THE COUNT SYSTEM
I get asked quite a bit about Veer blocking rules and Midline blocking rules. Inevitably, my answer always begins with explaining the Count System. For those of you not familiar, I'm going to cover the Count System that we use for the Flexbone on Veer and Midline plays. We teach our players to identify 4 defensive players on every play, #1, #2, #3 and the Near Deep Defender (NDD). We might not need those 4 defenders identified on every play, but we always want to be ready in case that we check the play to Inside Veer.
Here's a rundown of our Inside Veer count:
- #1 (DIVE READ) - First DL on/outside of the Playside Tackle (PST). Some call it Hand Off Key (HOK). Basically the 4/4i/5 technique. If a defender is lined up with his outside foot inside of our PST's inside foot, then we'll call him a 3 technique.
- #2 (PITCH KEY) - First defender stacked or outside of #1.
- #3 (Flat defender or Safety) - Defender that we think will take Pitch.
- NDD - The deep defender. If our WR runs a take-off or go route, who will cover him.
We teach our players to find these defenders in pairs. We're going to find #1 & #2 close to one another. #3 & NDD are sometimes more difficult to determine in Cover 2/4 looks, but we always tell our WR's and A-backs if there is confusion to determine who is the NDD first. Whichever defender is left will be #3. In a 1 high safety look, the middle safety will be #3.
As I said early in the post, we teach all of our offensive players the Count System. The OL is generally only concerned with identifying #1 & #2. On a Load tag, then the Tackles will find the FS (#3). The WR's generally are not able to identify #1 & #2 from their alignment. They normally will concern themselves with identifying coverage and NDD. The WR's are dependent upon the A-backs to tell them our perimeter blocking scheme. The QB and the A-backs must identify all 4 defenders every play. The A-backs will identify #1 & #2 and then move to #3 and NDD. They will communicate to the WR our perimeter blocking scheme. In a Cov 2 look with the CB's playing a hard Cover 2 look, we will assume that the Safety is the NDD and the CB would then be #3. Against a Cover 4 look, we might identify that the CB is playing off coverage, therefore he would be the NDD and the Safety would be #3.
Now things can and will change at the snap, but at least pre-snap we have identified our 4 defenders.
Midline count will differ slightly. For Midline (Double and Triple), we're only concerned with identifying 2 players, #1 & #2. The count system for Midline can be done two different ways:
- Count #1 as the 1st DL past the Center. You normally pick this count method if you don't mind your QB keeping the ball, or actually prefer for your QB to keep the ball on Midline Double.
- Count #1 as the 1st DL on/outside the Guard. You normally pick this count method if your Center is a good player (can handle a shade by himself) and/or you would like to keep your B-back as a running option against a Shade on Mid Triple.
I'll discuss the merits of both methods for Midline in another blog, but I just wanted to give a brief explanation as to why you can move the count.
#2 will be the next defender outside #1. It is generally going to be a defender on the LOS (Even front), but could also be a LB off the LOS depending upon defensive alignment. Our base rules for Midline Double will put our PST on #2. For Midline Triple, we will pitch off #2.
I hope that you've found this explanation of the Count System useful. I know that other people might count in a different manner (outside-in) but this is how I learned it while at Navy and it's proven method of identifying defenders. Just ask Mississippi State...LOL.