Wednesday, September 1, 2010

30 Dime Package: Part I

My name is Chris Vasseur and I coach Safeties at a Junior College in Northern California. I have befriended Brophy on the infamous Coach Huey website (I go by “VassDiddy” over there). I truly consider him the best defensive coach in all of High School football and I have learned so much from him. He invited me to write for this blog and I am extremely excited and honored to do so. I have contributed to the blog before (Virginia Tech Robber and Nick Saban’s Rip/Liz Match articles) but never have written an article.

My first topic is the “30 Dime” blitz package. The 30 Dime package is commonly referred to a 3 DL, 2 LB, and 6 DB defense used in long yardage situations (3rd & Long, 2 Minute). Since I base out of a 4-2-5, I already have 5 Defensive Backs so I would only make one change. I would take out the lesser of the two interior pass rushers, and bring a 6th DB (could be a Safety or a Corner) on the field. For 3-4 or true 4-3 teams, you might have to make 2 substitutions. The change of personnel is all based on your team and what you are facing. Against certain opponents, I would bring my best Corner in the Slot and bring in a 3rd Corner to play outside.

I believe this is the future of the NFL and will eventually permeate college football. I know… you are probably thinking: “Vass, this has been going on for years. What are you talking about?” True, but the implementation and thought process is changing. Teams are no longer just using this as a prevent defense, but as their primary method of pressure. Unless you have two dominant interior pass rushers, this package is perfect. In the first installment of my Dime package manifesto, I will examine why I began utilizing this format and the various coverage combinations that you can utilize. The second part will delve into the blitz and coverage possibilities, and how you can make combination calls to gameplan offensive formations and protections. The third part will examine how I use a “menu” effect to gameplan 3rd Down to create endless possibilities, showing you how you can easily customize this package to fit your system.

Let me start by saying that I am, and have always been a “40 Front” coach. I know there are many ways to skin a cat, and for me, I prefer the 4-Man line. I love the versatility and adjustments versus most offensive formations. I also like the ability to stop the run and play pass without a call or change of personnel, unlike the 3-4. I also think the fronts require less specialization than a traditional 3-4 defense – I believe you only need one true defensive lineman (3 technique) and one true linebacker (Mike). Plus, I went to school and worked briefly for, the University of Miami where the 4-3 was altered and turned into what it is today. I also worked for one of the Godfathers of the 4-4 to 4-2-5 movement. Needless to say, I am a little biased towards the 4-Man line.

My philosophy led me to discover this package. I love to pressure. However, I don’t like to just rush 1 extra defender, because I don’t feel the pressure is really getting home. Conversely, I am not one to roll the dice all the time and just leave people uncovered and/or play with no deep coverage. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll bring 6 or an 8-Man check blitz, but not as the primary method of pressure. This is why I love Fire Zones. They provide a middle ground. You have the ability to overload the offense’s blocking scheme and truly put pressure on them, while having sound, deep coverage. Plus, the creativity and possibilities are endless.

So, I researched everything I could get my hands on. I looked at playbooks, broke down games, talked to coaches, attended clinics, etc., all hoping to learn cutting edge Fire Zones. Over the years, I came to this conclusion: the Over front is great at overloading the weakside, but overloading to the strong side opens up major holes to the weakside (mainly having the slowest and least athletic lineman, the 1 technique, looping to contain, two gaps over). In the Under front, you can overload the strong side, but the weakside overloads aren’t as easy to run (Mike is too far to the strongside to bring). You can bring the Weak Safety down to blitz, but if they have 2 WRs to that side, now what? You have no one to cover! My solution was to blitz from the weakside from the Over front, and stem to an Under front pre-snap, to bring strong side pressures. The problem was solved… or so I thought.

I began coaching with my semi-pro team the spring and had all these face-melting (one of Brophy’s favorite adjectives) blitzes I had collected and installed. The league was a predominantly passing league, which was a departure from the high school league I coached in; our Defensive Ends had to be true pass rushers. We got into the first game and we needed to start bringing pressure to make things happen. The problem was this: in the Over Front, to overload the strong side or up the middle, I had to drop my Weakside Defensive End who is arguably the best pass rusher in the entire league. For the weakside overloads, I had to spike him into the A or B gap. I tried bringing 5 and playing Man-Free and nothing got home. Bring 6? It was almost like an automatic Touchdown. I eventually said, “screw it” and went back to a 4-man rush and the Quarterback had about 7 Mississippi’s to throw it. Needless to say we didn’t do well…

I began looking for answers. I busted out the playbooks and notes I had collected, and watched replays of NFL games. I watched the best defenses in the league at pressuring the Quarterback (i.e. – Jets, Saints) and saw that they were using these 3-Man lines. With this package, we could take out the Nose (my worst pass rusher who had to contain with strongside overloads) and bring in an additional Defensive Back, and bring the same pressures. The best part? I could bring my beast Weakside Defensive End, 100 miles an hour.

I had seen this package before, but they were doing something different. They were running what has become the “traditional” fire zones, the same blitzes with Man-Free coverage, and a Man-Free Peel coverage. They brought 6, played coverage with 6, and had their Defensive Ends still rushing the passer.
The key was that they assigned each edge rusher to “rush to cover the Running Back.” This is especially effective in the NFL because most protections are 6-Man, so he’s going to stay into block anyway.

The 30 Dime Front, allows the defense to run the same blitz paths with different coverage combinations, easier than a 40 front. You could feasibly run the “NCAA” blitz with Fire Zone Cover 3, 2 Trap (2 Deep/4 Under), Roll Cover 2, Man-Free, and Man-Free with an additional rusher and peeling Defensive Ends. When I ran the Over and Under front zone blitzes, I had to try to find one blitz to cover what I wanted to defend – I had to try to find one blitz to beat the protection AND defend the types of routes. If I wanted to bring the “NCAA blitz” for example, I had to play 3 Deep/3 Under, or a poor version of a Roll Cover 2. However, with the 3-Man line, I could create a “menu” because the blitz “paths” were separate from the coverages and were not tied together like the 4-Man line. Now all I had to do was teach the basic coverage concepts (3, 2 Trap, Roll 2, and Man-Free, Man-Free with Peel) and could bring whatever paths I wanted and slap them on a wristband.

To illustrate this point, let’s examine a problem I ran into before I decided to use this package. We faced a Sprint-Out passing team and tried running the infamous “NCAA” blitz to overload the strong/sprint-out side. It beat the protection, but there was a huge problem. We were short to the strongside of our coverage. This is because our Hook 3 player is lined up all the way to weakside and the QB could quickly and easily dump the ball to the 3rd WR. With the Dime package, the DE now rushes and I can simply bring the Dime back over to cover #3. Or, if we wanted to play zone, we could roll the coverage and play a Roll Cover 2 to the Trips side. I began to tinker with the idea and I realized that I could gameplan to beat the protections by choosing the blitz path I wanted. After I decided how to defeat the protections, I could gameplan the coverages I wanted based on the formations they ran, type of passing game, and routes.

An additional bonus of this package is that the Guards have one more thing to worry about. In our 40 Front, one had the 3 technique and the other combo’d the 1 with the Center. In the Bear (which we run a lot of), they were both man-to-man. In the 30 Front, the Guards have to Dual Read, a completely different read and technique.

Also, the Dime package allows us to keep the zone coverage responsibilities consistent. Out of a 4-man line is that you have to exchange coverage responsibilities with your DE and ILB. If only 1 WR, the DE drops Wall to Flat and the ILB has to drop Hook 3. If there are 2 or more, the ILB has to drop out to Wall/Flat and the DE drops inside for Hook 3. This is because you don’t want a Defensive End carrying a Slot WR vertically.

This may seem like a lot of stuff. It can be if you look at each blitz as its own separate entity. However, if you teach the coverage concepts, mixing and matching blitz paths with them is simple. In fact, I used this with a semi-pro team that practiced once a week, and only 50% of the team showed up. With the cunning use of wristbands and simplicity in teaching coverages, you can mix and match all of these concepts to create your own menu.

In the next installment, I will detail the various paths and coverages you can use in detail. Also, I will touch on how you can make “combo calls” to designate the coverages you want to play versus 2x2 sets, vs. 3x1 and Empty sets.

I look forward to contributing more and please feel free to ask questions, comment, or heckle me in the comments section.

Good luck this season and I’ll “see” you soon!

P.S. Thanks Korey Gray for helping me discover this package by telling me you didn’t want to drop anymore. I was blinded by all the fancy X’s and O’s and I didn’t let my best player do his thing.


brophy said...

i just had a mangasm! awesome, Vass

Aarnout said...

Wow, great article!

DudeLove said...

Question about the trips adjustment with the dime...Do you always move him over or mix the coverages verses trips?

How would you defend speed option to the one receiver side out of that look?

Coach Vass said...

@DudeLove: Vs. Trips, if it's Man, I bring the Dime over and put him on #2. This is so we can bring the Bandit off of #3. In Zone, I would bump the Mike to a 40, the Will stacked on the Center, and the Dime to a 40 (looks like a 30 Stack).

Vs. Speed Option, I would have the DE take QB and the Curl/Flat (whoever he is) play Pitch. Honestly, this is a 3rd and Long/2 Minute package. If I knew the team was going to do that, I'd try to live with what we were doing. However, if it became a problem, I would check to a zone coverage vs. Trips with the back to the weakside. If I didn't want to do that, and I still wanted to blitz, I'd gameplan the coverage to a 2 Trap call (Corners play Flats on Pitch/Wheel, Safeties play 1/2s).

Does that help?

blitzallnite said...

coach vass

if they start out in 2x2 formation and motion to 3x1 the dime will follow him over in man coverage.


DudeLove said...

Thanks for the quick reply. I really enjoyed the article.

Coach Vass said...

@Blitzallnite: Yes

@DudeLove: You are very welcome! I hope to have Part II done soon!

Coach Hoover said...

CVass, I was a big 4-3 zone blitz guy, but you did a tremendous job explaining the advantages of the dime package. I may have to take my Jon Tenuta poster down and put a CVass poster on my wall, lol.

Something that has never left my mind is the 2005 N.C. game - Texas vs USC where Vince Young scrambled in for the game winner. USC was in a zone blitz on the play--4-3 front with the 3 tech to the field and the 1 tech to the boundary. The 1 tech was supposed to be the contain rusher, but he failed obviously. After that game, I told myself I would never have a 1 tech try to contain rusher vs a semi-mobile QB.

The dime package would alleviate that plus I like having the dime back going to the Trips side to eliminate the quick throw to #3. I also like eliminating possible miscommunication from a "Switch" call with the LB and DE where the rush DE drops to #3 instead of #2 with a #2 WR vertical threat. Plus, like you said, your best rusher is rushing, not trying to cover people.

Those are some huge advantages of the dime package. I will definitely be researching this more come off-season. Look forward to reading more.

Pro-PatternRead said...

i'd really like to know your 2 deep fire zone blitz rules...the menu idea is great. allows you great flexibility in defending different route concepts. i've read over a couple 2 deep fire zone packages, but there rules are vague.

great article...looking forward to part 2

jgordon1 said...

Nice job Vass...Could you expand more on the wristbands...been playing some Under wide(looks like a 50 w/ regular personnel..this fits in very nice

Anonymous said...

Coach Vass, this is fantastic! Just curious if you've had any strugles with your two deep zone pressures having the will "cut" to the opposite seam/curl area. I've seen a lot of qbs hit that slot before the will can get over there. Would cheating the Will over earlier show your hand too early? Or would you suggest blitzing to the boundary and having the will cut to the boundary. Thanks

-Coach D

Anonymous said...

I have a question similar to what DudeLove asked. In one of the first games I coordinated, I attacked a spread offense with a 3-3-5. Trying to bring overwhelming pressure from the weakside, I was burned twice on third down blitzes. They ran a speed option on one of the plays and a draw on another (my defensive end really messed this up, though because he looped wide around the tackle even though he didn't get a pass set look and the back was outside and up field before my Mike could get there). I think it is a great concept but from experience I worry.

I think you (Coach Vass) answered it by saying you better check to some form of cover 2 against Trips or an option look. I mean, heck, it's all football. There's always an offensive answer for anything we do and if our players don't get off blocks and get to the ball it doesn't matter how great the scheme is. I'm sure if my end had played it a little better and my DBs had gotten off the receivers' stalk blocks it would have worked.

I'll certainly try this in the future. Thanks.

bamacoach said...

When will you post part 2, i loved the first and would LOVE to see the next!!