Friday, January 29, 2010

Attacking Empty Formations

Empty can be a problem for many teams. They force the defense to use coverages different from their typical 3x1 formation. Also, the defense can't be so worried about the pass, because modern spread offense will check to QB draws and kill you there. Many defenses will try to bring pressure at the unprotected QB. I once heard a successful defensive play caller say "I will man you ass and bring six". This is a good idea but vulnerable to the quick and screen game.

Edge pressure is inviting. However many offenses have taken the Texas Tech approach to things and have had their lines spread out to put your edge rushers further from the ball. This however has exposed these offenses to different blitz schemes.

A good adjustment to these types of teams is to place 6 rushers on the LOS and put your secondary into some type of man on the WR's.

The trap these wide split offensive lines put you in, is bringing pressure. They slide one way and then let one of your edge rushers go free from a wide angle, giving the QB time to hit a hot route or set up to throw vertical. The key is to not fall into this trap. Give the appearance of 6 rushers, but only bring 3,2, or even 1. This might sound nuts, but you can disrupt a teams empty formation package with just one rusher. The key is alignment.



If a team is gonna use wide splits, don't align your rushers in the gaps! Get your guys as far from the OL as possible. Put 2 guys on the shoulders of the Tackles and center. This makes it hard for the guards to get position on them. Teams don't want to man block this look. Why would they. The rules will put them into a slide protection look anyway. Give an empty formation team this look and they will slide one way or the other and cut one of the edge rushers loose.

The key to this stunt is in how your rushers blitz the QB.

Rule #1 if you are blocked and unable to get to the QB quickly Drop back and spy QB draw. Also, the droping rushers should play the QB on screens, and hot throws.

The Sliding linemen are stressed. The linemen who slide way across to a man not aligned on them will have a hard time getting to the rushers. The rusher that has the OL man turn his but to him, should hug the OL man's butt and get to the QB. The rusher that has the linemen turn to him should drop. This way the blockers are wasted on rushers whom drop to defend the pass.

In addition to the free rusher you have, you will probably get two more rushers up the middle that have linemen having to cover a long distance to block them. This gives you 3 man pressure with 8 men in coverage. This scheme will close the offenses splits (Allow good edge pressure) in empty or force them out of the package altogether(A plus for many).

The idea here is to use the empty wide splits scheme against them. Don't fall into the trap of getting in the gaps. This puts you close enough to the linemen to block you. Stress the o-line! They don't want to see that. Also, no matter what adjustments they make they will not be able to figure out which guys you have going and dropping because you are dropping based on their protection.

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