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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Football 202 for Women

10:30 AM |

Part play continued...

If you've been following my football posts at all you should be able to know 2 things about me. 1 - I love football and 2 - it is my personal mission to make the women of the world who don't love football less annoying during football season.  It's been a minute since our last lessons, so if you need to review please see the following:

Football 101 for women part 1
Lesson 2 - Defense
Football 101 for women part 3
Football 201 for women - game play

Today I'd like to talk a bit about the defense.  For me, I'm all about the defense.  Not sure why, but I get more excited about a good tackle and 3 and outs than I do about a long pass . LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! (unless it involves my teams -- get it together fellas, smh) But I digress.

Without getting deep into defensive strategy, let's just discuss the general idea behind what the defense does and define some frequently used terms.

The goal of the defense is to prevent the other team from moving down the field and scoring. They can do so by preventing their runners from running past them down the field.  They can keep the receivers from catching the ball.  They can tackle or pressure the quarter back, making him make mistakes or keep him from throwing the ball.  They can try to catch the ball the quarterback tries to throw at his receivers (interception), or they can try and take the ball away from a receiver/runner after they have the ball(force a fumble or turnover).  As long as what they do doesn't cause any penalties (and ideally no injuries), they are going to do whatever they can to keep the other team from scoring.

Here are some of the ways they try to keep the other team from scoring and some common terms you may hear through out the game:

Run Defense
If a team is known for giving the ball to one of their runners and not throwing as much, or if the current position of the offense usually leans more towards a run than a pass, the defense will set themselves up to stop that run play.  The way you can tell they're planning on trying to stop a runner is by looking to see where most of the defensive players are lined up.  If they have a lot of men close to the line of scrimmage, then they are preparing to stop a runner. The more players they have up front, the faster they can get to a runner and the fewer yards the other team will get.

Pass Defense
This is the opposite of a run defense.  If the team believes their opponent is going to throw the ball, they are going to try and stop them by providing coverage in one of two ways: Man-to-Man: for every man on the field the quarterback can throw the ball to, the defense assigns one of their guys to follow him. Zone: assigning a player to a specific area of the field so that if the ball comes anywhere near that area, they are responsible for going after whoever comes in that area.

This is when the defense feels the best option to stop a team from advancing is to get the quarterback.  The defense will send as many guys as they can after the quarterback to stop him from throwing the ball or handing it off to another player.   There are so many ways to do this, but when you see a majority of the defense going straight for the quarterback - that's usually a blitz.

Along with the variety of teams and coaches, comes a variety of defensive plays, line ups, and strategies. All of these specific to the team using them. We could discuss 3-4, 4-3, 4-4, Nickle, and Dime formations, but I'll leave that for extra credit ;) These were just a few of the more general and common terms and concepts you'll hear throughout the game.  As always - happy football watching.