Goal Line with an Under Front

By Jerry Gordon

Football is about momentum, and nothing changes momentum within a game like a successful goal line stand.

This defense is called Goal Line Cover 4 and should only be played when the offense presents two tight ends and a minimum of two running backs. The great thing about this goal line package is the similarities it has with the under front, which will minimize teaching and allow your defense to play with more confidence under pressure.

Goal Line Cover 4 uses the same aggressive coverage reads in a regular in field defense. There are two 9 techniques, so you have to make a decision whether to play your Rover, backup Sam or another player as the second 9 technique and train them to do the skills required.

Goal Line Cover 4 is played with two 2i techniques with the nose and the tackle. In goal line defense, the Bandit always lines up in a 5 technique unless the defense is tagged with a call.

The Mac and the Will line up in 30 techniques about 3½ to 4 yards off the line of scrimmage.

The Mac and Will reads remain the same in goal line defense as they are in the under defense.

The Sam uses his same alignment rules that he uses in the regular under defense.

The defensive backs play approximately 5½ to 6 yards from the line of scrimmage.

This goal line defense will always have two look players and a sky call to both sides of the defense. If the offense presents a wide receiver, the corner to his side plays man-to-man.

Goal Line Cover 4 Versus Double Tight 

The corner and the free are look players, and both have a sky call to their side. The other corner is man-to-man on the wide receiver.

The closer you are to the goal line, the tighter the man-to-man corner should play. Many teams like to play the man corner from press coverage.

When there are three backs in the backfield, both corners have a sky call to their side. The free must balance up since the offense is balanced.

When there is an offset running back, the free must offset to the side of the extra running back to create even numbers on both sides of the ball. Creating even numbers means that the offense and the defense will have the same number of players on both sides of the ball.

The Mac linebacker also moves to a 20 technique because of the extra defender to his side. If the offset back were on the other side, the Will moves to a 20 technique.

Goal Line Cover 4 variations

Goal line, as with any other base defense, can be adjusted to help stop the offense’s best plays.

Use film study or personal scout study to determine the offense’s best goal line plays. Many of the same calls that applied in the under defense also apply to the goal line defense.

Goal Line Pinch

The Bandit and the end both execute a pinch call. Obviously, this call is good when an inside run is expected.

Jerry Gordon has coached with the Boston Breakers of the USFL; on the college level at Northeastern, UMass, Yale; and at the high school level at Sandwich (Mass.) and Potomac Falls (Va.).