Since writing the piece on the Two Gap/One Gap (TGOG) scheme for defensive line (DL) play, I've had a lot of coaches ask about the linebacker reads and run fits when utilizing this scheme. The TGOG is one scheme I've seen that makes your LB's play extremely fast. The reason: there are basically little to no reads. Most of us have some sort of read or recognition scheme in place for our LB's. Whether it be guard-readers, back-readers, cloudy/clear, etc., all of us defensive coaches have a system in place that allows our LB's to get their reads and keys. The difference with the TGOG scheme, is that there are no more reads, only keys.
Let's take a look at the "typical" run fits you will see from a standard 21 personnel I formation team. I'm going to look at these three plays in this article:
- Power (G)
- Counter (GT)
As I mentioned, most schemes use a visual key to stimulate the LB to read the play. Some coaches use near back, far back, offensive line or a combination of two or all of the above. Whatever it is you use, there is a key and then a read that must occur to allow your players to decipher the play. The key is a visual object, such as the near back. Most coaches use and "if/then" approach to coaching the key read system. What this means is, we teach by stating "If the near back does X, then you do Y". So your player is looking to decipher the key's initial movement (X) and then react to what he's been trained to do if he sees this movement (Y). There is nothing wrong with this system, so before the lynch mob shows up at my front door, please understand I've done this very same system for many years with mixed success. However, upon being introduced to the TGOG scheme, I realized that by reducing the reads to a very simple and clear cut reaction, you get faster LB speed, which thereby puts your players in a better position to make a play.
How it works is simple, because you as the defensive coach know what gaps are filled pre-snap, you can convey this to your LB corps. What happens is that you can now tell your LB's instead of seeing a key make a movement and then having to scrape to the open window, you can simply say "run through this gap". This type of attack reaction is nothing new, our odd front brethren (especially the 3-3/3-5 guys) have been doing this for years. All you are doing now is utilizing the same philosophy of the odd front guys, but out of the even front. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and I'm sure by now I have you thoroughly confused, so let's look at the run fits of the three plays mentioned earlier and clear some things up.
The Iso play is quite simple and is shown below. This play can be seen from two back 21 personnel teams, to one back spread teams. The idea is to "isolate" one LB and use a lead blocker to block this person while the offensive line (OL) blocks everyone else.
The power play, is similar to the isolation play, but the play side DE is being isolated now instead of the play side LB. Here is how the run fits in the TGOG scheme look when the Power is run to the strong side of the formation.
To the weak side nothing changes for any player. The weakside DE is a two-gapper so he mashes the OT down inside and spills the FB's kickout block. The Nose works upfield and plays the cutback. The WILB, knowing all the gaps to his side are filled, can scrape outside and is the box back player to the weakside. To the strong side both DL are two-gappers so they are coming down hard and flat and trying to eat up two blockers in doing so not allowing any blockers to come off on the SILB and SS. The three technique is also working to get in the hip pocket of the puller in an attempt to chase the play down from the backside. The SILB is the free runner, and the spill player, so he is free to scrape across the formation and spill the lead block of the pulling guard.
Defending the counter requires one hard and fast set of rules. These rules, which I have used for many years were stolen from legendary defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. To properly defend the counter, or as I call it the GT counter (for Guard and Tackle pulling-some call this the Counter Trey), you need:
- A defender allocated to be outside the first puller.
- A defender who plays inside the first puller, but outside the second puller.
Uniqueness of the system
I used to be an open window/closed window guy in terms of what I taught my LB's to read. At one point this did speed us up, but I never felt like my guys were fast enough to their reads. I ran across this scheme and a friend of mine was doing it, so he and I had several discussions and what I found out was, no longer do you teach LB's reads, you teach "fits". In other words, based on the alignment of the front, the LB's now know what gaps are open and closed presnap. No longer are they wondering "will that three technique get reached?", instead they are reacting to flow and getting to their point of attack. This system takes all the guesswork out of high school linebacking. This scheme is also what has allowed our odd front brethren, such as the 3-3 stack to make it appear as though they are blitzing on every play. The reason these teams look so fast, is that their LB's are not reading, they simply "fitting" where the are supposed to be based on backfield flow! The simplicity of the linebacking when playing behind the TGOG scheme will free up your LB's to be runners and attackers instead of readers and reactors.
|Nothing like a little reading!|
Hopefully this will be out in time for you guys going into spring football. I challenge you to install this system and let it work for you. You will see LB's playing much faster than ever before, and it's all because you've freed those "big uglies" up inside! Good luck!