Defending Quads Formations | FBCP S09E05

Defending Quads Formations can cause some serious anxiety in defensive coordinators. The empty, unbalanced alignment breaks a lot of your base defensive alignment rules.

There is no reason to lose sleep over Quads Formations, though. By understanding what teams can do out of the formation, you can easily match the alignment. With just a few simple rules, your team can handle 4 receivers to one side with no problem.

Why Do Offenses Run Quads Formations

  • They want to cause alignment issues for you. As long as you have a plan and your players know what to do, the first big issue is solved.
  • Some offensive coordinators want to pass from Quads formations. Because of the limited protection, this is usually quick passing to get the ball to athletes in space. You likely see a lot of stack and bunch alignments.
  • Teams that feature an athletic Quarterback can use quads formations to get better numbers for the run. Mistakes in alignment may also create seams for the run game or open up jet runs.

The Problems With Quads Formations

  • From an offensive standpoint, quads has a few flaws. Defensive coaches need to be aware of these if you want to stop them.
  • Empty formations can only protect the Quarterback with 5 blockers. When you are defending quads formations with six pass rushers, the QB has to get the ball out quickly on the pass. Make him prove he can do this before you worry about anything else.
  • Know the field zones. There are three underneath zones and two deep zones to each side. Quads actually limits the ability to attack these zones by letting you load up to one side. If you can lock down the single receiver in man coverage, you are able to defend all 5 passing zones to the quads alignment.
The same Quarter-Quarter-Half coverage works against most Quads Formations with minimal adjustments.

Adjustments to Quads Formations

  • Defending quads formations does not require anything more than the most basic trips coverage. Run a quarter-quarter-half zone coverage. Use the back side hook defender to defend the quads side hook zone.
  • Play man coverages. I like the Tiger Cat call in our 4-2-5 Defense System because we can move the Weak Safety over to the quads side but still have a plan for containing the Quarterback.
  • Use bracket coverages to handle stacks and bunches, instead of trying to lock down man coverage. Once again, knowing the field zones helps. If a team will let you defend multiple receivers in one field zone, take advantage.

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