Defensive Structures you Might Face as a New Option Coach cont...

In this blog we will continue with defensive identification and a focus on Odd fronts and what we call Junk fronts.  We will begin discussion a 5-2 defensive front.


Some coaches may calls this a 3-4 defense, and that wouldn’t be wrong, we rarely see the two OLB’s off the ball, so we identify this as a 5-2 front.  Again, with inside veer in mind we label #1 as the 4 technique aligned on the PST and #2 is the stand up OLB that is just outside the 4 technique. We typically see a two high safety secondary, but on occasion we will get a safety roll down into the box and give us a cover 3 look as a change up.  We teach our QB’s to prepare for “blood stunts” and #3/#2 exchanges vs. this defense. Lastly, the way you block the PST and PSG can promote some discussion. The base rules of IV would have you outside release the PST for playside backer to backside safety. The PSG would work up to the playside backer and thus the PST and PSG create and over and under on the playside linebacker.  Outside releasing the PST creates an “unprotected mesh” and can create a hard read on the 4 technique for the QB. Some teams combat this by veer releasing the PST and using the PSA to load, thus they create the over and under on the playside linebacker. This would free up the PSG to help the center with the nose or climb to the backside backer. There are some other adjustments you can make as well with blocking schemes to help combat #3/#2 exchanges vs. this defense but I will save those for a later discussion.  



The next odd front we will discuss is a 5-3 or 3-3 stack defense.  Again, we rarely see the OLB’s off the LOS so we call this a 5-3 defense.  Fortunately, there is carry over from a 5-2 defense in labeling #1 and #2. The 4 technique is #1 and the OLB or Spur is #2.  We would load this front since the MOF is closed but you could do some other things to break the balance in this defense to create a numbers advantage to one side or the other.  


Bear Double High.PNG

We see this odd front occasionally. For us, anytime the guards and center are covered we call that bear defense.  Buddy Ryan made this defense popular in the 80’s (Although this image isn’t exactly similar to his 46 defense) and The University of Arizona made a version of it popular in the 90’s.  I have labeled the Corner #2 because that is how we are defended. You could make the playside backer number #2 and use the PST as a helper to the PSG or you could have him work up to backside safety.  


Bear Single High.PNG

We see this next  defense a lot during the season.  Again, the Center and Guards are covered so we identify this as Bear defense. You also may hear some coaches call it double eagle.   In this image the defense has added a linebacker/safety to the box, making it a 5-3 look. Because we count #1 as on or outside the PST we label the defensive end as #1 and the playside linebacker as #2.  One thing to keep in mind, we typically add an over tackle or tight end to create three man surfaces to keep this defense off balance.

5-2 Money.PNG

The last two defenses we will cover are categorized as Junk.  For us the term “Junk” means any defense that is atypical to what we would normally see aligned.  The above image is what we call Money. This is a 5-2 concept where the safeties are stacked in the MOF.  The short MOF safety is an alley player to both sides and the deeper MOF safety is a clean up player, and plays a deep middle ⅓ coverage concept.  We label this defense the same way we label a 5-2 look. You just have to make sure and communicate to the A backs where the safeties are and who we need them to block.


This last defense we called Snake. This one sneaked up on us in a game and really bit us!  We weren’t prepared and we didn’t identify things correctly. If you follow your rules, #1 is easy to label, the 4 technique is on the PST. #2 is the harder issue, we decided to label the stacked linebackers as #2 and we decided to block the Mike and the “Snake Backer” with the offensive line.  This one can be tough to adjust to if you haven’t seen it before.  


Our next blog post will continue with an emphasis on  game planning concepts and as always feel free to discuss blog posts or ask questions on our forum page located here:  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me on twitter @runthetriple or my email address

All the Best,


Matt McLeod



Matt McLeodComment