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Master Defense Game Analysis – Part IV

Master Defense Game Analysis – Part IV

Author of The Master Defense, legendary California high school football coach Bob Troppmann, and CompuSports writer and former University of Minnesota quarterback Jim Reese viewed and taped the Penn State-Notre Dame game last week. Below is their report on The Master Defense’s role in that game.

Jim Reese-Bob, Penn State’s defense did not seem surprised at Notre Dame’s no-huddle offense. How would The Master Defense handle this situation? Bob Troppmann-The number system for linemen and the color system for aligning defensive backs is learned at the beginning of the season. The players do not have to learn a different defense each game. All the coaching staff need do is arrange the colors and numbers that will match any offensive set. A simple call by the defensive signal caller will be able to match strength with strength. For example, the defense called Red 33 places the strong safety to the side of strength, lined up five yards off the ball, splitting the wide receiver and the tight end. Red 33 utilizes three-deep zone coverage, a five man front with tackles in a 3 alignment, backers in a 5 alignment, and the nose tackle in a 0 alignment.

JR-Early in the second quarter, the fine Penn State free safety, Tony Davis, blitzed and sacked the ND quarterback at the 14:55 mark. Then, in the third quarter near the nine-minute mark, Donnie Johnson and Eddie Johnson had successive sacks on Quinn. How would this defensive stunting been called using The Master Defense?

BT-The Master Defense has a choice of two calls for the safety blitz.

Blue Cloud Blitz at 9 means that the free safety will blitz from his pre-rotated position, which is 5 yards deep, splitting the wide receiver and the offensive tackle. The Green call, which is actually cover 1, man-free, means the free safety will blitz at any opening he so chooses, and the rest of the defensive personnel play man coverage, i.e., left corner has the flanker, strong safety has the tight end, the strong side linebacker has the near back to his side, the weak linebacker has the near back to his side, and the right corner has the split end.

See Electronic Flip Chart for Red and Green Coverage and Blitz variations with alignments, technique, and keys.

JR-From his own 48 on second and 20 with 5:38 to go in the first half, Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn threw a perfect 29-yard pass to tight end John Carlson, lined up in the right slot, straight up the hash-mark in the second quarter. Was there blown coverage on the play?

BT-No, actually Penn State had the play covered perfectly. With second and 20, Penn State went to a three-man rush with five linebackers spread underneath and three-deep coverage in the secondary. Both the strong-side linebacker and the safety had the slot man double covered. Working from the shot gun, it appeared to Quinn that he could place the ball over the linebacker and in front of the safety. A quick head fake outside by Carlson froze the defensive halfback for a moment and then Quinn hit him immediately on his break beyond the linebacker. It was a beautifully thrown twenty-yard spiral that Carlson reached up to snare between the two defensive men, moving downfield for nine more yards after the catch. The play set up a touchdown to put ND up, 13-0. The selling of the fake with pump action by Quinn and the accuracy of the throw against the correct defense shows why he is a Heisman candidate.

JR-A key turnover occurred with ND up 20-0 when Penn State had a third & 2 from its own 28 on its initial possession of the second half. Quarterback Anthony Morelli found himself in no-man’s-land trying to execute an option play down the line of scrimmage. Met at the corner by the defensive end and the strong linebacker, the quarterback tried to get the lateral to a trailing back and fumbled when he was hit by both defenders. Free-safety Tom Zbikowski alertly scooped up the ball and ran it in for a score. What defense were the Irish in and what made it work so successfully?

BT-That was one of the few times all day ND went to a five-man front. The quarterback reverse pivoted giving the left defensive end the extra second he needed to penetrate across the line of scrimmage. The defensive end crashed quickly, forcing the quarterback to pitch quicker than usual while the strong-side linebacker pinched from inside-out on the quarterback. The result was a poorly pitched ball which was picked up on the first bounce by the free-safety who was coming up to contain against the pitch. The resulting touchdown put the game totally out of reach at 27-0, Notre Dame.

Bob and I will continue our discussions on The Master Defense as the 2006 season progresses.

Complete Index of The Master Defense Game Analysis Series 8/23/2006 The Master Defense Game Analysis Series
8/30/2006 The Master Defense Game Analysis – Pt 2
9/8/2006 The Master Defense Game Analysis – Pt 3
9/22/2006 The Master Defense Game Analysis – Pt 4
(click the title to view the article)

For more information about the Master Defense, and to view an online version of the Master Defense “flip chart” visit . Click here for a sample chapter and a complete table of contents from The Master Defense eBook .

This article was written by Jim Reese. Jim was a quarterback and assistant coach at the University of Minnesota and is now retired and lives in Tampa, Florida, where he reports on sports for a local newspaper.

Learn about and download Jim’s eBook, How to Win at Flag Football

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