Friday, September 22, 2006

Attacking the Big, Bad 3-5

This post will be online Saturday night.
(Awe hell, it took til late Sunday... refunds for everyone! And it's late, so typos be damned!)

Below are the two diagrams I posted initially concerning this post.

Okay, If you took a look at the diagrams above, you may have come to the same realization we did concerning the 3-5. While I'm sure there are many coaches who will be glad to tell me all the built-in checks and balances the 3-5 has in it to stop such things, I've found the following to work pretty well.

!. The Wing alignment.

The 3-5 team we saw used the DE asthe contain player. If you gave him a slot, he would drop off and in the hook-to-flat area... sometimes up in the rec's face and other times at linebacker depth. We'll get to that in a minute. We also wondered if they would liden him against a wing... not wanting to get outflanked and all.

That's exactly what we did. Staying with our terminology, we gave our signal for a crack to the Z (wingback) so he would know to block on an inside path. This left the CB as the pitch and the widened DE as the pitch. Oh, how I wish our our starting QB had not been out for this game... our converted TE with 1 week of practice was in no way ready to read a dive so we told him to always give... there were times the keep would have scored... and the QB might still be running!

Later against thier J.V. this play, and the ISV in next diagram, proved to be an effective adjustment to the stack and that "impossible" to block stack OLB! The key moment is when they finally decide to adjust. You can see several things, but the main two would be the three LBs bumping to the TE... or the entire front shading to the TE similar to a weak-eagle 50. If the first occurs, run ISV weak... widening the psT's splits of course! If the latter occurs, then bring in the SE so he can seal/crack the psOLB and run ISV weak... comboing the 3 tech and reading the 5 tech (Speed Option is also a good idea) for the dive and moving the pitch phase to the CB. There are many other things, of course, but the OSV from the Wing set worked really well.

#2 The Tight Flex.

(Whoops! Left off the back paths on the diagram! ...will fix later...)

I had asserted rather childishly in the past that the "best" way to defeat the 3-5 was in the air. Yes... if you have Dan Marino Jr. at the helm.

While we looked at getting the flex and running some ISV for our varsity, without our starting option QB, we decided to shelve it. However, when the J.V. game rolled around, I decided to take it off the shelf and dust it off...

Another way to attack the stack is to again widen the DE and bring the TE down on the stacked Sam OLB. My advice on his split was to "never alignso wide that he couldn't get down on the psOLB with more than three big strides." The psT veer releases inside the DT but must get vertical so he can pick up a psOLB that's blowing up C gap. I widened the OT and put the responsibility of blocking the NG on the Center alone. Work hard on scoops with him and have him "climb the ladder" once he gets into that playside knee... the psG can help vs a shaded NG, but then the MLB is unblocked. We didn't get that. Our psG zone stepped in then up at the MLB... again with a healthy 3 foot split.

After looking at the angles, I told our HBs that this is one week the veer lane just might not be there and to not "freak-out" if they found themselves running straight up the field. I had hopes the either the psT or TE -- whoever didn't get the psOLB -- would come upfield and at least get in the way of the FS... alas, with only 3 days to practice for the JV, we were less than perfect in that regard. But if the FS is having to make tackles on a hard-running HB with the initial hit coming at 7 to 10 yards downfield... well, I can live with that.

Again, look for the defense trying to shore up the strong side wome way and have a plan to attack weak. But to paraphrase Coach Sparks, "run strong versus a balanced defense and run weak versus an unbalanced defense." Or something like that.

I will have to admit, the 3-5 was one of the hardest defenses I've come across with respect to scheming it. And if you insist on going on a long snap count (a bad idea; hint, hint!) they can still move people around and mess up reads and stuff like that. But I will also say we saw a whole lot less of that against us (when we did go on a regular count) than the other teams we saw on film. I guess the option makes even the mightiest of 3-5 coordinators play assignment football...

Just a little.

Coach Smith

I'm Back, Part II

Well, it's been a roller-coaster ride and we're not even to the half-way point in the season. Our very good second string QB transferred during the summer, so of course our starting QB separated his shoulder in the Kickoff Classic game. Did I mention our starting right guard was also out with a high ankle sprain?

Needless to say, it's been tough. Making the switch to O-Line from RBs/QBs was a challenge, but when we were running the veer, it was okay. I felt I could do a pretty good job with the run blocking techniques as it is low, hard, and down in the legs. But when we switched to the "I" and the power game due to necessity, I have really felt as if I was no longer the right man for the job.

Not a great way to start off the season.

Coach Bennett has a saying, "It's time to bow-up," and it's a good one. This past week vs. Madison, with our option QB back (much quicker than anticipated), we switched back to the veer and gashed them in the second half. The backs and line had the best game of the short season versus what is argueably the best defense they have faced yet. After an 80 or 90 yard drive, it all came down to an inside veer... 4th and goal on the three yard line with about 6 minutes left to play - down by six points. We had them on the ropes and out of gas. The play was there... but we didn't get in.

I'm not going to dwell on what happened because it isn't worth the effort. What went wrong can be fixed, and we have a heck of a foundation with which to build the second half of the season.

It's gonna be quite a ride.

Coach Smith