Coaching Basics: Developing a System of Communication

Football Defense AlignmentsTo be an effective coach, you have to establish a system of communication on your defense. Your players need to be able to communicate quickly with both you and the other players on the defense.

We start that system of communications when we give names to our positions, and teach them the names of the Offensive positions. And you better be teaching that – your kids don’t all know what a Guard is unless you’ve taught them. Don’t believe me? Ask them.

From there, we need a system to communicate our alignment and assignments. We need to be able to quickly state where each player will line up. We need to tell him exactly what he is responsible for.

In our first video in the Coaching Basics series, you will learn three key pieces of communication:

  1. Communicating alignments. Most of us are familiar with terms like a “3-Techinique” but the terms are not universal. Get a basic system of alignments to communicate with players quickly on where to line up.
  2. Communicating gap assignments. Who’s got the A Gap? Which player is responsible for C Gap? This is essential understanding to building a gap sound, run stopping defensive front.
  3. Communicating Receivers. When you are putting your coverage package together, where will the secondary align? 7 by 1 inside of the #1 Receiver? Apex the #2 Receiver and the End Man? What does it all mean? Your players need to know.

Our Coaching Basics series is an in-depth overview of coaching defensive football. If you’ve been on or other sites around the internet and felt like your head was swimming, this is going to be a great place to start. Members have access our Coaching Basics Video Series. You can get a 7 Day Free Trial Membership right now, just click here.

To watch the first video for free, click the Play Button below.

  • Pingback: Why You Coach Run Fits, Not Gap Responsibility | Football-Defense Report()

  • Pingback: Coaching Basics: Man Coverage vs. Zone Coverage | Football-Defense Report()

  • Coach Daniel

    Tommy, what rules do you give your guys for what’s a Tight Split and what’s a Wide Split? What’s the logic between the change from the 3 to the 4i? I love the detail, we don’t want our guy to be a robot.

    I started this thread in the forum: and would love to hear rules for adjusting Defensive Line alignment based on OL splits.

  • Tommy Acklin

    Our players adjust according to the splits of the offensive lineman. For example, if our B gapper has a wide split between the Guard and Tackle, he aligns in a 3. If there is a tight split, he would align in a 4I. With eithers alignment, he maintains his gap assignment.

  • Coach Daniel

    We have run a “Gaps” call, which was just our Over front, but the DL align in the gaps on a pass rush down. I would not do it as a base because they are too easy to down block.

    If you’ve ever seen a really good Split Back Veer team that has the big 4+ foot splits, its really tempting to line up in the gap. Then you find out that they just love that.

  • Bill Owens


    In every front, you see defensive linemen aligning head-up or shaded on an offensive linemen.
    Are D-linemen ever taught to line up in the gap directly between O-linemen; ie, squarely in the A or B gap?