The biggest problem we faced in our SWAT no-huddle passing system was bump & run coverage. We struggled between 1991-93 against press coverage. During that time, we were two different teams – successful when our receivers were allowed free release but not so successful when they weren’t. Things changed in 1994. We turned it around against bump & run with a press-first system that has solved our problem to this day. Here’s what has worked out for us:
- Mindset. Press coverage is an attempt to bully receivers. The first step was to change our mentality from victim to attacker. The main reason why bump & run had worked so well against us was the acceptance of the victim mentality by our receivers. We used to expect to be hit and manhandled. I made it worse by teaching conventional release techniques. It didn’t work because we always ended up fighting off an attack which did the job for the defense. Fighting off the attack disrupted our patterns and timing, not the actual bump & run. Consequently, we turned around the roles. We taught our receivers that they were the attackers and the defenders were the victims.
- We designed a striking technique that attacked the defense by pressing first. Make the defenders the victim of the attack. The striking technique lessons start in the weight room with close-grip bench presses. The purpose is to strike the defender with the first press, using a maximum force double-jab to neutralize or separate the defender off the LOS. Force the defender to fight off the attack instead of the other way around. The force of the offensive strike accomplishes two outcomes: (a) it prevents pattern disruption (b) it wears down defenders.
- We taught every receiver to play defense. We play ironman football. Some receivers have to play both ways as starters or to fill depth charts are second-stringers. Our reality calls for conservation of teaching time. The solution has been to teach the each same double-jab strike on offense and defense with the exact same attacker-first mentality.
- Floor it. We run a play every 8 seconds. No defense will stay strong under the dual pressures of high-speed play and receiving more hits more than they give.
- Run right at every press defender. Run the ball directly at a press defender. Make every press defender a point-of-attack on running plays and short passes. Force every defender into hand-to-hand combat as often as possible and challenge each one to make tackles.
- Striking power is built in the weight room. Nothing less than total commitment to lifting will work out. Devastating strikers can be built from scratch with structured striking sets and reps. A weak lifter will never cut it as a striking receiver.
- Even the word ‘receiver’ is a psychological disadvantage because it implies being the victim who receives the attack. We don’t use the word ‘receiver’ any more. Every position has a code word.
In summary, be the attacker not the victim. Defensive backs can’t handle getting hit over and over again. They have limited number of hits that they can give and take. Force them to hit and get hit early and often. They will run out of gas. They will crack under pressure. Mercilessly attack press defenders with until they back off and back down. Don’t get bullied. Fight back. Turn bump & run into an organized street-fight. Never let up until they back off. Turn the bump & run tables around. See how tough the defense really is when your offense adopts a defensive mentality. We teach one ideology repeatedly – a passing team is not a finesse team. It’s a striking team, an attacking team that will run over any defense that tries to get the way. Turn a bump & run defense into speed bumps.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com His books include: 4th& hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur . He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in the spring of 2014. And later this month, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.”