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Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

How to Handle Dominant Interior Defenders


From 2007-2010 Navy defeated Notre Dame three out of four seasons. The one year they lost was by a score of 27-21. When facing far superior interior defenders, there are a number of techniques that the Flexbone Offense can use. Due to talent mismatches Navy has often had trouble with dominant interior players, especially nose tackles or one-techniques. Navy’s standard veer blocking rules dictate that the center scoop to the playside when running inside veer. This becomes problematic at times when the nose tackle is slanting hard. If he slants hard to the playside he forces the fullback to cut the ball back behind him (What the fullbacks are taught to do anyway). This means that there will likely be a 20 linebacker or a 3 tech behind the nose tackle expecting to make plays. If the nose guesses wrong, they usually quickly attempt to backdoor the play and make the tackle on the dive (This is assuming he can beat the cut block from the backside guard). In 2010 Navy started Brady DeMell at center. At the time he was listed at 6’3” 295 from Mentor, OH. Starting at nose tackle for Notre Dame was Ian Williams who is 6’2” 305 from Altamonte Springs, FL, and currently playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Although it’s proven Brady was an effective player at Navy, his only Division-One offer was from Navy.

Prior to 2010 Notre Dame had used an odd front defense against Navy Under Brian Kelly the strategy is a little different than it was under Charlie Weis. From 2007-2010 Navy rushed for 257 (’07) 178 (’08) 348 (’09) 367 (’10) respectively, including 438 yards of total offense in 2010.  What they showed in this game were a few concepts that they have not utilized often in the past, but they’ve shown that they are both great techniques to be used when facing a superior nose tackle. 

The basis of Navy’s attack against Notre Dame was to use what they call 12/13 Ace. 12/13 is their terminology for inside veer, and the ace tag simply means that the playside guard and center will double team the nose tackle. This is especially effective when used with a heavy set (both tackles on the same side of the center, or tackle over) 

On Navy’s third play from scrimmage they faced a 3rd and 1 from their own 10 yard line. They lined up in heavy left and ran 13 ace. The result was a 54 yard run from fullback Alexander Teich. The tackle didn’t take the dive. The double team cancelled the nose. The tackle veer released for the inside linebacker. The over tackle released to block level two to level three.

13 Ace out of Heavy

13aceoutofjumbo

On the next play from scrimmage Navy ran the same play out of the same formation. This time the play was stopped for a gain of one. The outside linebacker for Notre Dame squeezed the over tackle and kept him off the scraping linebacker Manti Te’o now of the San Diego Chargers. The tackle took the dive, the OLB took the Quarteback and the linebacker (Te’o) was free to run the alley to the pitch. 

Due to the squeeze and scrape technique used what would Navy do in response? If you have been following the Flexbone Association, the next logical step for them would be to run zone dive. This of course is what Navy Offensive Coordinator Ivin Jasper called on 2nd down; this time out of a heavy right formation, and to the right side. The play gained three yards and gave Navy a 3rd and 5 from the Notre Dame 31 yard line. The 3rd and 5 play was a screen pass to Alexander Teich for a 31 yard touchdown. The Navy Offense traversed the length of the field in just over 3:00 minutes and six plays.

On the second drive of the game Navy came right back out in heavy left and ran rocket toss in that direction. They lined up in heavy right on the second play and ran inside veer. This time the OLB was playing pitch, the DT was playing dive and the ILB was playing QB. The ILB was blocked and Ricky Dobbs ran for an 11 yard gain. A zone dive cut back behind the nose tackle and another rocket toss to the heavy side allowed Navy to uickly move the ball into Notre Dame territory. 

A pass interference call on the first play of the second quarter moved Navy to the 26 yard line, Navy moved the ball to the 18 yard line and faced a 3rd and 2 situation. To this point all Navy has done to Notre Dame is neutralize the nose tackle by either double teaming him with the center and playside guard, of they’ve run rocket or zone dive and read the nose accordingly. They effectively have been taking him out of the game. 

The dilemma Navy now faced is how can they take care of Notre Dame’s inside linebacker Mantei Te’o, who is the best linebacker Notre Dame has had in years?

Navy again lined up in heavy left and ran 11 Midline (see below). Mantei Te’o flowed outside believing it was inside veer again. The tackle took the fullback. The over tackle blocked out on the outside linebacker. Navy inserted the slotback over the read and used the tackle to block under the read to effectively cancel out Te’o. The result was a gain of four and a first down for the Mids. Four plays later the Mids got into the end zone to extend the lead to 14-3, this time on counter option. 

11 Midline to Heavy

11midlinetoheavyv52

On the third drive Navy opened with their standard double slot formation. This time they ran Midline Triple. Now they were allowing the fullback Teich to read the nose tackle. When running Midline Triple they did not double the nose tackle. Running Midline Triple also allowed them to get both playside secondary defenders blocked rather easily. The beauty of Midline Triple is that the play is very constrictive (with the fullback dive directly up the center) and very expansive (with the possibility of a quick pitch to the slotback running the edge). The drive ended with a punt however. 

After an interception Navy began just it’s fourth drive of the game with just 1:59 left in the 2nd quarter. Notre Dame was not showing some reduced fronts on the shot side and a 1-5-9 look on the wide side; similar to what I wrote about yesterday. Navy ran Midline and Midline Triple and quickly scored on just five plays. Navy took a 21-10 lead into the half. 

The second half proved to be much of the same. Navy stuck to the game plan, and executed superbly. They ran a healthy dose of Midline and Midline Triple along with inside veer, zone dive, and rocket toss. They beat Notre Dame because they got off the ball, executed well and used formations and the ace concept to neutralize the nose and keep Te’o guessing.. It goes to show that a well executed game plan that is based around a few concepts that can adapt to what the defense is doing to those base concepts can and will succeed.

Keys to Success:

1. Executed Well

2. Got Off the Ball

3. Used the Ace technique to double team the nose tackle on Inside Veer

4. Used Midline and Midline Triple to continue to constrict and expand the defense. 

5. Stuck to what they have practiced all season long.

Do you want to execute the Flexbone Offense just like Navy? You only have one option? Contact Scott Jazdzewski with the Flexbone Association

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why You Must Commit to the Flexbone Offense Part Five – It Makes Game Planning/Film Study Easier | Flexbone Association - November 13, 2013

    […] Read part two of this series to learn how the Flexbone Offense minimizes the ability level of your opponents defensive line. When considering all levels of an opponents defense look for players you can exploit. Which D-Linemen is the weakest? Which one shows the most aggression and can be read more easily? If they have very good players in the interior of their defense, exploit them with scheme. […]

  2. Why You Must Commit to the Flexbone Offense Part Two – It Neutralizes Your Opponents Defensive Line | Flexbone Association - October 14, 2013

    […] consistently beats BCS level teams. They beat Notre Dame three times in a four year stretch. I know the transitive property is not a good analogy in […]

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