FNF Coaches Talk — The 3-4 Scheme Is Obsolete, MMA Fighter Leads Football Strength Program, HS Coach Teaches Players to Change Tire

Good afternoon, Coaches. Be sure to check FNFCoaches.com for some of the other new content we’ve been posting over the last few days. We have updated the website with the stories from our most recent publications.

1. Calling a defense a 3-4 scheme is pretty much obsolete (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Defensive terms such as 4-3 and 3-4 are obsolete and have lost their relevance because many teams spend so much time in subpackage defenses. Those are defenses which employ anywhere from five to seven defensive backs playing multiple positions.

So, if you’re teaching a 3-4 defense, and you use the Pittsburgh Steelers as an example, it’s likely that you’re using film from a previous version of the team.

The Steelers were in their subpackages — either nickel, dime or dollar defenses — between 75 to 80 percent of the time in 2018, according to coach Mike Tomlin. And with the AFC North Division undergoing a transformation with players such as Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr., the Steelers might be using those defenses even more in 2019. Seven defensive backs might not be enough.

What are the different variations the Steelers run now that they rarely run a 3-4?

Their nickel defense, probably their most popular subpackage, consists of three cornerbacks and two safeties. The dime defense, which is becoming more frequent, features three cornerbacks and three safeties. A variation of that defense is their “quarter” package, which is four cornerbacks and two safeties. In either of those packages, one of the “inside linebackers” could be a safety.
Their dollar defense features seven defensive backs with no true inside linebacker.

How often do you use subpackages with more than four defensive backs?

2. MTSU football turns to former MMA fighter for strength and conditioning (The Daily Journal)

Matt Hickmann, now entering his second year as Middle Tennessee State’s strength and conditioning coach, has implemented several MMA concepts like boxing for the Blue Raiders’ offensive and defensive lines.

For footwork, he has the units do mirroring and circling drills. At times, there’s a jump rope, too. Instead of doing an old-fashioned rip drill, the rip looks more like an uppercut. If defensive linemen have to swipe away an arm, it’s more of a hook.
Hickmann has target mitts on during the process.

For the most part, Hickman was able to teach MMA techniques with the equipment that was already in the MTSU weight room.

“I got him to buy a speed bag because we had one at Florida State and a heavy punching bag for all the athletes, receivers, DBs, linemen just to (work) on hand-eye coordination,” Stockstill said. “Some of the things he’s doing now with MMA or boxing, either one, as a defensive lineman and as an offensive lineman you want to use your hands. I think all of that kind of stuff will help our guys down the road.”

What new exercises are you teaching in the weight room this offseason?

3. Video: High School Football Coach Teaches Players to Change a Flat Tire (1:26) (AL.com)

We all know coaching is about more than teaching the X’s and O’s of football. That’s why we love videos like this one.

Athens (Ala.) football coach Steve Carter teaches his players how to change a spare tire. (Video by Cody Gross / Twitter)

What are some of the things you teach your players outside of football?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!