Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nebraska Pressure: 3 Seam (5 Man Zone Blitz)

So far we've covered Nebraska's base front and adjustments, along with their special dime package for pressure. In this segment, we'll look at how they bridge the gap between base zone coverage and man coverage rules, with the fire zone.

Now, it should be noted that Nebraska doesn't rely on the fire zone nearly as much as many other NCAA defenses. It does provide them with a sound concept against every offensive formation with 5-man pressure. In this post, we'll take a look at their most used blitz and the coverage rules behind it.

Pelini supports all his fire zones with the 3 deep 3 under coverage known as "3 Seam" which simply declares that there will be 2 Bronco players and 1 "final 3" player. The only question remaining is who will fill those roles.

We'll look at the package "Strong Go", which is simply the standard "NCAA Blitz" fire zone. Nebraska will primarily only use this blitz against 10 and 11 personnel. Believe it or not, along with Boston and Frisco concepts, this fire zone package is also installed in the first day of fall camp (with a different fire zone package installed each day thereafter).

This is a strong side / passing strength overload based out of the Frisco family, that is adjustable and sound against any formation. The tight end is matched inside, outside and vertical by the hole, SCIF, and deep hole player, eliminating any hot to him.

The pressure side end long sticks to the “A” gap opening up a lane in the “B” gap for the Mike. The away end becomes the potential dropper, playing run until pass shows, then bailing to take away any hot into the seam. The corners play 3 bail and are man-conscious on #1. From a 2-high shell the safety to the pressure side drops on top of #2 as a SCIF/Bronco player.

The concept remains sound against Trips / Trey looks and just walks the Buck out on #2 and effectively sends pressure from the passing strength.

Even with a formation reset or a called Boston (Over) front, the concept is solid (set to the passing strength). The pressure comes from the passing numbers side, almost egging a quarterback to throw a hot to #2, who is about to be robbed by the dropping Bronco safety.

As we covered earlier, for every concept installed, a counter-concept is introduced. In this case, instead of a passing strength pressure, the opposite would be a weak side blitz, known as "Flex Go", always run out of the Boston (Over) front. Instead of blitzing into a passing strength, "Flex Go" blitzes away from the passing strength.

If 2 becomes 1 (motion/shift) the safety replaces the Mike, and the Mike becomes the Bronco player to the pressure.

This provides an easy adjustment/answer to everything that can be presented on any given down. A simple breakdown of motion / shift checks out of this blitz looks like this:

  • 2 (wr) becomes 1 (wr) = Flex (Buck / Safety)
  • 1 (wr) becomes 2 (wr) = Strong (Buck / Mike)
In the example below, strength is set to the flexed tight end and Strong Go is called. This will bring the Buck and the FS (with a switch call on the Mike, who becomes the Bronco player).

The final 3 player is the Will, with the away-side end playing run, then dropping underneath the stem of the single split receiver. The field pressure forces the ball into the area where the end drops to (that the quarterback did not account for).

The very same concept can be applied to any front, with nothing new to teach. Shown here with the Spinner package detailed earlier:

Have you seen this concept before? Yes, you have.....
fire zones from the 2002 San Francisco 49ers playbook (3 Seam)

In our last installment of the Nebraska defense, we'll detail how they borrow from their past to generate maximum pressure on their opponents.


Coach Hoover said...

Brophy, with your first illustration, Strong Go 3 Seam, does Nebraska ever switch the DE with the Will to let the DE be the Final 3 player instead if #2 is a WR instead of a TE or RB?

brophy said...

They do have a pkg, running as a compliment to Strong/Flex, referred to as (strong/weak)"ISO" out of nickel. The pressure is just as it sounds, an iso. The Will (weak) / Nickel (strong) leads to inside B, with a down safety behind him to outside B gap. The callside end opens up the 'iso' hole by speed rushing outside. The backside end would play bronco on #2 or final-3 vs Trips (Will / Nickel would take bronco in strong/weak, respectively).