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October 1999

October 1999


Be Careful How You Identify Defenses

by: Homer Smith
Former offensive coordinator, Arizona, UCLA and Alabama
© October 1999

Conventional names for defensive alignments—like Eagle G and Four Across—do not tell you what your plays will face. Certainly, computer analysis will not if it is done after inputting conventional names.

What a given play will face is: (1) either a balanced or an unbalanced alignment, relative to your formation; (2) one defender who can keep himself free of pass routes, fakes, and blocks—an unoccupied defender, the counterpart of the offender who has the ball; (3) a degree of compression of defenders over your frontal blockers, which affects blocking angles; and (4) a reaction to the initial action of the play, which will determine where that unoccupied defender is relative to the ball.

This article is about these four features of defenses.

Balance or Unbalance

Picture your formation. If you h....The full article can only be seen by subscribers.
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