Contemporary Offensive Trends
Leo Hand via Coaches Choice Football Coaching Library
Attempting to Force the Defense to Defend the Entire Field
Coaches should remember that plays are seldom initiated from the middle of the field. At least 80 percent of the time, a play originates on a hash mark or within four yards of a hash. When a play is initiated from one of the hash marks, the defense is confronted with defending an unbalanced field. Defensive coordinators must, therefore, analyze the tendencies of how theoffense is positioning personnel and utilizing space in their play calling.
The Use of Four-Receiver Sets for the Purpose of Allowing Skilled Players to Operate in Space
Allowing skilled players to operate in space is one of the obvious advantages of four-receiver sets; however, all four receivers probably do not possess the same level of athleticism. Some may even be operating on semi-flat tires and/or possess mediocre hands. This is especially true at the high school level. Therefore, it is important that defensive coaches analyze which receivers are the go-to guys and make certain that these players get the utmost attention when devising defensive game plans.
Using Spread Formations in an Attempt to Limit the Number of Defensive Fronts a Team Is Capable of Employing
The defense is still capable of loading the box with at least six defenders and sometimes even seven defenders versus poor passing teams. The positioning of these defenders in countless alignments is not only possible, but prevalent versus the spread.
Using Spread Formations in an Attempt to Make It More Difficult for a Defense to Disguise Blitzes
Spread formations do not deter the disguise of inside blitzes. A four-wide formation may make it more difficult for a defense to disguise a wide side blitz from the edge, but shortside blitzes from the edge are easily disguised. This is especially true for defenses employing a four-deep secondary.
Attempting to Enhance Pass Protection by Positioning the Quarterback in the Gun
Enhancing pass protection is one of the main advantages of the gun, especially when the quarterback is employing a one-step drop and delivering the ball expeditiously. In this situation, it is extremely difficult for the defense to pressure the quarterback; consequently, it far better to concentrate on maximum coverage and/or jamming receivers.
Attempting to Pressure the Defense by Not Huddling
At one time, no-huddle offenses caused a great deal of confusion for defenses that attempted to huddle, but by now, all defenses should be no-huddle defenses. There are two types of no-huddle offenses. The first type is a hurry-up type. This type attempts to create personnel mismatches by making rapid substitutions and to limit defensive front, coverage, and blitz strategies. Another goal of the hurry-up no-huddle is to wear out a defense. This should never occur if the defense is properly conditioned.
The second type of no-huddle offense is the slow-paced no-huddle. This type lines up in its offensive formation and then waits for the defense to adjust. Either the quarterback or a coach will then call a play based upon his evaluation of the pre-snap read given by the defense. Although this tactic benefits the offense, it also benefits the defense because 15 or more seconds will usually expire from the time the offense assumes its formation until the ball is snapped.
Many Spread Coaches Have Adopted the Offensive Philosophy That: “The Defense Can Stop the Run, and It Can Stop the Pass, But Can It Stop Both?”
This challenge an extremely difficult for any defensive coordinator when the offense possesses both an explosive run and pass attack. The decisive question, however, is: can the offense effectively do both? At the high school level, the answer is often no. The offense may have a great passing game, but their running game may be limited, or vice versa. It is the defensive coordinator’s responsibility to make certain that his defense shuts down the things that the offense does well and force it into doing what it doesn’t do as well.
The Tendency of Spread Teams to Rely Upon the Quarterback as a Major Factor in Their Run Offense
This tendency is the great catch-22 of the spread offense. If the quarterback is a great passer, is it worth the risk of using him as a running back? If he’s not a great passer, most of the problems in defending the spread are greatly reduced. In an attempt to keep their quarterback out of harm’s way, many coaches are now involving their wide receivers in the run game with jet sweeps, fake jet sweeps, and reverses.
The Use of Multiple Formations and Motions in an Attempt to Force Defensive Adjustments and Mistakes
This tactic is more effective versus zone coverages than it is versus man coverages. Because of the effectiveness of this tactic, it necessary for defensive coaches to spend considerable practice time making certain that their formation adjustments are not only sound, but that highest priority is given to ideal personnel match-ups.
The Utilization of Spread Formations That Remove Defenders From the Box Leaving Linemen with Fewer Defenders to Block
The number of defenders that are removed from the box will be dependent upon the offense’s ability to pass the ball to their spread receivers. Also, because there are fewer offensive players remaining in the box, it is not necessary to have as many defenders positioned in the box.
Using Spread Formations for the Purpose of Making Pre-Snap Coverages Easier for the Quarterback to Read
Both pre-snap and post-snap coverage disguises are directly related to the creativity of the coach that designed them and the players that execute them. Offensive formations only play a minor role in this matter.
Spread Formations That Are a Conglomeration of Many Different Styles of Offense
After examining the roots of present-day offenses, it becomes apparent that they are an amalgamation of the best elements of offenses of the past. In order for a defense coach to adequately defend any strategy or tactic, he must first understand it. It is, therefore, imperative that defensive coaches must have a thorough understanding of both the offenses of the past and present in order to deal with the offenses of the future—a future that may occur as soon as their next game.
You can find out more about and purchase the eBook that this article is from at: Defensive Coordinator’s Football Handbook