Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LEO: The New Seattle Seahawks Defensive Scheme

What is LEO?
I’m starting to hear more and more about this scheme.
Do any of you run, coach or have seen anyone in high school and/or college use this alignment? I know West Virginia uses this defense.
This scheme is still relatively rare right now on the college level according to articles I’ve read.
Its strength lies in the flexibility to combat both ground-oriented and spread oriented teams with the following personnel: 3 DLs, 3 LBs and 5 DBs.
The general front is a 3-3 Stack. The three LBs line up directly over the DL, and that’s why it’s call a Stack. The nose tackle almost always lines up directly over the center except for a special front variation. The stack concept is from the old school, and mixed with the 5 DB deployment of the new. I guess you could call it the defensive equivalent to the Spread Option on offense, mixing past with present to form an innovative scheme.

Base alignment vs. the standard I formation:
Personally, I really like the scheme given the pressure you can apply on offenses with the disguise the stack gives you in addition to the added speed and playmaking ability of an extra defensive back. It’s extremely flexible and a break from the more traditional alignments on defense.
Two of the five DBs will be strong safeties (DB-LB hybrid types). In this scheme, they’re usually referred to as Rovers/Gators/Bandits. I think this really lends to the aggressive and deceptive qualities of the defense because the Rovers can be easily used as blitzers, and also in pass coverage.
It’s also fairly easy to morph from the 3-3-5 into another front without having to make personnel changes.
Of course, you need a very active and effective DL to maximize the potential of any 3 DL front otherwise you open yourself up to problems in the ground game specifically. Those leaks can turn into cascades because you put too much pressure on the rest of the defense. Any good defense (run or pass) starts up front with strong DL play.
I’m a fan of attack-oriented, physical defenses and that’s why this scheme appeals to me. 40 Canes, a 4-3 front with physical Cover 2 Man secondary coverage, is another favorite of mine, made famous by the Miami Hurricanes of course.
I could envision the 3-3-5 becoming part of the high school answer to defending the more wide-open offenses we see each season. At the HS level, you can face everything from the Wing T to the various Spread forms so it’s obviously very important to employ a more flexible scheme on defense. It’s very tough to find a true DE, and I think that’s also a contributing factor to more teams moving to a 3 DL set up in addition to the need for more speed on the field to combat modern day talent.

source:  FootballNewsShare via Bleacher Report
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