on stopping the run first.

9. We will win the numbers and techniques, not with blitzes or guessing games.

10. The more an offense does, the less we are likely to do.

The accompanying diagrams show how we can align in either the Shade 50 or Double Eagle with little change in the majority of positions.

For example, our Rush-end is always in a five technique, our Tackle plays in a three technique, the Will linebacker will always play a nine technique and line up on the designated tight end side.

Our Sam and Mike linebackers will align in a 30 technique (off and outside shade of the guards) in both fronts, and key near back to play side guard.

Our Strong Safety will change alignment but not responsibility in each front. In our Shade 50, he will stack the Will linebacker and play the tight end man to man. In the Double Eagle front, he will align inside shade of the tight end with his toes at the heel depth of the defensive lineman.

In this front, Strong Safety or Will can be responsible for the tight end, man to man. Our coverage will also remain the same, as we base out of a man free scheme.

With the exception of our Strong Safety, the only adjustments to be made are by the strong-side defensive lineman. Our Nose, who plays a shade or a 2-1 technique in the 50, will move to head up on center in the Double Eagle, and end will move from a five technique to a three technique appropriately.

There will be times when we will have to adjust to offensive formations or attacks. Vs a one back set, for example, we will simply bump our Sam linebacker weak, if the offense displaces a back as a receiver to the weak side. We will bump Strong Safety strong, if they offset a back strong, creating a strong trips set. We will then lock Will on the tight end.

If we expect drop-back pass and choose to play a two-deep or three-deep zone coverage, we will bail (start-up and drop-back) into our zone responsibilities, maintaining our man free pre-snap look.

To keep from losing contain to the strong side in our Double Eagle, we have chosen to slant our defensive line strong when we play a zone coverage [ILLUSTRATION FOR DIAGRAMS 5-8 OMITTED].

Any type of backfield motion will most likely get us back into a man free coverage with Strong Safety or Sam bumping out to pick up the displaced back.

With a simple call, we can get Will to lock onto the tight end any time (it is built into our Double Eagle look).
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Title Annotation:defensive football formations; Football
Author:DeVoursney, Steve
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Sep 1, 1999
Words:897
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