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Building A Rock-Solid Foundation For Defensive Success

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© April, 2006

by Scott Cramer
Defensive Coordinator, Verona Area High School, Verona, Wis.

ONE OF THE BIGGEST challenges that coaches face when preparing a defense for each game is that they have to make changes and adjustments to defend the opponent, while maintaining the base structure of their defensive scheme.

A second challenge is to maintain a manageable level of sophistication in the defensive schemes while eliminating player confusion. Coaching staffs will spend an off-season studying and learning new defensive schemes or modifying their existing schemes and make decisions on which new ideas to incorporate into their defensive systems. When the season arrives, the coaches will be excited about the new defensive ideas and changes � but this is a time when you need to be careful. Players can become overwhelmed when they�re handed a large playbook filled with multiple fronts, blitzes and coverages.

To combat these challenges, we�ve developed a �Foundation For Defensive Success� that we present to our players at the beginning of each season. Each player receives one piece of paper; one side addresses the entire defense, the other side addresses the player�s defensive position group (defensive line, linebackers, or defensive backs).

We strive to �play offense on defense� and aggressively attack as much as possible. We tell our players that we�ll try to use multiple fronts, stems, slants, blitzes, coverages, etc., in an effort to be a difficult defense to prepare for, but that everything we do will fall under the parameters set on that one piece of paper. We spend the first few days of practice explaining the foundation so that players understand how the pieces fit together as we install our defense.

We�ve found that this system reduces the pressures of ...The full article can only be seen by subscribers.
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