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Florida State football Tutorial Tuesday: Blitzing 101 by Adam Fuller

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Turning defense into offense.

NCAA Football: Memphis at South Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Originally published Mar. 2020

In the era of spread offense and run-pass options (RPO’s), the life of a defensive coordinator is nerve-wracking. No matter what they do, they’re liable to be wrong.

Defensive coordinator Adam Fuller is the kind of coach who believes you need to be on the offensive when coaching defense. This kind of mindset is one we’ve seen in some of college football’s elite coordinators.

On Tutorial Tuesday we get the chance to break down a play or scheme for all the football lovers out there. When writing recently about Fuller’s defensive scheme, it became apparent he loves to blitz. Not only does he love to blitz, he loves to do so on early downs.

One of the most enjoyable parts of having hybrid positions on defense is the ability to do myriad things: you can blitz from everywhere. Don’t be surprised if you see the Bandit and Stud being sent off the edge early and often this fall. Specifically, don’t be surprised if you see Cover 0 Pinch (DL takes the near gap to their inside) Bandit/Stud pressure.

(In fairness, Fuller probably has an elaborate name for this pressure, but I’m not privy to that information, so I’ll spell it out.)

The blitz itself is highlighted below via animation:

Okay, folks, what exactly are we looking at here?

Front:

The F (Fox) taking a lateral step to his right and hard into the B-gap. It’s important to note that B-gap is attached to that guard’s hip, so if he steps away, the Fox must be attached playing that B-gap. The 3-tech will be taking a later step to his right and then up the field into the A-gap. The steps by the Fox and the 3-tech have to be flat and not gaining ground, so as to cross the tackle and guard’s faces. The 1-tech will play in his A-gap, getting up the field, and the end will take a lateral step into the B-gap. The end wants that tackle to come with him, leaving the Stud untouched on his rush.

Bandit/Stud:

The Bandit will be working from varying depths on his rush. At times, Fuller brings the Bandit late, but he has him show blitz early. There are numerous reasons to do this, but we’ll save that for another time. The Stud will time the blitz to be on the run when the ball is snapped. There are certain scenarios where the blitz would be called off, but we’ll save that for another time, as well. The Bandit would have to peel off his blitz if he sees the running back releasing to his side.

Linebackers and Secondary:

These players are picking up man coverage across the formation. The corners will take the number one wide receivers. The field safety will take the number two receiver to the field. Meanwhile, the Will LB takes the number two receiver into the boundary, while the Mike LB takes the number three to the field. For the Mike, if number three is the back, he’ll green dog him (meaning the Mike has the back in coverage, but if he stays in to block, the Mike is free to blitz).

Here are three examples of this blitz:

In this clip, only the bandit comes on 1st down:

Another 1st down blitz where both the Bandit and Stud come:

Here come the Bandit and Stud on 3rd and goal.

This should give Florida State fans a glimpse of what to expect pressure-wise from a Fuller-coached defense. They’re going to attack you from every angle and on any down. Offenses best beware!