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How does a coach decide which formation to use?

Coaching A Defense In Football

Darrin Chiaverini (Football Coach and Professional Athlete) gives expert video advice on: How does a coach decide which formation to use?; What is a 'blitz'?; When should a team blitz the quarterback? and more...

How does a coach decide which formation to use?

It depends on what the offense is doing. The defensive coaches, the defensive coordinater, he's looking to see what the offense is going to do offensively as far as if they're going to be in a four receiver set, they're going to be in a two tight-end set. So the defensive coordinator makes his calls off what the offensive does.

What is a 'blitz'?

A blitz is when someone other than a defensive lineman, either a linebacker or a secondary player, when on the snap of the ball he tries to get the quarterback without reacting to what the play is. He's just coming on the full blitz and trying to sack the quarterback or tackle the runningback on the back field.

When should a team blitz the quarterback?

It depends. It really does depend on the quarterback that you're facing. Some quarterbacks are very savvy and able to pick up blitzes and able if he notices a blitz is coming he'll change protection. Peyton Manning is very good at this. If you ever notice he checks protection almost on every play, and what that does is allows him to not throw the ball hot. Hot means that if two players come on one side and we can't block that blitz then we've got to throw to the receiver running a hot route. What Peyton Manninng does that is so great is he sees where the blitz is coming from early on and he'll change his protection in order to throw the ball down the field. It just depends on which quarterback you're playing. Some quarterbacks that are a little inexperienced, you might want to blitz them a lot because he won't know where the blitz is coming from and you'll be able to gain an advantage defensively.

What is the 'box' in football?

The box is also known as the tackle box. It's from tackle to tackle; usually you have anywhere from six to seven players in a box, you can also have an eight man box. What that is, where all your defensive linemen, and all your linebackers, and that's kind of where all the running games happens, is in the box. And so the box is considered about 10 yards wide between tackle to tackle.

How many defensive players should be in the box for a football play?

If you're playing an offensive team that has a really good run game, you want to keep six or seven players in the box. If you're in the goal line situation you want to keep eight men in the box. If you're playing a passing team like the Indianapolis Colts or the Patriots, you're probably going to have only maybe five or six people in the box because you have got to cover all those receivers running around. So it just depends on which offense you're playing against.

How can a defense force turnovers?

In a variety of ways. By pressuring the quarterback, blitzing them, also stripping the ball from a running back when he has the ball in his hands, also intercepting the ball if you're a defensive back. So there's a variety of ways you can get turnovers, it just depends on where those opportunities come. They come sometimes very shortly in the game, so you have to take advantage of your opportunities.

What is 'stripping the football'?

Stripping a football is when a running back has the ball in his arm and a defensive player rips it out. When he rips it out and the ball falls on the ground that's what's called a great strip by a defensive player. So that's what's called stripping.

What happens when you tackle an offensive player with the ball in their own end zone?

It's called a safety or the signal is like this. (Puts hands together) It's worth two points for the team that tackled the offensive player in the end zone and also it makes the team that got tackled in the end zone kick off. So you actually gain two possessions. You gain two points and you also get the ball back.