Monday, April 16, 2012

The B.O.S.S. Blitz-An Answer to Dog Blitzing to a 3x1 Set

The Boss Baby!

For a while now, I've had coaches ask me about my adaptation of TCU's blitz scheme to lower level play.  One question that frequently comes up is "how to deal with the dog blitz into the trips side of a 3x1 set.  If we look back to 2 years ago when TCU defeated Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl you can see a clear breakdown of the Dog Blitz into a trips set.  This breakdown, almost cost TCU one of the biggest wins in school history, and I'm sure Gary Patterson would tell you this if you asked him.  I'm not going to delve too much into what happened in that Rose Bowl game, for more on what did happen go here.  What I'm going to describe to today is a simple call that keeps cover guys in coverage, and cuts down on leverage issues presented by utilizing players on the opposite side of the field having to come all the way across the formation to get to their assignment.

First, let us review my blitz assignments for my players when blitzing.  When I call a blitz, all players involved must know two things:

  1. Am I an inside rusher?
  2. Am I the widest rusher?
The inside rushers are all responsible for any back to cross their face.  If they encounter a back, they are to "lock him up" and run him straight to the quarterback.  This prevents the draw and inside screens from hurting your blitz package.  The outside rushers are ALWAYS peel rushers, unless somebody calls them off with a "go" call.  A go call is only made if the defender responsible for the running back has outside leverage on the back.  If no go call is made, the outside rushers are automatically peel rushers.

As mentioned before, this cuts down on the confusion created by TCU's scheme (or at least the confusion I encountered when installing).  Now no calls need to be made to keep us safe (as in TCU's Spy and Silver calls).  Please don't take this as I'm knocking what Patterson does, Lord knows he makes a hell of a lot more money doing what he does than I do!  Where I got the idea for this came from a blitz I've talked about before, our good friend the Nickel Tracer Blitz.  Anyhow, let's look at the Dog blitz into a three receiver set.

The Blitz
The Dog blitz is essentially four rushers to a side in an attempt to overload the protection scheme to that side.  Dog blitzes are my favorite of all of Patterson's blitzes, as I have had the most success when running these.  Looking at just a Wide Dogs blitz (blitz is run from the wide side of the field), let's look at the blitz being run into the three receiver side.

If the strong safety makes a "switch" call, then you only end up with three rushing to that side, not a very effective pressure, especially if they slide the back to the blitz side.  So what to do?

If the blitz stays on, then the weak safety is now responsible for the number three receiver and the away-side linebacker has the running back.  Two things can happen here, the first is that, as seen in the Rose Bowl, if that even if the weak safety had been paying attention and stemmed over to cover number three, there is an inherent leverage issue.  All the number three receiver has to do is run an outside route and the weak safety is beat simply by alignment.  The other issue arises from a match up problem with the away-side linebacker and the running back.  What if this is a match up problem for your players?  I have faced several 3x1 teams that loved to run the running back out on a flare or wheel route away from the trips side.  The flare, is an easy throw, and pits your linebacker one-on-one in space with one of your opponent's better athletes.

The B.O.S.S. Blitz
So what is the BOSS blitz?  Simple, BOSS stands for Both Backers on the Same Side.  Think of it this way, it's almost like a "double switch" call.  What happens is, any time the strong safety gets a three receiver set when running the Dog Blitz, he simply gives a BOSS call instead of his normal "switch" call.  What happens with the BOSS call is this:

  • The linebacker to the call replaces the blitzing safety.  So the LB will blitz the widest gap available and is also a peel rusher if the weak safety does not give a "go" call.
  • The linebacker farthest from the call replaces the linebacker in the dog blitz.  For example, in TCU terms, if Wide Dogs A was called, and then the strong safety made a BOSS call, the read side linebacker blitzes outside while the away side linebacker will blitz the read side A gap.

Now you still have a four man pressure to one side of the offense, and you have three defensive backs dedicated in coverage to the trips set.  Your weak safety also has coverage on the running back, so you have no match up issues to deal with when covering the running back.  For the sake of simplicity, I always have the away side linebacker blitz the read side A gap, you, however can have him replace the blitzing read side linebacker's gap if you'd like.

BOSS was something my staff and I came up with out of necessity.  I'm sure I'm not the "inventor" but as with many things I've done over the years, I like to share little nuances that I've done to help have success.  Hopefully this is one of those tidbits you can utilize in your defense!

In other news, our old boy Brophy is at it again with several good posts on La. Tech and what they are doing both offensively and defensively.  If you want some good Nickel defense and Franklin Air Raid info, get on over to Cripes! Get Back to Fundamentals and check out some of Brophy's latest posts.

Spring ball is upon us, and with less than a month away for some, the time is now finalizing schemes and installation as well as testing to see what your players have done in the off-season.  Have fun, and utilize every minute of your spring (if you have one) to evaluate what you've got going int the summer months!