Defining the force player in your football defense is the only way to get great run fits. In fact, every player on the defense needs to have a clearly defined role. For this week’s JDFB Quick Clinic, we’ll talk about exactly who the force player is on your defense and what his job is.
That’s where the Umbrella Principle comes into play. It’s a simple system that can be applied to any defense. It clearly defines the run fits for every defender.
Who is the Force Player in Football?
There’s more than one way to fit the run. Just like everything in football, there is no right way. And there is no universal terminology.
The force player is also called the contain player or box player in different systems. While the offense is trying to move the ball down the field in the run game, the defense is trying to make them to run sideways and get tackled for a minimal gain.
Well, if they run sideways long enough, eventually they run around your guys. So someone has to make them stop running sideways. That’s the job of the force defender.
Force a Change of Direction
Ultimately, the job of the force player in football is to force a change of direction for the ball carrier. If he’s running toward the sideline to run around the defense, the force defender must make him either turn back inside to the pursuit, or bubble his path back away from the line of scrimmage so that pursuit can chase him down.
Of course if that guy doesn’t change his direction and the force player has done his job, he makes the tackle. Play over.
How Do You Know Who the Force Player is?
Force players are defined by the coverage, not the defensive front. And definitely not the name of the position. For simple coverage like Cover 3 the force player is the flat player. He’s the guy on the outside.
In this episode, I’m answering a listener question on how to define the force player in the Miami 4-3 Defense with 2-high safeties. It’s definitely a tougher task.
We’ll take a look at who the force player should be when you’re running traditional Cover 2, as well as who the force player will be in Quarters Coverage.
Defensive Systems That Work
Now that you know how important the Force Player is, you might still be wondering how it fits into your defense. This is the simple part. JDFB Coaching Systems use the Umbrella Principle to give you clear run fits in any defensive system.
JDFB Coaching Systems clients get instant access to four defensive systems that are proven winners on the football field. Click here to start your JDFB Coaching Systems trial today.
- The Umbrella Principle
- Free video series on the 4-2-5 Defense including how the Umbrella Principle works for your defense
- Why You Coach Run Fits, Not Gap Responsibility
- The 4-3 Defense with Dave Dugan, Defensive Coordinator for Bishop-Fenwick High School (MA)
- Coaching Overhang Safeties
- Coaching Safeties in Quarters Coverage for the 4-3 Defense