Coaching Outlaws The Fundamentals
© June, 2008
by Mark Hendricks Defensive Backs Coach, James Madison University
While at Rowan University in 2006, our defense converted from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a full time, 3-5-3 scheme. The ‘Outlaws’ in our scheme are referred to as the ‘Prof’ and ‘Tango’ outside safeties. The term outlaw is derived from those players who are not big enough to be linebackers, not fast enough to be corners and not rangy enough to be free safeties. But they are ballplayers who must be on the field. One of our outspoken seniors coined the name Outlaws, which I feel fits who we are in this defense.
For a positional coach, preparing to coach the Outlaw safeties is a nightmare. They play a demanding position that requires them to shed blocks, tackle in space, cover man-to-man, play quarters coverage and as a free safety, blitz hard core. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss a few fundamentals of the Outlaw position including stance, reads, keys and drills.
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