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Stopping the Up-Tempo, No-Huddle

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© October, 2014

by Rex Lardner
Managing Editor

The goal of the up-tempo, no-huddle offense is to run as many plays as possible. Total plays, total yardage and scoring have escalated exponentially at all levels of football. Now every inch of the field has to be covered against the spread offense Ė both vertically and horizontally.

Successfully stopping this offense is like trying to corral a runaway train. In many cases, defenses try to contain the spread attack rather than stop it. Over the past few years, both American Football Monthly and Gridiron Strategies have published a number of articles on defending the spread. Most coaches will agree that preparation is critical and that the right defensive scheme must be used to have success against this offense.

In this issue of GS, Casey Jacobsen, the co-defensive coordinator at Morningside College, discusses defending specific types of spread offenses. According to Coach Jacobsen, determining the type of spread offense you are facing is the key to being successful against it. For example, is it the spread power run offense of Gus Malzahn and his Auburn Tigers? Or, could it be an air raid spread offense that Mike Leach employs at Washington State? It could even be a speed option offense that Rich Rodriguez of Arizona runs.

After determining what you are about to face, the next item to take into account is the tempo at which your opponent runs the offense. It is critical, according to Coach Jacobsen, to identify numbers, leverage and match-up problems as soon as possible. From there, you must determine their personnel weaknesses and strengths so that you can better position your defense. Analyzing formation, down and distance and situational tendencies will also allow you to be better prepared.

Coach Jacobsenís last word of advice is to make it as simple as possible for your players. Isnít that always the best way?

We hope you enjoy the entire issue of GS and welcome your feedback.


 Rex Lardner
 Managing Editor

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