Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Putting Out the Fire (Zone)" - Gunter Brewer (Part II)

Another way OSU looks to attack the fire zone is with their quick passing game.
(for a detailed view of the staple of OSU’s passing attack, the four verticals package, check out Chris Brown’s blog)
SCAT out of 3 x 1
The scat concept out of 3 x 1 is a great way of exposing the horizontal stretch of a 3 underneath zone coverage. It is an evolution of Y Stick, and further evolved itself to the current spacing concept.

Just like the spacing concept detailed before, the inside receivers are looking to put the middle hole defender in conflict. They work to get in between the MLB and the PSL B at 6 yards and sit down.
The Z (playside outside receiver) runs the clearing fade (FOR / Force Outside Release) to draw greater a void underneath. The shoot by the F converts to a wheel if seeing press man coverage.
The added benefit of 3 x 1 is the bubble route run by the H. This not only provides a release outlet, but also stretches the SCIF player to defend the sideline to the hash.
Regardless of the coverage, this concept is adaptable and can stress the defense regardless of the assignment. The X & Y run a “sneak” (stick) route at a depth of 6 yards to 2-on-1 attack the MLB.
  • Vs zone – split the difference between defenders
  • Vs man – push in hard and bounce back out
If the linebacker crosses the receiver's face, he should look for the ball. If the receiver gets walled (from an inside stem), he will sit and bounce back out (working off of MLB)
This provides a failsafe plan of attack for the quarterback. All he has to determine is if it is MOFC or MOFO coverage and then immediately attack the appropriate defender.
  • Vs 1 high – look weak (key the flat defender)
  • Vs 2 high – look strong (key the flat defender)
  • Vs man – Sneak/Wheel
It is important to see the seams / voids created with so much defensive movement of players replacing one another.
You have to get them, before they get you

Attacking the Linebackers
Against the zone blitz, the inside receiver should look for the dropper (weight not on the hands), and anticipate his drop. The rationale on spotting the dropper, is because in 3x1 the MLB is the target. He will have to expand to #3 away from the hole to match #3’s route dispersion.
When the playside linebacker is in man coverage, he will not be sitting or dropping to the seam, he will be expanding to chase the back on flare (leaving a large void in the area he is leaving). The WR to the chasing linebacker must look for the ball in his first 3 steps. To take advantage of this big-play potential, it is important to identify the coverage presnap via shifts, motions, and altering the tempo.

If the linebacker drops, the receiver will go underneath, work the hole inside, and off the drop of the MLB.

If the linebacker “sits”, the WR must decide the over/under position to best work (find the hole).
If the linebacker walls or prevents an inside release (typically if the defense is aggressively trying to stop follows, meshes, etc) the WR should use a bounce technique and work back outside.

The following is an example of the evolution of the (double stick) scat concept (and how it helped evolve spacing)

Shown here by BYU and NC State, featuring a young Philip Rivers
Does this Y Stick concept from Norm Chow's 1995 playbook look familiar?
It should
Y Stick vs the Fire Zone
This is a great concept to work against the leverage of hole and seam players. This also works against both 1-high (MOFC) and 2-high (MOFO) coverages equally well. Where spacing featured 3 sticks, Scats featured 2 sticks, now Y Stick features just the TE sticking based on the MLB.
1 high defense
With the backside 2 receiver combo, the inside receiver route essentially becomes the shoot route being run on the TE side. Rather than elongate the throw by immediately pressing the sideline, the receiver vertically presses 6 yards and then keys the corner on whether he should sit (if corner sits / flat) or continue expanding to the flat (if corner retreats).
2 high defense
An illustration of the stick concept vs 2-high defense against Texas Tech (actually the very play that the opening picture was taken from)
This play / pictorial best illustrates identifying the 'hot' key of a man-linebacker. Watch the 8 technique SLB racing to chase the shooting F out of the backfield. The SLB isn't dropping, he is quickly widening flat. Recognizing this, the Y quickly turns his shoulder in anticipation of receiving this quick throw.

Once the QB identified man-coverage, he locks onto his Y and is going to deliver the ball away to the shoulder away from the MLB on his hitch step.
(Very little thinking required here - just react to the immediate key)
The TE makes a great catch outside his body, which affords him more room and momentum to turn upfield away from the MLB. Now it is the Y versus the Safety.
The receiver runs over the safety, the chase ensues, and makes a bad-angled corner miss.....and its SHOWTIME in the endzone!

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