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Defending the Air Raid Offense

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© December, 2013


by Curt Block

Having the right front and coverage is critical to defending the four-verticals package.

The increasingly popular air raid offense presents a predominantly short passing game, an attack that creates matchup problems in space, an often disguised running attack, and often lights out numbers.

The high-powered, pass-first air raid play, exhibited by such schools as Texas Tech and Washington State, has generated a buzz across the football landscape. Gridiron Strategies solicited opinions on how best to cope with this up-tempo style of play from Joe Klanderman, Defensive Coordinator at Minnesota State-Mankato; Joe Dettwiler, Head Coach at Wisconsin-LaCrosse; and Joe Daniel, Defensive Coordinator at Prince George High School in Virginia.

GS: What is your strategy against a four-vertical/air raid offense?

Klanderman: You must have some multiplicity. You have to give different looks. I like to pressure the line of scrimmage. I don’t necessarily mean blitzing. I mean pressuring different points of the offense, whether it’s pressing receivers or getting into some great cover downs against receivers or stressing different areas of the protection.

Dettwiler:  It varies with on the strength of the quarterback. You have to be able to disrupt the timing of the passing game. You have to force them to do what they don’t want to do. Think out of the box. Give ...The full article can only be seen by subscribers.
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