Author Topic: Amoeba 33  (Read 1307 times)

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Online gumby_in_co

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Amoeba 33
« on: February 19, 2019, 11:32:22 AM »
Mahonz and I are fielding a team of mostly Freshmen this Spring. I believe we have 4 8th graders out of 24 players. The weight limit for freshmen is 165lbs. To give an idea of what we're up against, last Spring, we had 7 total players over 200lbs, including 2 over 225 and 2 over 300. Offensively, we're resurrecting the A-11. Mahonz asked me to take the defense, so I was tasked with coming up with a way to play defense with no size.

One of the first defenses I ever learned was JJ's 33 Stack Attack. Mahonz also used "tap and go" stacks with his 335 Umbrella and we even had calls where we would use taps/stacks in the 46. I also borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible O-line" philosophy. Finally, I borrowed from one of Mahonz Jr's ideas of a 2-9 defense that he and Mahonz used to nearly upset an undefeated juggernaut offense several years ago. They held this team to 18 points who had to dig out the halfback pass to win the game.  The idea was to put 2 "sacrificial lambs" on the line in front of their insanely good OTs, then bring 4 from depth, long sticking, stunting and creating havoc.

I started with the assumption (right or wrong) that putting a kid on the D-line with his hand in the dirt offers no advantage if the kid is out-weighed by 50+ pounds.  That led me down a rabbit hole which had me questioning a basic tenet of defense. "Why do we play D-linemen at credit card depth with their hand in the dirt?". The answer, as best I could tell is that you are expecting a collision between DL and OL.  Provided both sides come off the ball at the same time and the same speed, the DL is conceding 1/2 of the starting distance from the LOS. So what if we refuse to play the "collision" game? 

I've taken my share of slings and arrows with the mega splits and climbing OL because it challenged another tenet of defense: LBs should be too athletic to get blocked by OLs. I think we were able to do it because our OLs work on it constantly. This Spring, defensively, I will bet on our opponents not working on blocking LBs with OLs. In the last 6 seasons, I've only seen one other team who sent linemen to block linebackers, so I'm playing the odds that few teams can do this effectively. So in the same way, we put big DLs in distress with the mega splits, I'm hoping to put big OLs in distress by playing vertically and in space. We hope to use timing and misdirection to take the space behind them when they climb. The best thing they can do is stay put and wait for us, which typically doesn't work well for offenses.

So, I came up with the attached and called it the "Amoeba 33". The goal is to attack the backfield relentlessly with 6 and to be completely unpredictable. There is an underlying order, but I think that order will be adequately disguised. There are 3 tools in the toolbox: 1) JJ (as in Lawson) is the traditional tap/stack. 2) Evel (as in Knevel) is the long-stick stunting look, and 3) Swayze (as in Patrick from the movie Ghost) is the Baltimore Ravens/Atlanta Falcons Mike Nolan look. Constantly moving/shifting and seldom doing what it appears you're doing.  After some consideration, I'll also put in a call for a down and dirty 60 front. I don't anticipate using it, but better to have it and not need it, right?

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Offline ZACH

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2019, 12:30:11 PM »
Mahonz and I are fielding a team of mostly Freshmen this Spring. I believe we have 4 8th graders out of 24 players. The weight limit for freshmen is 165lbs. To give an idea of what we're up against, last Spring, we had 7 total players over 200lbs, including 2 over 225 and 2 over 300. Offensively, we're resurrecting the A-11. Mahonz asked me to take the defense, so I was tasked with coming up with a way to play defense with no size.

One of the first defenses I ever learned was JJ's 33 Stack Attack. Mahonz also used "tap and go" stacks with his 335 Umbrella and we even had calls where we would use taps/stacks in the 46. I also borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible O-line" philosophy. Finally, I borrowed from one of Mahonz Jr's ideas of a 2-9 defense that he and Mahonz used to nearly upset an undefeated juggernaut offense several years ago. They held this team to 18 points who had to dig out the halfback pass to win the game.  The idea was to put 2 "sacrificial lambs" on the line in front of their insanely good OTs, then bring 4 from depth, long sticking, stunting and creating havoc.

I started with the assumption (right or wrong) that putting a kid on the D-line with his hand in the dirt offers no advantage if the kid is out-weighed by 50+ pounds.  That led me down a rabbit hole which had me questioning a basic tenet of defense. "Why do we play D-linemen at credit card depth with their hand in the dirt?". The answer, as best I could tell is that you are expecting a collision between DL and OL.  Provided both sides come off the ball at the same time and the same speed, the DL is conceding 1/2 of the starting distance from the LOS. So what if we refuse to play the "collision" game? 

I've taken my share of slings and arrows with the mega splits and climbing OL because it challenged another tenet of defense: LBs should be too athletic to get blocked by OLs. I think we were able to do it because our OLs work on it constantly. This Spring, defensively, I will bet on our opponents not working on blocking LBs with OLs. In the last 6 seasons, I've only seen one other team who sent linemen to block linebackers, so I'm playing the odds that few teams can do this effectively. So in the same way, we put big DLs in distress with the mega splits, I'm hoping to put big OLs in distress by playing vertically and in space. We hope to use timing and misdirection to take the space behind them when they climb. The best thing they can do is stay put and wait for us, which typically doesn't work well for offenses.

So, I came up with the attached and called it the "Amoeba 33". The goal is to attack the backfield relentlessly with 6 and to be completely unpredictable. There is an underlying order, but I think that order will be adequately disguised. There are 3 tools in the toolbox: 1) JJ (as in Lawson) is the traditional tap/stack. 2) Evel (as in Knevel) is the long-stick stunting look, and 3) Swayze (as in Patrick from the movie Ghost) is the Baltimore Ravens/Atlanta Falcons Mike Nolan look. Constantly moving/shifting and seldom doing what it appears you're doing.  After some consideration, I'll also put in a call for a down and dirty 60 front. I don't anticipate using it, but better to have it and not need it, right?

 There was a stand up 33 clinic i found very interesting.  I also saw Rob Ryan at a glazier briefly talk about his amoeba.

The amoeba is a wave drill. Thats how you play on your feet according to ryan. You essentially teach 8 guys to play lb. Some lbs read, some blitz,  some drop. I took this into a bowl game and the never passed the 50.  The kids had a blast.


-----0-0-0-#-0-0-0
-
---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
-c-----------------------c
-------------f

1 and 8 were my olbs
2 and 7 were my mlbs
3 and 6 were my ends
1 and 2 were the tackles

From here we ran mountjoys tiger cat from 2 feet off the los. Toldem i don't care where you are but you better be near the ball through your man.

Only 1 kid would be on the line at a time.
"Some athletes have division 1 dreams and jv work ethic" - random

Offline Dimson

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2019, 01:38:06 PM »
There was a stand up 33 clinic i found very interesting.  I also saw Rob Ryan at a glazier briefly talk about his amoeba.

The amoeba is a wave drill. Thats how you play on your feet according to ryan. You essentially teach 8 guys to play lb. Some lbs read, some blitz,  some drop. I took this into a bowl game and the never passed the 50.  The kids had a blast.


-----0-0-0-#-0-0-0
-
---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
-c-----------------------c
-------------f

1 and 8 were my olbs
2 and 7 were my mlbs
3 and 6 were my ends
1 and 2 were the tackles

From here we ran mountjoys tiger cat from 2 feet off the los. Toldem i don't care where you are but you better be near the ball through your man.

Only 1 kid would be on the line at a time.
That defense is just asking to get wedged.  :P

Offline ZACH

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 02:10:05 PM »
That defense is just asking to get wedged.  :P

Sure is, no lie, glad they didnt. youre going to give up yards on quick hitters when no ones on the line.
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Offline Dimson

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2019, 03:00:54 PM »
Sure is, no lie, glad they didnt. youre going to give up yards on quick hitters when no ones on the line.
Good thing most coaches prefer the fast kid left/fast kid right offense.

Online gumby_in_co

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 03:10:08 PM »
That defense is just asking to get wedged.  :P

Mahonz said the same thing. When he did his 2-9, he said that they started QB sneaking, which was good for between 2-5 yards a pop, but they got away from it because their QB was getting hammered. That's my thinking on wedge. When I coached DW, we actually got excited when they gave us a NT. That made our wedge better. Over the years, I've seen a few things stop the wedge:
1) cut the apex. Not possible with us off the ball. Plus, you need a platoon of kids to rotate at that position.
2) chase around the end and catch the FB from behind. We got away from the XX wedge and started blocking the edge with the wings.
3) crush the wedge from the sides, causing the C/G fits to fall apart.

I'm betting on #3. One of the coaching points will be for all 6 to watch the QB as he will tell you where the ball is going. I'm ditching the traditional "gap control". My thinking is that no gap ever gained a single yard against a defense, so why defend gaps? Instead, understand that you are responsible for your gap IF the ball comes through it. Lastly, we will be playing violently downhill "with the ball" (thanks DP). If we face a wedge team, we'll coach up how to break that C/G fit.
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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2019, 03:16:56 PM »
There was a stand up 33 clinic i found very interesting.  I also saw Rob Ryan at a glazier briefly talk about his amoeba.

The amoeba is a wave drill. Thats how you play on your feet according to ryan. You essentially teach 8 guys to play lb. Some lbs read, some blitz,  some drop. I took this into a bowl game and the never passed the 50.  The kids had a blast.


-----0-0-0-#-0-0-0
-
---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
-c-----------------------c
-------------f

1 and 8 were my olbs
2 and 7 were my mlbs
3 and 6 were my ends
1 and 2 were the tackles

From here we ran mountjoys tiger cat from 2 feet off the los. Toldem i don't care where you are but you better be near the ball through your man.

Only 1 kid would be on the line at a time.

Interesting. I will draw this out tonight and see if I can incorporate this as another "call". I want my 6 pressure guys playing like linebackers. As soon as you recognize ball, find it. No use in running through the left C gap if the ball is going right D gap.

Also, this is far from the complete defense. It's just 3 different ways to run our "Blizzard" call, which is all stacks. We'll have to break one of our stacks if they give us trips. We'll decide which stacks to break based on film or in game tendencies. Then, the DL (I call them "liners", stack backers are called "closers") will root hog his guy and play football. If we can get a 9th grader to play like our 2nd grade root hoggers, we'll put him over the C and have him grab the QBs legs at the snap.
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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2019, 04:56:59 PM »
Installed the defense on Saturday and ran it against Mahonz's scout O, which was just about every offense you can think of and a few you can't. Hard to tell this early on. 1/3 of the team was missing. I was really looking for Dogs on Saturday and at least identified one who can't play Dog.  Also, this was against a poor o-line made up of backs and receivers given only the most basic instructions.

Still. . .
The stunt look went in extremely smoothly and following that, so did the ghost look.

Pressure was considerable, even with 2 rookies on the d-line experiencing their first live football.

One of our best players told me that it was nearly impossible to block. You get one guy only to have another run right by you.

Mahonz ran 2 dives at us from dead T while we had our d-line playing 4 yards deep. One was a no gain, the other got 2 yards.
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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2019, 03:32:25 AM »
Been awhile due to the "dark times". Here's an update.

Our defense has allowed 4 TDs in 7 games. One of those TDs was an 8 man game. I cobbled together a defense and we got to practice it once before fielding it. It was a pass play that the very talented QB turned into a draw. However, we had 5 picks that day, including 2 pick sixes, so we ended up on the positive side of the plus minus. 4 of those picks were against a girl who was given the QB spot simply because she wanted to play QB. They rolled her in after 4 or 5 plays to launch a duck that we picked off. Not counting the 8 man game, we have allowed 3 TDs in 6 games. I kind of lost track of how many picks we've had. Maybe 20?  What we've done to the QBs we've faced is probably against the Geneva Convention.

In all fairness, we have immense talent. Extremely under-sized, but fast, football smart, aggressive and can tackle. Also, most offenses we've faced have a lot of work to do to reach "terrible".  We've allowed 2 TDs against the two teams with pretty good offenses. One runs a lot of Beast featuring a power tackle that 260 and runs like a FB. Their downfall is a HC who seems to have too much pride to run an entire drive out of Beast. They also struggle to string together 5 plays without a penalty or bad snap.

The other team runs robust T out of shotgun. I know. Don't ask. Their scheme is pathetic, but they make up for it with lots of "top of the food chain" speed and talent.We shut them out yesterday and nearly scored on an incomplete backward pass.

I am not going to try to take credit for any of this, other than being smart enough not to get in their way. I went into this knowing that trying to be physical on the LOS was going to be a losing proposition. So I borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible Offense" concept. I had a long conversation with him about kicking out the stilts, but decided early on that getting 9 defenders to the ball was a much better plan.

My pressure group has figured out how to play down hill, reading as they attack and being as unpredictable as possible. What they've been doing lately is to line up in different places every time, getting straight with your stack partner and flying to the ball. Wedge simply does not work against this. I'll admit that we haven't seen any great wedge teams, but the few that try it get out of it quickly. When they form the wedge, only 2 players are anywhere near the apex. Everyone else is attacking it from the sides, which usually causes the guards to fall down or knock the BC down. We have absolutely stuffed quick dives and QB sneaks. The best running play against us is a QB draw, designed or improvised. Our Reaper isn't given too many instructions and he really wants to intercept the ball. We are willing to live with that because it makes for a long day for the QB. The stack group plays like 6 linebackers who are blitzing, but adjusting on the attack, if necessary.

The biggest development for me is that now I understand DP's approach to defense. I used to be a control freak, striving for discipline. I struggled with finding 2 force defenders that could spill the sweep on one play, squeeze the C gap on the next, then get after the passer on yet another play. What has evolved is using Killer Bee spacing to put  every defender in a position so that they have a shorter route to where the ball wants to go than the ball does. So for the first time ever, I am not coaching a force defender, or a contain defender. No matter where he runs, we will converge on him with flying bodies. Typically 2 or 3 initially, then 6 more arriving about 1.5 seconds later at a full gallop.

So my answer from now on to anyone wanting to know how to get defenders to play more aggressively:  Stop micromanaging them and turn them loose. Don't fill their head full of "if/then" operations. Make a decision quickly and commit to it. As the season goes on, their decision making improves in the time it takes to make it and in their judgement.

CB aligns 7x3 on #1 receiver. TEs are never #1 receivers. WBs and wider are.
Vs Twins, the DOG aligns 5x2 on the #2 receiver and plays "catch man" with the CB. They communicate if their guy crosses into their buddy's zone.
Vs Trips, the DOG mirrors #2 and mauls him. Outside stacker aligns 5x2 off the #3 and plays catch man with the CB
Vs Quads (we saw this once this year), the R sneaks over a little.

QB has at most 2 seconds to get rid of the ball. Play action, pump fakes or clutching, I believe has resulted in a violent sack every time.

I rarely make a defensive call. If I see a punt, I give a call that backs them off the C and puts 3 guys back to return. If it's end of half or 3rd/4th and long, I might back the R to safety depth. Doesn't happen very often. During timeouts, I have a chat with them, ask them how they're feeling, tell them to "keep up the good work", etc. I really don't adjust much.

One more regular game vs a completely inept offense, then Bowl game against the shotgun T team. Shut them out yesterday, no reason to think we won't do it again.
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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2019, 09:09:01 AM »
I borrowed heavily from DP's "Invisible Offense" concept.

--I think you're the only one has.  I know JJ Lawson has incorporated the "bypassing block deconstruction" aspect, but I think he still ran a defense without using "IO Principals." 

I had a long conversation with him about kicking out the stilts, but decided early on that getting 9 defenders to the ball was a much better plan.

--You can do both.  KOTS is just a tackling approach and you're still going to have to teach individual tackling.

What they've been doing lately is to line up in different places every time, getting straight with your stack partner and flying to the ball.

--Elaborate on what needs to occur with "getting straight with your stack partner."

Wedge simply does not work against this. I'll admit that we haven't seen any great wedge teams

--(ahem)...

The biggest development for me is that now I understand DP's approach to defense.

--Well I'm glad someone does.  I've been told for years that it won't/doesn't work, but it works even at the high school level.

So my answer from now on to anyone wanting to know how to get defenders to play more aggressively:  Stop micromanaging them and turn them loose. Don't fill their head full of "if/then" operations. Make a decision quickly and commit to it. As the season goes on, their decision making improves in the time it takes to make it and in their judgement.

--Great advice.

One more regular game vs a completely inept offense, then Bowl game against the shotgun T team. Shut them out yesterday, no reason to think we won't do it again.

--That's what I'd be thinking.

--Dave

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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2019, 09:15:41 AM »
Lar, consider yourself invited to run the defense on my team.  If meaning, when I get a team....if I get a team...oh, who am I kidding?  I'm as good as retired, evidently.  I've looked at the 4 places we could live (2 in North Carolina, 1 in Illinois and 1 in SoCal) and no one's hiring.  I'll just live through you and your success.

--Dave
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 10:59:00 AM by CoachDP »
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Online gumby_in_co

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2019, 06:14:05 PM »
--Elaborate on what needs to occur with "getting straight with your stack partner."

So I decided against “gap control” because gaps don’t advance the ball. However, I’m not ready to give in to pure chaos. I want some order. So I explain “6 guys, 6 gaps” that’s just a starting point, a “vector”. As you are attacking like you’ve been shot out of a cannon, and you see the ball, then get to the ball, rather than running through your gap like an idiot. You are responsible for your gap, but only if the ball comes through it. For that starting point, we still “tap” to decide your gap.

I decided that pure, vertical stacks get predictable after awhile. So I tell the stack players to line up wherever you want, as long as you have a straight shot to your gap. Example is NT and Middle Stacker. Their starting point is each A gap. The NT might line up at 4 yards in a 30 technique while the MS might line up on the LOS in a 3 technique. Both are attacking their gap, following the snap (thanks again) and playing football. What I’ve discovered is that unless you practice it a lot, offensive linemen suck at blocking at the 2nd level. We are often 100% 2nd level.

“Getting straight” just means communicating with your stack partner where each of you is going.
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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2019, 10:55:53 AM »
Both are attacking their gap, following the snap (thanks again)

You're welcome, Lar.  Works well when you know how to coach it.  ;)

--Dave
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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2019, 12:23:22 PM »
--You can do both.  KOTS is just a tackling approach and you're still going to have to teach individual tackling.

This is football blasphemy, but I don't spend much time on tackling. 1 guy trying to execute a perfect form tackle might be a 50/50 proposition depending on the situation, talent/size/strength of the ball carrier, and available space. 3 guys executing a crappy tackle on the same guy rises to 90%. So I spend less time harping how to tackle and more time on how to get to the ball with bad intentions. Early in the season, I did the "2 whistle" thing. As you know, we do a lot of team. As I was getting the defense together early on, the first whistle is blown after the BC is down. Then I'd count "ONE ONE THOUSAND, TWO ONE THOUSAND" and blow a 2nd whistle. Anyone not within arms reach of the ball, or at a dead sprint to get there owed me push ups. In one or two practices, we had a swarming, frothing at the mouth defense.

We saw 1 man child RB. 250+lb OL with a little bit of wheels. He had a few carries where he dragged half the team 5 yards down the field, but we had our smallest kid (98lbs) make several TFLs on him by squeezing his knees together until the cavalry arrived.

I was concerned going into the season that giant RBs would be common place. That hasn't materialized.
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Re: Amoeba 33
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2019, 12:26:27 PM »
You're welcome, Lar.  Works well when you know how to coach it.  ;)

--Dave

I still have one kid who is good for 1 encroachment per game. Usually on 3rd and 4 when they go on 2 or "no play" us. How in the hell do you encroach when you line up 4 yards off the ball? He was out the first 3 or 4 games with a concussion, so I'm not certain he was there for "follow the ball". I'll dust that off and re-emphasize it for the next 2 weeks.
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