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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 Attack the 4-3 Under Defense Part Two

The previous installment in this series covered how to run triple option to the 1-5-9 side. The most feasible way to do so, is to get into Heavy to assure yourself that you can block the PSLB. If you cannot block him, the defense can outnumber you on the perimeter and shut down Triple Option. This is assuming you need to utilize the Ace-Technique on the 1-Technique. If the Ace isn’t required to block him, then you can loop release your playside tackle, level two to level three. 

Mike Scrapes on Triple Option


As you should have picked up on the last few days is that your answer to a scraping Mike-Backer on Triple option is Zone Dive. Although Zone Dive has been phased out just a bit in the last year or two by the Division-One Flexbone Schools, it’s still a viable part of the offense, and serves a specific purpose. Zone Dive is to be run when the PSLB is scraping over the top on Triple Option. 

Zone Dive to the 1-5-9 Side v. 4-3 Under


As I’ve reiterated time and again the Flexbone Offense is system based. There are answers within the system that will solve your problems. Don’t abandon the offense at the first sign of trouble. Dedicate yourself to learning the entire system. In the financial world it’s called Return on Investment. See how it pays off for you. 

We’ve now formulated a viable plan to run Triple Option and Zone Dive to the 1-5-9 side of this defense. Rocket Toss is not a great play unless #2 is colliding with the playside tackle on his loop release; the 9-tech has you out-leveraged otherwise. Midline is also not a good choice against a 1-5 side, since the play was invented in the early 90’s to combat 3-techniques. 

Let’s stick with the 1-5-9 side now and examine what the defensive options against Heavy would be. The first decision the defensive coordinator will need to make is; will we balance to the offense or do we want to maintain numerical superiority to the strength?

How Will They Align to Heavy?


The safest assumption you can make is they will shift their secondary to the Heavy side (see above). Whether or not they shift their defensive line is debatable. If they stay in the alignment as shown Midline back to the weakside is a very good play. Triple Option is applicable as well. If they stay with the defensive line alignment as shown above they are permitting you to run Triple Option to the Heavy side as long as you want; similar to how Navy played against Notre Dame a few years ago. I’ll delve deeper into the 3-5 side plays in the next article. 

If they move the backside DT to a shade they are giving up Triple Option back to the weakside like Navy exploited against Notre Dame this season.  Either way you are going to be able to run Triple Option; which is the first thing you should look for anytime you change formations or the defense align differently. If they balance up their defensive tackles, and put them both in 2-techniques, your job it to determine which side would be better to run Triple Option to. In this situation the defense is balanced, so you must look to the angles to find the defenders who are in the weakest position to defend Triple Option. You will find it’s better to run Triple Option to the weakside, because #2 and #3 are further removed from the line of scrimmage. 

Triple Option to the Weakside of Heavy v. 4-3


The defense does put their secondary in a predicament by aligning balanced to the Heavy Side. If you look back at any of the diagrams or have run Heavy in the past, you know the defense often times neglects the weakside of heavy, especially in the passing game. One easy concept you can and should add to your scheme is the post-flat route on the backside. It’s the same combination that Navy used to score a touchdown in the 4th quarter against Notre Dame this season

Post-Flat Play-Action Combination on the Backside of Heavy


The next installment of this series will cover the options you have back to the 3-5 side of the defense out of the spread set. Then we will examine some adjustments you could expect to that side, as well as some counter plays that would then be available back to the 1-5-9 side after you started to exploit the defense the other way. Commitments to the Flexbone Association Academy have been coming in frequently in the last few weeks. It looks like we are going to have a very strong group of coaches who will improve their programs for next season. I couldn’t be happier to be working with all of you. 

Photo: Jeff Montgomery

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