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The Four-Four Defense,

Bluejay Style
T he Minnesota West football program
is honored to contribute to the 2000
AFCA Summer Manual. On behalf of our
Creating Scoring Opportunities
Our second objective is to create scor-
ing opportunities by turnovers, scoring,
players and coaching staff, I would like to field position and three-and-outs. This
thank the AFCA for allowing Minnesota objective occurs because of the pressure
West to share a little bit about our put on by our defense, which causes the
defense. opposition to force mistakes or an inability
After taking over as head coach, I to get into an offensive rhythm. We have
wanted to develop a style of defense that installed the three and outs into our defen-
would employ an attacking style. The four- sive statistics as a type of turnover, so we
four has been a very effective and easily can track how often we create, as a
learned defense to implement into our defense, chances for our offense to score.
program. We have been very successful Attacking Defense: We use an attack-
with the four-four setting a number of ing style to create confusion within our
school records and being a nationally opponents offense. In order to put pressure
ranked defense two out of the last four on the offense, our defensive package will
years. All successful programs must be contain three components:
able to adapt and change to the adjust- 1. Area Control Defense: Each zone in
ments made by the opposing offenses. the box is responsible for an area that they
Scott Barber, my defensive coordinator, are to control of during each play. In order
has done an outstanding job adjusting and to enhance our area control, we use a wide
creating new ways to challenge opposing variety of line and linebacker stunts.
offenses. Before we start to break down 2. Read Reaction at Second Level:
our four-four stack defense, I would first The area control allows for our linebackers
like to share our defensive philosophy. to react and attack the line of scrimmage
There are three important points in our immediately. The secondary will add sup-
philosophy. port by rerouting receivers and providing
run support.
Jeff Linder Defend the End Zone 3. Relentless Pursuit: Each and every
The primary objective of our defense is member of the defensive unit will pursue to
Head Coach to prevent the opposing team from scoring the football every play until the whistle
points. To fulfill this objective, our defen- blows. Each player is expected to give 100
Minnesota West Community sive package will consist of the following: percent at all times in pursuit of the ball.
and Technical College Sound Fundamentals: Regardless of Stop the Ball: This is an area we
what type of defensive call that is made, strongly emphasize. Run oriented teams
Worthington, Minn. basic fundamentals must ultimately be will not be allowed to control the tempo of
conquered by each player. Sound princi- the game. It is important for our defense to
ples can include: run-force, cutback take teams that like to run the ball out of
reads, reverse/boot reads, pursuit, and their intended game plans and force them
communication. into mistakes.
Consistency: Our defense must be
able to show multiple stunts, fronts, and Play with Intensity
coverage to be able to adjust to any type Great defenses play with intensity.
of offense that we may see. This will allow Intensity starts with each individual player
us to keep a single defense, rather than and stems out over the whole defense. We
changing schemes from week to week. use the Bluejay Creed to guide our players,
Team Concept: When players enter and it consists of five components:
our program, it is imperative that individ- • Execute to the fullest.
ual players understand that they are part • Never underestimate.
of a bigger picture. The ultimate success • Be aggressive.
of the defensive unit falls upon each play- • No excuses.
er doing their job assigned to them. • Leave the field with no doubt.
Therefore, discipline in the execution of With our defensive philosophy being an
that responsibility is essential. Te a m attacking pressure defense, we put a lot of
goals hold preference to that of the indi- pressure on our secondary and rely on
vidual desires, and it is the responsibility their ability to play man coverage. Our sec-
of each player to be prepared both men- ondary players need to be very physical
tally and physically in order to perform at and fast players that have the ability to
the highest level possible. change types of coverages in split

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2000 •

moments. As we have success putting Diagram 3 ways, it can be a weak side or strong side
pressure on offenses, they tend to go to a loop, whichever fits the situation.
max protection by keeping their tight ends Diagram 6: Raiders Blitz
and backs in for pass protection. This takes
a lot of pressure off our secondary and
allows for our defense to create turnovers.
The four-four stack defense gives our
defensive unit more than pressure, it is a
defense that our players have fun running.
By running this defense, we have a lot
more intense practices, and hard work for can depend on how well your team com-
the players is now fun work. municates throughout the whole game.
Before we cover our blitz packages, I In Diagram 6, we have a short yardage
would like to discuss how we assign and How Do We Run Blitzes? stunt, which can be very effective in con-
align players so they understand their We base our blitz package out of the trolling areas. The raiders blitz is a stunt
responsibility and area to cover. four-four stack defense. We have the abil- where all linemen are slanting to their right
Diagram 1 ity to gain an extra rusher by bringing one and are responsible for their right area. All
up to cell four linebackers into their linebackers are blitzing to their left area
assigned blitz areas. Using a wide variety and are responsible for the left side of the
of blitzes causes confusion with in the area. This stunt can also be run in the
offensive unit and puts them into a defen- opposite way shown. The secondary are in
sive or protective mode. When you can a man to man coverage situation, this stunt
force the offense into a corner with relent- can put a lot of pressure on the secondary
less pressure, that’s when turnovers occur. if the stunt does not work.
Behind our blitzes, we will primarily play Again, on behalf of the Minnesota West
some form of three-deep coverage. We players and coaching staff, we would like to
Diagram 2 also have the ability to play some man to thank the AFCA for the opportunity to con-
man coverage. tribute to this year’s Summer Manual. I
Diagram 4: Fire would also like to thank all of those coach-
es who, through the years, have helped us
develop and grow in this great profession.
I hope this article can be of some benefit to
you and your program and wish you and
your staff the best of luck in the upcoming

Whenever we look at our defense, we Suggestions For

start from left to right when reading our Rules Changes
zone areas. In Diagram 4, we show zone No. 2 with a
Zone 1: Left defensive end and left out - fire blitz. The linemen fire to their outside gaps Members who have sugges-
side linebacker. and the linebackers fire to their inside gaps.
Zone 2: Left defensive tackle and left We also have a X stunt which we switch the
tions for football rules changes
inside linebacker. responsibilities of the linemen and lineback- should submit those ideas in
Zone 3: Right defensive tackle and right ers to do the opposite of the fire blitz. writing, stating the present
inside linebacker. Diagram 5: Double Loop rule, the proposed rule and the
Zone 4: Right defensive end and right reasons why the rule should
outside linebacker.
Each zone is responsible for covering
be changed.
two offensive areas, as shown in Diagrams
1 and 2. When we are blitzing, it is impor- Suggestions should be sent
tant for each zone to protect and cover the to:
area assigned to them.
In our four-four cover 1, we use a three Tubby Raymond
zone where the outside linebackers have a
curl to flat, working inside out. The two Diagram 5 shows the double loop. This
Head Football Coach
inside linebackers have the short middle or can be a confusing stunt for offenses, University of Delaware
hook zone. It is important whenever you especially if you start with X and fire. This Athletic Department
run a defense that your team talks to each stunt gives more of a natural delay blitz. Newark, Delaware 19716
other on the field. Success for a defense The double loop can be run in a variety of

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2000 •