Defending 2 Tight End Formations in the Under Front

under vs dot2 Tight End Sets can create some problems. 

The 4-3 Defense is an unbalanced front, compared to 8-man fronts like the 3-3-5 Defense and 4-2-5 Defense. Forcing it to balance up is a good strategy for Offensive Coordinators.

The Over Front can adjust to 2 TE sets. But the Under Front may be your best bet.

I do not use the Under Front against 1-back formations very often. But I love it against 2-back and 3-back sets with 2 Tight Ends.

The Will Backer will still make his Heavy Check. The Weak End slides out to a 7-technique.

That rule is consistent for the Will Backer. We keep it simple!

He slides out to avoid being an easy down block for the extra Tight End. There is no need for the 3-Technique Nose to slide out.

On the strong side, the 1-5-9 alignment (defensive line techniques) strengthens your defense against powers and sweeps.

With 22-Personnel and 32-Personnel sets, I like to invert the safeties. Our safeties are better tacklers. Put them in position to make tackles on the sweep plays.

Against 32-Personnel, I may only invert one safety.

under vs 32

That would be the safety to the wide side of the field against balanced backfields like Wishbone or Pistol Diamond. Against Power I, you only need to invert the safety to the side of the power back (offset back).

You do that because it allows the other safety to run sideline to sideline, rather than being up on the line of scrimmage away from where the outside run plays are most dangerous.

If you decide to use a Cover 3 Coverage, instead of the Quarters Coverage, you should invert the Free Safety. Otherwise, there is no one in position to force the play on the weak side – unless you use Corner force. We don’t teach corner force, so we don’t do it.

The Under Front needs to be a part of most 4-3 Defense attacks.

We base from the 4-3 Defense Over Front. The ability to jump into the under front is a huge help when we get these types of heavy formations.

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  • Nicholas Santosuosso

    how would you align verses the double wing? double tight double wing–sup
    er power and all that

  • BradCrisco

    Thanks Joe! And absolutely about two backs through one gap…much bigger issues at hand!

  • Coach Daniel


    No problem moving the Tackle to a 2i, you can certainly do that. All depends on what you need to stop and what fits your guys best. As for the 2 backs on Mike – there’s no way two bodies should ever get through the gap or we have much bigger problems!

  • BradCrisco

    With the under front 1 technique Tackle, do you ever move him out to a 2i? With a fullhouse backfield, seems like it may put Mike in a bind, with an easy downblock from the G on the 1 and the T sealing out the 5. Results in one, maybe two, lead backs on the Mike?