The Zen of Blitzing: Man Pressures in the 3-5 Defense

The 3-5-3 defense is best known for the aggressive play calling style that most coaches who utilize this front prefer. While there are many who will argue that the stereotypical 3-5 defense is nothing more than a myth, I prefer to do the opposite.

In fact , let’s throw gas on the fire. The only reason to run the 3-5 is if you are fast and undersized. And you love…LOVE…to blitz.A little too drastic the other way now? Probably. But let’s take a look at some big time, 6-man blitzes for the over-aggressive psychopaths whom make this great defense what it is today.

Middle Blitz

As with all of our 6 man pressures we will play Cover 0 behind it, a straight man coverage with no help for anyone. All 5 players in man coverage will play inside leverage if their man is removed from the line of scrimmage.

Zoo is simply going to send our 3 defensive linemen and our 3 inside linebackers blitzing to the 6 inside gaps up front (A, B, C gaps on both sides). You can use any normal line stunt and the Zoo call for a play that is highly aggressive and cheap to install.You could also use a Zoo X Blitz coupled with the Jacks line stunt. This tells the two backers blitzing A and B together to cross, exchanging gaps and adding even more pressure.With the Free Safety in this blitz, I like to walk him down to 7 yards as the Backers are prowling up. On the snap he is keying the running back for a pass release. If he gets run, he can fit up into the play faster. If he gets a pass set by the back, he can blitz-engage.

Double Edge Fire

A great blitz for bringing heavy double edge pressure is to bring the two Outside Linebackers (sometimes called the spur and bandit, or overhang safeties) and the Mike Linebacker. Couple this with a pinch stunt out of the Defensive Line and you have a really effective blitz.

Note that you may want to be able to check this blitz against 10 personnel formations because you may want one of your OLBs to handle man coverage on a speed player who is split out.

Single Edge Attack

A final way to bring a 6 man pressure is to bring all of the speed from one side. We can bring the OLB, Inside Backer and Middle Linebacker coupled with a slant away from where we are bringing the pressure.

From a shear numbers disadvantage you will usually want to bring this from the weak side. If you get aTrips formation when you are trying to bring this type of pressure from the strong side, you will be forced to check out of it.

Another good way to use this blitz is to use the pressure from the Boundary side, meaning the short side of the field, when the ball is on the Hash. This will also let your Free Safety get down a little later against all but Trips formations, with relatively little room for the #2 Receiver weak to create separation.

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  • Coach Daniel

    Love the Bear front. Combining it with the blitz mentality of the 3-5-3 is a good way to go!

  • Jermaine

    I learned this defense a few years ago when I joined up with a spring football team. The scheme is very pro aggressive which I love (never been one to read and react). I was just an asst that first year so I got to see how it was run. I noticed the weakness of the scheme (off tkl vs 3yds and a cloud of dust teams, single wing/bone). So after I took over the defense I installed my vaunted bear front which was very easy to add and 70% of the play calls could still be used (had over 120+). We went undefeated giving up only 3 tds and allowing the other team to cross the 50 yard line 5 times for the entire season.

  • John McBride

    I installed the 3-5 system this past winter. (I had previously ran the system with another team and enjoyed the results.)

    Like the numbering system mentioned above, my blitzes are in the same manner….
    BAT (Backers in A)
    BOB (Backers in B)
    BIC, well you get the picture.

    The results this year are staggering…in 11 games….given up only 35 points; points scored 44; 17 interceptions and 11 fumbles!

    The players love playing the system and I love the results!

  • Joe

    Nice, I like the numbering system. Very simple. And the overaggressive psychopathiness.

  • Kevin Colburn

    Over agressive psycopath…that fits me so well.

    One thing we incorporate are twists. We label our backers with numbers/(1,2,3,4,5) and simple call a front (Base) a stunt (Slant Strong) and a Blitz 23 twist. All this does is change the Gap resposibilities For our Sam and Mike. It is a very effective run blitz!

  • Joe

    Absolutely, the 4-2-5 is the perfect complement to the 3-5-3 since only your front 6 change. Thanks!

  • http://defense-football Steve Brown

    I’ve been running the 3-5-3 for the past 4 years now and I personally love it. The best pass protection is the QB on his backside.
    I also like the 4-2-5 as a partner defense to the stack. With a little luck you can run both allignments with the same personnel and have a big surprise for the no-huddle and hurry – up offensive guru’s.

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