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Thread: gschwendt's Guide to the 3-3-5 Defense in NCAA Football 13

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    Administrator gschwendt's Avatar
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    gschwendt's Guide to the 3-3-5 Defense in NCAA Football 13

    Not to take anything away from nykia, but I've recently been putting together a guide with information about the 3-3-5 and giving a bit of insight as to how I use it.


    gschwendt's Guide to the 3-3-5 Defense in NCAA Football 13

    Table of Contents
    1. History
    2. Personnel and Recruiting
    3. Formations
    4. Coverage Styles and Plays
    5. Alignment and Assignment (very important!)
    6. Future Content

    History
    Joe Lee Dunn is considered the "father of the 3-3-5". As a Defensive Coordinator for the Memphis State Tigers in 1991, Dunn had to prepare for the USC Trojans and knew his team was no match if they used a traditional defense. That's when Dunn decided to replace a defensive lineman with an extra defensive back, allowing more speed on the field. As a result, the 3-3-5 made it's big splash when the Tigers defeated the USC Trojans 21-10. Dunn later spread his defense around the SEC including stops at Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Mississippi State. Since then, others have put their own flair on the defense including Charlie Strong (adopting it in 2000 as South Carolina's DC), Rocky Long (adopting it in 1998 to get Brian Urlacher on the field at UNM), Jeff Casteel (Arizona DC), and Keith Patterson (former Pitt DC, now WVU co-DC), though now is rare to see as time has exposed it's weaknesses. While there are different varieties, the 3-3-5 implemented in NCAA Football is mostly that of attacking defense; that is, it uses blitzes and disguised coverages to get pressure on the quarterback and not allow him to have any traditional/easy reads. With 8 guys who have coverage skills, there will often be one dropping that you do not expect to drop, and a blitzer that the OL has not accounted for.

    The 3-3-5 is one of the lesser used defenses primarily because it's more difficult to recruit the right personnel. Both it and the 4-2-5 defenses are primarily designed to compensate for smaller schools’ inability to recruit stud linebackers that can stay on the field against just about any offensive matchup. Instead, with the 3-3-5 or 4-2-5, those schools can recruit an undersized Linebacker or oversized Defensive Back to not only play the pass (which is helpful against today’s spread-happy offenses) but to also offer run support allowing you to stay in the 3-3-5 for practically the entire game. In the 3-4 & 4-3 base defenses, you’ll see generally 7 in the box; however the 3-3-5 and 4-2-5 can easily bring the safeties in tight to put 8 in the box when facing run-heavy formations but also spread wider to contend against formations with four Wide Receivers. Added, for the 3-3-5 specifically, there are a wide variety of blitzes that can send pressure from anywhere on the field and do so while not tipping the defense’s hand. While this guide is primarily targeting those that never use this defense, those that already use this defense will likely find something useful as well.

    For more background, check out these links:
    The Birth of the 3-3-5 Defense - An excerpt from The Essential Smart Football
    Unique Defense will challenge Missouri - A 2010 article talking about Missouri preparing to play San Diego State.
    A Look at West Virginia's 3-3 Odd Stack Defense - An article from this past December as a Clemson blogger scouts the West Virginia defense
    Last edited by gschwendt; 07-31-2012 at 09:24 PM.

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    Personnel and Recruiting for the 3-3-5
    With the 3-3-5 defense, perhaps the most important aspect is before your team ever takes the field; it’s all about what type of players you have in each position. Below is a breakdown of each position along with the most important traits, below that are those traits sorted in a general order of importance.

    Strong Safeties
    The SSes should perhaps be given the most focus in recruiting simply because these need to be some of the best athletes on the field. They are essentially a combination of Cornerbacks and Linebackers needing both coverage ability (Man & Zone) but also run stopping and tackling ability. The ideal player will be 6'0 or taller, have good Speed & Agility around 90 or higher, have good Man & Zone Coverage with both at least 80 or higher, but then will also need to have very good Tackling, Play Recognition, & Block Shed for run-stopping ability. Finding a player with all of these skills will be very difficult so in most cases you'll have to either sacrifice one or more of the abilities or you can always recruit two types of SSes, one as a coverage, the other as a run-stopper, however that will begin to limit your play-calling. Since true SSes will be vary rare in this form, Free Safeties can be sometimes found or also Cornerbacks that have exceptional tackling abilities.
    SS1 (defense's left) - PRC, TKL, ZCV, MCV, AGI, SPD
    SS2 (defense's right) - MCV, ZCV, AGI, SPD, PRC, TKL

    Linebackers
    For LBs, these will also be guys that will be more difficult to find because you're essentially looking for guys that are in the mold of Ray Lewis. They'll need to have Speed (SPD), Strength (STR), Block Shedding (BSH), Power or Finesse Moves (PMV or FMV), Play Recognition (PRC), and Tackling (TKL). Added, they'll also be asked to cover Tight Ends and the occasional Receiver so they need to have decent Man and Zone Coverage (MCV & ZCV) abilities. Again, you can sacrifice some of that, but in order for them to be able to attack on the blitz, SPD, PRC, and BSH will be the most important elements.
    LOLB - PRC, TKL, ZCV, MCV, BSH
    MLB - PRC, TKL, STR, BSH, ZCV
    ROLB - PMV/FMV, BSH, STR, PRC, TKL

    Cornerbacks
    The CBs will be a bit easier to find, though still very important. CBs will need the common traits that good CBs have... Speed, Agility, Acceleration, and both Man and Zone Coverage ability. Cornerbacks will primarily just be assigned to either cover an outside receiver in man or just play a deep zone but a Corner that can also Tackle is always good to have. One added bonus to running this defense is that since you can use this personnel against practically any offense, you won't need to keep 4-6 CBs in order to play Dime.
    CBs - MCV, SPD, AGI, ZCV, ACC

    Free Safety
    The FS position is what I refer to as a Centerfielder. For him, the most important attributes are Speed, Acceleration, and Zone Coverage. Because he FS will be playing deep zone in the middle of the field for the large majority of the time, his tackling ability is less important, however since he will be the last line of defense, it is important that he has some Tackling. Added, there are a lot of Zero-Coverage blitzes available in the 3-3-5 so he will be called upon to play Man Coverage, though generally that will be against Tight Ends and Runningbacks.
    FS - ZCV, SPD, ACC, TKL, PRC

    Defensive Line
    For D-Line, your main focus is not necessarily for them create pressure but rather they need to keep the offensive lineman busy. For that, the most important rating will be Strength (STR). No other rating is near as important for the entire defensive line. Obviously any other ratings that they have will be a big benefit but for the most part, these guys won’t be making sacks or tackling Runningbacks for loss, that will be the job of the Linebackers and Strong Safeties. Because of this, you mainly want to focus on recruiting Defensive Tackles that can then move over to Defensive End.
    DEs - STR, STR, STR, PMV/FMV, TKL
    DTs - STR, STR, STR, PMV/FMV, TKL
    Last edited by gschwendt; 07-31-2012 at 09:59 PM.

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    Formations
    The 3-3-5 offers five different looks all using the same personnel. These different looks each have their own purpose whether it be to stop the run, stop the pass, or just simply to confuse the offense. Additionally, these looks can be used to get your opponent expecting one thing only for you to mix it up. Below is a breakdown of each formation type along with general uses, useful packages, and a couple of my favorite plays from each. All formation and play art credit goes to playbooks2012.com for capturing them from NCAA Football 13.

    3-3-5 Stack - The Stack is a combination of the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses using the 3 Defensive Lineman with the 3 Linebackers "stacked" on top of them. This is the basic alignment presenting a symmetrical look. With that symmetrical look, you can shift players around to create a variety of looks such as shifting the DL one way and the LBs the opposite or pinching the DL in and spreading the LBs out. These essentially allow you to stick to a base playcall but then modify the appearance of your defense depending on how the offense lines up.
    Useful Packages: Def Tackles (subs out DEs for DTs), Five LBs (subs out SSes for LBs for a 3-5-3)
    3-3-5 Stack - Cover 1
    My most used play in the game. If you have the SSes for it, you can call this play the majority of the game no matter what personnel the offense has as the SSes can cover slot WRs or also pinch in tight when the offense is in a run-style formation.
    3-3-5 Stack - Cover 3
    With the Stack Cover 3, the defense not only has 3 deep to protect against most deep passes, but they also have 5 defenders in coverage underneath, eliminating most underneath passes as well. Since the SSes are in buzz zones, they'll be more likely to give up the flats, however when facing 3rd & long, this defense is very good at getting your defense off the field. You should be aware though that you only have 3 men rushing so the QB could have all day to wait until one of his receivers finds an opening in the zone.
    3-3-5 Okie - The Okie is more similar to the 3-4 defense in that the FS is shifted to one side, SS1 plays slightly deeper and lined up more like a traditional SS, and SS2 is put into the box like an OLB in the 3-4. While similar to the Stack, the Okie offers a different set of plays from this alignment allowing you to mix up your playcalling.
    Useful Packages: Def Tackles (subs out DEs for DTs), 3-4 (Subs out SS2 in favor of another LB), LB Pass Rush (presents a 2-4-5 personnel)
    3-3-5 Okie - Inside Blitz
    Another favorite due to the Cover 1 coverage, however with the LBs blitzing, you can generate pressure, especially if there are no TEs or RBs in to block. You can also pinch the LBs in so that they are lined up directly over both A gaps creating inside pressure.
    3-3-5 Okie - Cover 2 Sink
    A great zone defense, especially if your opponent often ignores throwing passes to the flats. This will provide good coverage against most curls, ins & outs while not sacrificing deep coverage. This defense is best used when the offense needs between 5 to 10 yards. Be mindful though, if the offense is in 4WR, this defense will be a give-away because the deep SS won't align to his WR.
    3-3-5 Split - The Split is most like the 4-2-5 Normal defense while still using the 3-3-5 personnel. Of note, the formation art on the playcall screen presents the personnel in the wrong spots... it should have the FS deep, SSes in their usual spot, and the ROLB on the line of scrimmage. In just about each play, the ROLB spot will be blitzing so either in recruiting or via formation subs, you'll want to have a player that is as much of a DE as he is a LB. This formation is essentially a blitzing formation as every play is sending at least one additional player to the 3 DL. One very useful shift with this defense is to shift the DL to the offense's right, and shift the LBs to the left. That will give a 5-1 look with the strength of the defense to one side which would be particularly useful if the offense likes to run the ball to that side.
    Useful Packages: Def Tackles (subs out DEs for DTs)
    3-3-5 Split - SS Blitz
    This defense is an excellent attacking defense, particularly against Ace - Slot type looks as the WRs will be covered by DBs, TE covered by LB, and HB covered by FS. If the TE goes out for a pass, that leaves the SS with a clear path to the QB, otherwise it's just a matter of time before someone gets free with 6 rushers vs 6 blockers.
    3-3-5 Split - Monster Green
    Like the SS Blitz, this defense is primarily meant to attack a 3WR set, in this case Y-Trips. However, the FS will be assigned to the TE and the OLB assigned to the HB. The added bonus though is that if the offense decides to run, since the ROLB is already on the line, the blocker will target him, leaving the backside SS open for the blitz while also shutting down the inside run with the middle blitz by the LBs. Just hope that they don't run a Y-Trips toss as they'll have the numbers.
    3-3-5 Across - The Across is essentially the same as the stack except that it backs all of the DBs off of the line and is used primarily for 3rd & long situations. Because the DBs are so far off, that gives the DBs more room to react to a WRs route, but it also of course gives WRs more time early to get open. This should be used sparingly unless you know your opponent is being forced to throw down-field. One tip though is that if you like your playcall from the Across but want to move your DBs up tight, you can do so with either the Show Blitz option or of course putting them into press. However, when in press, if your DB whiffs and there is only one player in deep zone, it will lead to a free run up the sideline for the WR.
    Useful Packages: LB Rush (subs out DEs for LBs)
    3-3-5 Across - Cover 3 Max
    Obviously this is intended to go against a pass-heavy offense, particularly in 3rd & long situations. Since all DBs are already deep, it makes the user think that a quick pass to the outside will be open but since the CBs are in flat coverage, their first step is to run towards the line. However, since your DBs are so far off the ball, and the SSes are dropping deep, be mindful of any outside runs like stretch plays.
    3-3-5 Across - SS Zone Blitz
    This play is great at giving pressure from all angles with an outside rush from the SSes and a middle rush by the LBs. This play is best ran when using the LB Rush package so that instead of having DEs dropping into coverage, your OLBs will be in outside hooks sacrificing less zone coverage ability. You'll probably want to Show Blitz or Press coverage in most cases with this defense so that your SSes aren't so far off the ball.
    3-3-5 Bear - The Bear is used primarily in short yardage situations. It puts both OLBs on the line of scrimmage presenting a 5-1 look and also allows you to put SS1 on the line by showing blitz. This presents more men for the Offensive Line to have to block but additionally puts your other DBs in a weak position if a run gets past the initial rush. This should be used sparingly, primarily only in goalline situations against a spread look. While the available packages are slim, I'd consider using Formation Subs to put 5 DL on the line and possibly sub out one or more SS in favor of a LB so that it operates more like a goalline defense.
    Useful Packages: Def Tackles (subs out DEs for DTs)
    3-3-5 Bear - Fire Green
    As mentioned, the Bear should largely only be used in short yardage situations and best in the Red Zone. This play, Fire Green, sends two Linebackers plus the backside Strong Safety, however he's attacking the same gap as the MLB. This will be great against weak-side inside runs like Slams and Sprints. This play also works well against a Y-Trips look as DBs will cover the WRs, the OLB will be directly on top of the TE, and the FS is free to cover the HB or float in the middle if the HB stays in to block.
    3-3-5 Bear - Middle Blitz
    This defense is excellent against an offense that likes to use 4WR in the redzone as you'll still have the DBs to cover the WRs but as well you'll have middle pressure coming from the blitzing LBs.

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    Coverage Styles and Plays
    Because the 3-3-5 gives you a personnel with a different look than most traditional defenses, it allows you to also do a wide variety of attacks and coverages to throw your opponent off their game. You might send 5 in a blitz every down only to then turn around and put 8 into coverage, all the while not giving your opponent any idea what to expect pre-snap. Below is a breakdown showing the different types of coverage along with plays of each type, showcasing that no matter what look you're in, the offense won't be able to predict what coverage you're in. Credit to playbooks2012.com for formation & playart as well as a valuable aid in research.

    Cover 1
    For me personally, Cover 1 defenses are the bread & butter of the 3-3-5. This puts the FS deep and the underneath coverage is in man leaving two defenders to either blitz or play a hook/spy. If you have excellent man coverage DBs, then this defense will do wonders against just about any play because if the offense goes to 4 Wide Receivers you've got DBs on them and if they go with a more pro-style set such as I-Form Normal, that just brings your SSes in tight to help stop the run. Because of this, you'll generally have matched numbers against the offense; for example, against 4WR, you'll have 6 in the box and they'll have 6 in to block, counting the HB.

    Favorite Cover 1 Plays
    3-3-5 Stack - Cover 1
    My most used play in the game. If you have the SSes for it, you can call this play the majority of the game no matter what personnel the offense has as the SSes can cover slot WRs or also pinch in tight when the offense is in a run-style formation.

    3-3-5 Okie - Inside Blitz
    Another favorite of Cover 1 coverage because with the LBs blitzing, you can generate pressure, especially if there are no TEs or RBs in to block. You can also pinch the LBs in so that they are lined up directly over both A gaps creating inside pressure.

    3-3-5 Split - Man QB Spy
    I like this play not only because it has the QB spy to contend against scrambling QBs, but also because it's the only Cover 1 defense that has a single SS blitzing. This allows you to get outside pressure from that SS while still being able to defend against a 3WR formation. Additionally, if your opponent uses a statue for a QB, you can blitz the MLB to get added pressure inside.
    Cover 2
    For me, Cover 2 is less used simply because in most 3-3-5 formations, it will be given away because the SS in Deep Zone will back off to present a look more like a Nickel defense. However, the Okie formation already gives a split safety look (much like a 3-4) while still allowing you to call all of the other Cover 1, Cover 0, & Cover 3 that you want. Because of this, particularly in early downs, if I'm going to call Cover 2, it will generally be from the Okie. However, there are a handful of plays where the CBs drop into deep coverage instead of Safeties, thus also allowing you to be in Cover 2 while not tipping your hand.


    Favorite Cover 2 Plays
    3-3-5 Okie - Cover 2 Sink
    A great zone defense, especially if your opponent often ignores throwing passes to the flats. This will provide good coverage against most curls, ins & outs while not sacrificing deep coverage. This defense is best used when the offense needs between 5 to 10 yards. Be mindful though, if the offense is in 4WR, this defense will be a give-away because the deep SS won't align to his WR so you may want to use Base-Align.

    3-3-5 Stack - Storm Red
    This is a great blitzing defense as it rushes 6 creating lots of pressure on the QB; however, that only leaves 5 in coverage. If the QB recognizes the blitz early, he'll be able to find a lot of holes in the defense. That is especially true in the middle deep as both CBs are the deep men and will struggle to get to the middle of the field early on in the play. One option though is if you want to keep the blitzing SSes would be to spread the CBs deep zones, then hot route the FS into a deep zone giving you a Cover 3 look; if that's the case, you'll likely want to hot route the MLB into a hook so that the underneath middle isn't left open.

    3-3-5 Across - Cover 2
    Cover 2 out of the Across formation offers not only a Cover 2 zone, but it does so by putting the FS into a middle hook. If your FS has really good zone coverage, then he'll be able to essentially take away the middle of the field underneath. Be mindful though, if the offense is has 3 or more WRs, this defense will be a give away since a LB will spread wide to align on the extra WR.
    Cover 0
    With the 3-3-5, because there are a wide variety of looks, it allows you to get creative and take more risks, all with the intent that it may not hit home every time, however, when it does, it creates a big reward. That's especially the case with Cover 0 blitzes. These blitzes are a big gamble, leaving no one in deep zone coverage, however it also attacks with 6 defenders forcing the offense to make very quick reads or leave a RB or TE in to block, but even then they'll only have 1 on 1 blocking. If you have excellent man coverage DBs, these playcalls can pay off big time with either a sack or possibly a forced interception. However, because you have no help, you always have to pay attention to what defender is assigned to each player, otherwise the offense might find mismatches in their favor. These plays are most useful when the FS is assigned to the HB so he can play run and pass.


    Favorite Cover 0 Plays
    3-3-5 Split - Monster Green
    Like the SS Blitz, this defense is primarily meant to attack a 3WR set, in this case Y-Trips. However, the FS will be assigned to the TE and the OLB assigned to the HB. The added bonus though is that if the offense decides to run, since the OLB in man is already on the line, the OT will target him, leaving the backside SS open for the blitz while also shutting down the inside run with the middle blitz by the LBs. Just hope that they don't run a Y-Trips toss or stretch as they'll have the numbers.

    3-3-5 Stack - NCAA Blitz
    Based out of the Stack, the NCAA Blitz offers a great overload blitz to the backside. If the offense doesn't have a TE to the backside, then this blitz will hit home more often than not because the OL will be busy with the DL and LBs allowing the SS to break through. As well, if the offense runs the ball away from the blitz, the LOLB and SS will be waiting with the FS available to cleanup anything that gets past them.

    3-3-5 Okie - Lightning
    This defense is an excellent attacking defense as it blitzes 7, though of course leaving only 4 in man coverage. As a result, there is a high probability of creating a sack but also a high probability of a big play if the QB completes a pass. This defense is best if you find your opponent leaving a HB or TE in to block, however, be aware that 1) your FS is in man coverage and 2) the HB or TE will be left uncovered if they do go out, allowing an easy check-down for the QB.
    Deep Zone Coverage
    With the 3-3-5, because you have 5 defenders on the field at all times, you also have a wide variety of coverages to defend a pass-heavy offense putting 7 or more into coverage. With Cover 3, you'll of course have 3 defenders deep but at the same time you aren't forced to sacrifice the underneath with spotty coverage. Some coverages will drop 8 into zone, practically covering the entire field, though of course sacrificing the pass rush. These playcalls are most useful when the offense is in 3rd & long, particularly when they need more than 10 yards (which should be somewhat often if your Cover 0 blitzes hit home).
    Favorite Deep Zone Coverages
    3-3-5 Stack - Cover 3
    With the Stack Cover 3, the defense not only has 3 deep to protect against most deep passes, but they also have 5 defenders in coverage underneath, eliminating most underneath passes as well. Since the SSes are in buzz zones, they'll be more likely to give up the flats, however when facing 3rd & long, this defense is very good at getting your defense off the field. However, be aware that you only have 3 men rushing so the QB could have all day to wait until one of his receivers finds an opening in the zone.

    3-3-5 Across - Cover 3
    While this defense is a Cover 3, it's also fairly good at stopping the run. Since the MLB is blitzing the middle, he'll be there to assist in any A-Gap runs while the SSes drop to the flats allowing them to assist with anything outside runs. This of course leaves the very middle of the defense more wide open than Stack Cover 3, however you also have additional pressure that could get home to the QB.

    3-3-5 Across - Cover 4
    This Cover 4 is all about preventing the big play. With 4 DBs dropping deep and the OLBs splitting wide into buzz zones, there will be very few passes completed over 10 yards, particularly if your FS has very good zone coverage abilities, though he will be all by himself in the middle. Added, the MLB is in a QB spy which will help fight against any QBs that look to scramble for yardage when all of their down-field options are taken away.
    Cover 3 Zone Blitzes
    The 3-3-5 Cover 3 Zone blitzes are an excellent mix-it-up attack in order to get pressure while not getting beat deep. Because this defense has a wide variety of personnel, the Cover 3 Zone Blitzes are abundant, each one attacking a variety of gaps with a variety of different players. The plays will generally send 5 leaving only 3 in underneath coverage so you're essentially saying that you'll give up a few yards underneath but not let anything beat you deep. These plays are great at getting pressure but if the offense recognizes the blitz early, they can hit an underneath route for a quick pickup. Therefore, these defenses will be best either in 3rd & very long situations, or 1st & 10 as a mix-it-up attack. These will also be useful against teams that like to throw 10 yard crossing routes or anything downfield as the majority of the time they won't have time to develop. Be aware though, most of these defenses give up the flats in favor of the middle so outside curls, swing passes, and out routes will often be open. Of note, since Across formation is deep off the ball, you might want to Show Blitz in order to get SSes in tight when blitzing.



    Favorite Cover 3 Zone Blitzes
    3-3-5 Split - Crash 3
    The Split Crash 3 defense is an excellent mix-it-up defense because the usually blitzing ROLB will instead drop into a hook zone. In his place, the defense sends both the MLB and the SS to send fast pressure to the backside. As well, with this defense, I also like to align the blitzers to the wide side of the field, then hot route the blitzing SS to a buzz zone and the blitzing MLB to a QB spy. While this eliminates the pressure, it does provide a unique coverage look to take away the wide side of the field.

    3-3-5 Stack - Mike Sam 3
    In the Mike Sam 3 defense, the MLB (Mike) and Strong OLB (Sam or Lou in the 3-3-5), both blitz to the outside, which would often be the strength of the offense. This defense will be great against outside runs such as stretches and tosses but will be susceptible to runs up the middle. If the offense is passing, this defense will force the QB to roll to his left, generally his weaker throwing side.

    3-3-5 Stack - NCAA Blitz 3
    With this blitz, there are two advantages. First, the SS and OLB both blitz together to the outside trying to get quick pressure from the backside. The other advantage is that the other SS and FS swap roles with the SS dropping deep. While this gives a window for the middle to be momentarily open deep, the FS can be a surprise to the offense. Generally, if a QB reads a Cover 3 zone blitz coming from the SS, he'll assume a LB will be to the outside and thus more chance to find it open. However, the the FS can catch him off-guard as he jumps into that outside hook.
    Last edited by gschwendt; 08-01-2012 at 07:41 PM.

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    Alignment and Assignment
    If you learn nothing else from this guide, you should learn to use Base-Align with this defense. On practically every play, after my defense breaks the huddle, I’ll call Base-Align (PS3: Triangle then Right on the D-Pad, 360: Y then Right on the D-Pad). What this will do is force your defenders, primarily your Strong Safeties, to stay true to the alignment with how the play is designed (2 DBs to one side, 2 DBs to the other). The reason for this is that while the alignment has improved, there are still some odd occurrences for when your safeties venture across to the other side of the formation. With Base-Align though, you can wait until the offense is set, flip your play if necessary, and then turn off Base-Align. A prime example would be when calling 3-3-5 Stack - Monster Green against a 3-WR set. If the offense comes out in Shotgun – Normal, you’ll want to flip the play so that the SS aligned on the slot WR will be assigned to cover him; similarly if the offense comes out in Shotgun – Y-Trips, you’ll want to keep the alignment you’re given (therefore you won’t flip the play). After you’ve read the defense in each of those scenarios, you can then turn off Base-Align so that you can be sure that all DBs align up on their proper WR. In some cases though, some alignments won't present the right look that you want so you'll sometimes wnat to choose to keep Base-Align. That one tip alone will make the defense much easier to work with and allow you to call a wide variety of defenses without giving away your playcall nor have Safeties wandering back & forth.

    To see what I'm talking about, here's a video I've created showing a handful of examples. Unfortunately, even at nearly 9 minutes long, I'm not able to cover as many as there are. The quirks though happen and this video will at least give you a head start on how to recognize others.





    I'll continue to go over more alignment & assignment information over time, but wanted to give you something to get started with.
    Last edited by gschwendt; 07-31-2012 at 09:26 PM.

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    Administrator gschwendt's Avatar
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    I'll continue to add to this guide over time, both from as I learn more about it in regards to NCAA 13 but also to fill any requests and answer any questions that you guys may have.
    Last edited by gschwendt; 07-31-2012 at 09:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gschwendt View Post
    That's when Dunn decided to replace a defensive lineman with an extra defensive back, allowing more speed on the field. As a result, the 3-3-5 made it's big splash
    Actually, two. Memphis ran a 3-5-3 in their other contests that season, and in seasons before.
    Twitter: @3YardsandACloud

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffHCross View Post
    Actually, two. Memphis ran a 3-5-3 in their other contests that season, and in seasons before.
    Talk to the author of The Essential Smart Football

    The solution involved Dunn swapping out one of his linemen from team's 4-3-4 set and replacing him with a defensive back.

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    Damn, Tommy. Nice work. I haven't got the time to read all of it this evening but what I did read is quite good.

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    Administrator gschwendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelerfan View Post
    Damn, Tommy. Nice work. I haven't got the time to read all of it this evening but what I did read is quite good.

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    Appreciate it... when you get a chance to read through it, certainly let me know any feedback or questions you have.

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    Actually, I wrote it wrong, it was a 5-3-3 (which is what I meant).

    Quote Originally Posted by gschwendt View Post
    Talk to the author of The Essential Smart Football

    The solution involved Dunn swapping out one of his linemen from team's 4-3-4 set and replacing him with a defensive back.
    You dare question Hal Mumme?

    I'll talk to Chris And then he can talk to Sports Illustrated, about Blood, Sweat and Chalk.
    [Dunn] had been a football coach for 21 years and had always played a five-man defensive front, usually in a 5-3-3 alignment: five linemen, three linebackers, three defensive backs.
    ------------------

    Getting away from nitpicking, and to an actual question: I've been running the 4-2-5 for years, and I think you've been primarily a 3-3-5 for the same amount of time. What schematic advantage do you think the 3-3-5 brings over the 4-2-5? And is there a recruiting advantage to one over the other?
    Last edited by JeffHCross; 07-31-2012 at 10:19 PM.
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    Wow, this is totally awesome! I have a LOT to learn . As much as I'm ashamed to admit it, I've always just super-sim'd defense in my offline dynasty .

    Now I just need to figure out how to put something like this in place in my coaching carousel offline dynasty. Anybody have tips on what priorities you put on recruiting when trying to put in this type of system in a small school that you're rebuilding (I'm currently at University of Houston).

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    Administrator gschwendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffHCross View Post
    Getting away from nitpicking, and to an actual question: I've been running the 4-2-5 for years, and I think you've been primarily a 3-3-5 for the same amount of time. What schematic advantage do you think the 3-3-5 brings over the 4-2-5? And is there a recruiting advantage to one over the other?
    By far the biggest advantage is that because you don't have 4 with a hand in the dirt, I think this line says it best:
    "With 8 guys who have coverage skills, there will often be one dropping that you do not expect to drop, and a blitzer that the OL has not accounted for."

    In the 425, you're always rushing at least 4 but in the 335, you might rush only 3 and drop 8 into coverage. That, combined with the fact that you now have extra variables for the offense to consider (for one, is that extra LB going to blitz or cover), you give something for the offense to consider.

    While the 425 probably has the advantage a bit in run defense because you have 4 on the line, the 335 can compensate with the right LBs that can provide the run stopping while still allowing them to cover (something DL rarely ever have).
    Quote Originally Posted by jolson88 View Post
    Wow, this is totally awesome! I have a LOT to learn . As much as I'm ashamed to admit it, I've always just super-sim'd defense in my offline dynasty .

    Now I just need to figure out how to put something like this in place in my coaching carousel offline dynasty. Anybody have tips on what priorities you put on recruiting when trying to put in this type of system in a small school that you're rebuilding (I'm currently at University of Houston).
    This post has general tips for you:
    http://www.thegamingtailgate.com/for...l=1#post156852

    However, the biggest questions to ask will be what players do you currently have and what do you need. If you already have 3 CBs and one has exceptional tackling ability, then you might not need to put as much focus on the SSes because you then realize that your LBs aren't suited for the defense. You could get by with the tackling CB playing the coverage SS so you instead focus on the run-stopping LB, or something similar. More than likely though, it will take time to develop your team depending on what holes you currently have. Depending on your personnel, I'd probably consider making it a multi-year project in recruiting... if you're a 4-3 now, you might consider recruiting to build towards a 425, then over time as players leave, you can develop more towards the 335.

    Mostly though it will just depend on when you can find the right athletes to fit this defense. You might be able to find just exactly the right personnel in year 1 and turn everything on it's head.

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    WOW! Awesome posts. Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I like the 3-3-5, as far a playbooks go I can atleast decide on a defensive PB and the 3-3-5 is my D PB of choice, so this is GREAT STUFF! I always have room to improve and more to learn.

    Thanks again!

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    Ok, 1st ? Do you consider the DE or DT to be better suited for one job vs the other? Like is one better suited to stop the run vs rush the passer? Should I sub the DTs in for the DEs if I think the offense is going to run or vice versa?

    Thanks.

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    Administrator gschwendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigemaggs99 View Post
    Ok, 1st ? Do you consider the DE or DT to be better suited for one job vs the other? Like is one better suited to stop the run vs rush the passer? Should I sub the DTs in for the DEs if I think the offense is going to run or vice versa?

    Thanks.
    To me, the two most important attributes for a pass rusher are FMV (or PMV for that matter) and PUR. For whatever reason, really high PUR seems to let the DEs target the QB better than low PUR.

    So to answer your question, on pass rush situations, put in your players that have high PUR and run situations put in players that have high STR.


    That's not definitive but that's my experience.

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    Heisman gigemaggs99's Avatar
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    I also think it's cool how the Goal Line is different in the 3-3-5, it shows a 6-3-2 and a 5-3-3. There are some nice package subs too as far as speed and jumbo, etc.

    Next ? I guess it should go here since it's the Nickel formations in the 3-3-5 pb. There are package subs where you can put your SS or FS in as the "Nickel" player. What is the nickel player, I see where he is on the formation, my question is what is his purpose and who would be best put in this spot? It seems the 'normal' formation has the 3rd string CB as the Nickel back. Is there a more advantageous player for this spot?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gschwendt View Post
    By far the biggest advantage is that because you don't have 4 with a hand in the dirt, I think this line says it best:
    "With 8 guys who have coverage skills, there will often be one dropping that you do not expect to drop, and a blitzer that the OL has not accounted for."

    In the 425, you're always rushing at least 4 but in the 335, you might rush only 3 and drop 8 into coverage. That, combined with the fact that you now have extra variables for the offense to consider (for one, is that extra LB going to blitz or cover), you give something for the offense to consider.

    While the 425 probably has the advantage a bit in run defense because you have 4 on the line, the 335 can compensate with the right LBs that can provide the run stopping while still allowing them to cover (something DL rarely ever have).
    Good points G, though I feel like (to an extent) those schematic differences are a factor in real-life that doesn't apply to the game, because of near-psychic protection and things like that. Still good points though. And dropping 8 doesn't do much good if you don't trust zone coverage (which I don't right now).

    One reason I struggle with the 3-3-5 is that I'm not very good at changing it up and running exotic blitzes or plays. So part of the upside of the 3-3-5 is eliminated by my own coaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by gigemaggs99 View Post
    I also think it's cool how the Goal Line is different in the 3-3-5, it shows a 6-3-2 and a 5-3-3. There are some nice package subs too as far as speed and jumbo, etc.
    If memory serves, those distinct Goalline formations are in multiple PBs, including the 4-2-5 and perhaps the 3-4. In fact, they might both be in everything, I just can't remember at the moment.
    Last edited by JeffHCross; 08-01-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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    Administrator gschwendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gigemaggs99 View Post
    Next ? I guess it should go here since it's the Nickel formations in the 3-3-5 pb. There are package subs where you can put your SS or FS in as the "Nickel" player. What is the nickel player, I see where he is on the formation, my question is what is his purpose and who would be best put in this spot? It seems the 'normal' formation has the 3rd string CB as the Nickel back. Is there a more advantageous player for this spot?
    In the game, it's essentially just a matter of putting the best personnel you have on the field for that situation. If you're in a passing situation and your Nickel back is a better cover guy than your SS2, then you might just stick with the default in the Nickel whereas if you want to give a coverage look like the 3-3-5 Nickel but want to blitz, you might put your SS into the Nickel spot and then let him either blitz or play run coverage in place of your blitzing LBs.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffHCross View Post
    Good points G, though I feel like (to an extent) those schematic differences are a factor in real-life that doesn't apply to the game, because of near-psychic protection and things like that. Still good points though. And dropping 8 doesn't do much good if you don't trust zone coverage (which I don't right now).
    You're right, due to the psychic blocking, the OL will pick up a lot of blitzes no matter where they come from. However, with overload blitzes, or even SS blitzes, the OL can't always block everyone. For example, with just a simple SS blitz, the OT might pick up the DE in front of him leaving the G to try to pick up the SS. If the SS stays wide enough, then the chance of that G getting there is slim.

    One reason I struggle with the 3-3-5 is that I'm not very good at changing it up and running exotic blitzes or plays. So part of the upside of the 3-3-5 is eliminated by my own coaching.
    Yeah, you definitely have to be a gambler to run the 3-3-5 to make it effective. However, it's like playing roulette... you may not win every time but when you do, you get paid off big.

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    Are the F'd up allignment issues in the 4-2-5 also present in the 3-3-5?

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