Friday, August 26, 2011

Pigskins & Pearls 101: Defense Formations

This week's addition of Pigskins & Pearls 101 will be covering the defensive side of the ball.  Defense schemes are more flexible than the offense.  The players are allowed to more around without penalty, unless they encroach into the neutral zone, where they will be flagged for offsides.  There are three main positions on defense - defensive lineman {tackles and ends}, linebackers, and defensive backs {cornerbacks, strong safety, & free safety}.  The secondary, think of it as the second line of defense, is the area where the safeties lineup.

4-3 Defense


1 & 2 - Defensive Tackles (DT)
3 & 4 - Defensive Ends (DE)
5, 6 & & - Linebackers (LB)
8 & 9 - Cornerbacks (CB)
10 - Strong Safety (SS)
11 - Free Safety (FS)

This is a basic defensive scheme.  It is termed the the 4-3, because there are four lineman and three linebackers.  It is easily be switched to a 3-4 defense by having three lineman and four linebackers.  The cornerbacks match up with the wide receivers.  The strong safety is likely to line up on the same side that the tight end lines up.  The free safety is "roaming" defender.  He is used for pass coverage and to top the runs up the middle.

You might hear the term Nickel defense.  It is called this because 5 {five cents} defensive backs are utilized.

When an opponent is heavy on the run game, the defense will look more like the 4-3 or 3-4.  If an opponent is a passing team, the defense may go to a nickel scheme.

Then, there is the blitz.  This is where the linebackers rush the offensive line rather than falling back into coverage.  They may go up the middle or around the end.  It might be a single linebacker blitz or a full blitz.

Remember, defense wins games!

1 comment:

Argyle & Alligators said...

I LOVE this blog! I also love your two blogs individually, but since I am a new lover of football, this is so fun. I especially love the explanation here :) So helpful! College football isn't really big up north so I never got into it, being born & raised in PA, but I just may have to find a SEC team I can cheer for - for now, go Cowboys!

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