Welcome back, Coaches. Hope you enjoyed the weekend. Here are three stories we’d like to share.

1. The Tite Front: Why defenses are tightening down the interior of their defense (USA Football Blogs)

If you’ve been paying attention to football in general over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed a trend emerging on the offensive side of the football. More teams are opening up their offensive sets to give spread looks and space out defenses.

One of the answers defenses have come up to combat this is moving to the “Tite” front and adjusting their team to a three-down linemen package to get more speed guys on the field to defend offenses.

Here’s an example of the LSU defense using the Tite front.

The Tite front allows your inside linebackers to play without being an “in-conflict” player. You are going to be faced with offenses that want to run some sort of RPO scheme. The toughest part about playing an even front is that eventually you are going to run into a point where a linebacker either needs to exit the core and go out and play in space, or they are going to be a run-gap defender and a pass dropper at the same time.

Offenses have evolved to the point that quarterbacks are reading defenders to see their next move. If they don’t step up, the quarterback hands the ball off. If they leave their designated pass drop, the quarterback throws the hot route right behind them. What the Tite front does is allows your defenders to not in be in conflict when they are in the core of the formation. Because you are gapped out with four defenders on the interior, your fifth player is a free hitter and your sixth man in coverage has edge run responsibilities but can play the pass first by alignment.

What adjustments do you make to your play-calling and strategy when you face off against a Tite front?

2. Master class chess games of 2018: Mullen vs Aranda (Football Study Hall)

Heading into his first year as head coach of the Florida Gators, Dan Mullen has two years of experience dealing with coordinator Dave Aranda’s LSU defense from his time in the SEC West with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Mullen is a master of spread-option run schemes but heading into the first of his bouts with Aranda from his new seat in Gainesville, the Gators didn’t quite have the ideal spread-option personnel yet.

The Tigers’ love of matching up in man coverage typically means that their DBs will load up to the wide side of the field while they trust their OLB/DE to force the run on the short side of the field.
Many of Mullen’s plays to run the ball consequently focused on attacking the boundary overhang for LSU, knowing that if they could beat that man the Tigers’ would be left without much cover.

Their main approach would be to use 3×1 formations that would typically see the Tigers spin down their strong safety and ask their OLB to force the ball on the boundary, much like in the diagram above. Sometimes that would involve the TE flexed to the field, other times he’d line up to the boundary while all three receivers went to the field. When they were in a flex set they tried some dart plays but couldn’t block the Tiger front effectively.

Their 3×1, especially the nub trips set, also tended to draw a 46 front from the Tigers with the OLB on one edge and then one of the ILBs on the opposite edge. They caught the Gators trying to run a dart-read on that front, Franks pulled the ball only to be chased down by the OLB on the edge after a three yard gain.

How do you combat a spread-option offense?

3. Dolphins, Baptist Health South Florida Donate Equipment To Felix Varela High School (MiamiDolphins.com)

The Miami Dolphins and Baptist Health South Florida surprised the Felix Varela Senior High School football team with equipment to help create a safer and healthier environment for their programs yesterday. The donated equipment included Junior Dolphins and Baptist Health branded shirts, an end zone camera, medicine balls, a cooling fan, cleats, shoulder pads, backpacks, footballs and Gatorade product.

“When the truck opened and we saw all of this equipment come out, the emotions from the players, that’s an overwhelming experience and we’ll certainly take this opportunity and capitalize off of it,” said Felix Varela Senior High School Head Football Coach Patrick Ledan.
“I believe the end zone camera, that was a big improvement to our equipment here,” said sophomore quarterback Dominic Medina. “That way we can see the field better and we can get a higher elevation viewpoint. It will help us out a lot.”

Coaches — If you find yourself in a situation in which you’ll need a donation like this in order to keep your players safe, it is worth looking into whether your closest NFL team has a program like this.

This is the second Junior Dolphins Equipment Donation this year. The Dolphins also made a donation to Pahokee High School in April. In 2018, the Dolphins made donations to Miramar High School in May, Pompano Beach High School in July, Booker T Washington in August, Spanish River High School, Key West High School, Marathon High School and Coral Shores High School in September and Glades Central Community High School in November.

What partnerships with college or pro teams have helped your program?

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!

About the author

Dan Guttenplan