Recently on X’s & O’s Labs there was a report from Dan Ellis on his Georgia Scheme, which he uses for big gains against the Odd Stack. Coach Ellis runs a Spread, Zone scheme and likes this play as a big hitter against 3-5-3 Defenses.
After looking at the play, I have to say that against the Stack, I love it. The rules are such that you could still successfully run it against Even Front teams, just not as smoothly. That’s not to attack the play, either. Coach Ellis is clear that they love this play specifically against Odd Stack teams, and I can see why.
While it is basically a Pin & Pull Outside Zone scheme, using the scheme from a 3 x 1 set against Stack fronts really opens it up. Let’s take a look at how to lessen the blow if this play against your 3-5-3 or 3-3-5 Defensive Front.
We run a Quarters look with our Stack front, but we are probably the exception since we are a base 4-3 Defense. We will assume a Cover 3 behind the front.
(If you were in Quarters, the Strong Safety needs to be a screaming banshee when he sees the crack on the ILB.)
With the Cover 3, as soon as the Free Safety reads the flow – either by reading Uncovered Lineman (the puller outside) or by reading backfield flow – he needs to be screaming to the alley. He picks up the #2 Receiver cracking down on the ILB and immediately scrapes off his hip. Without Free Safety help here, you are going to struggle.
You have options with the backside overhang safety that can also help. You could roll him back to play a 1/4, 1/4, 1/2 type of coverage on the Trips side to give the Free Safety a better angle. Or you can fire him off the backside edge and hope to chase the play down, should your front side defenders slow it down.
The Overhang Safety and Corner on the Trips side should also be making a CRACK! call to the Inside Linebacker, who will need to either beat the block underneath, or over the top. Because of his gap responsibility, he will probably need to beat the #2 Receiver’s crack underneath by getting to the Line of Scrimmage quickly. But if he can recognize it, he can turn and attack the crack and beat him over the top as well.
Slanting into the Play
By slanting your Defensive Line hard at the Trips side, you can give the End good position to beat the block of the Tight End or take out the Guard. As he slants, he sees the down block of the Tackle and expects a kick out to be coming. A good End can redirect, and blow up the pull by the Guard.
If he is playing against a true Tight End or a Wing down blocking him, he can still beat the down block, either by scraping across the face if the angle is too flat, or coming underneath if the angle is too sharp.
Blitzing to Stop the Georgia Scheme
Finally, we can use some special blitzes if we know the situations that the OC likes to call this play. My favorite would be to fire the Overhang Safety off the edge into C Gap and loop the ILB over the top.
The blitzer would become a spill player, and he is expected to wrong arm the puller. The ILB scraping hears the crack call, and is in a better position to beat it over the top to keep contain. With the puller taken out, there is no one out there but him.
To beat this scheme, you will probably need to beat a block – but that is the truth about any well designed play! Communication on your defense, block destruction and sound tackling technique are the keys to any defense.