By Zach Davis
One of the most difficult aspects of playing defense is accounting for motion while bringing pressure. We will define pressure in this article as a five-player rush with Cover 1 behind it.
The easiest way to account for motion is to run with the motion, but the most effective way is to use the free safety to account for it. This allows defenders to maintain leverage on the jet sweep and keep box players in the box.
Use your personnel in a way that allows them to be effective. We talk a lot about letting cover guys cover while box players remain focused on stopping the run and rushing the quarterback. The I’ll use as an example comes from a 3-3-5 defense, and what we do is simple, allowing players to play really fast.
The first pressure we are going to look at is SAW. SAW stands for Sam and Will blitzing through the B gap.
The ends will play the C gap, becoming QB/force/BCR players. We tell the ends to feed the fire and turn the ball back to the blitzing linebackers.
The Sam and Will become dive/spill players because they are blitzing the B gap. Here is an example of SAW:
The second pressure is SAW Crash. SAW Crash stands for Sam and Will blitzing through the C gap.
The ends play the B gap, and they become the dive/spill players. We tell the ends to feed the fire and spill the ball to the blitzing linebackers.
The Sam and Will become QB/force/BCR players because they are blitzing the C gap. Here is an example of SAW Crash:
The last pressure is WAM, which stands for Will and Mike blitzing the B and A gaps away from the back.
The nose guard slants to the strong A gap. The ends will play the C gap, and they become QB/force/BCR players. We tell the ends to feed the fire and turn the ball back to the blitzing linebackers.
The Will and Mike become dive/spill players because they are blitzing the A and B gaps. Here is an example of WAM:
Using the free safety to handle motion is a great way to maintain leverage on jet sweep and tailback motion out of the backfield. It allows defenses to run your blitzes versus any formation and motion.
I am a huge fan of Cover 1. You can use it with three-, four- and five-player rushes, and your free safety can handle the motion, which allows you to maintain leverage.
Remember, the key to success on this is keeping the coverage simple and minimizing the thought process so your players can play fast.
Zach Davis is the head coach at Riverside High School in Belle, W.Va. Visit his website at zachdavis24.blogspot.com and download his podcast Mind of a Football Coach on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @ZachDavis24.