Here’s Real Life&Death Lesson #23,362 that I’ve taught football players and college law enforcement students for 4 decades: what you do in the open field and with the open field determines how close you get to scoring.

The Open-Field Concept is one of our top 51 essential elements of coordinating a championship defense in Football Poverty. When you don’t have the best of everything and everyone, closing the open-field tilts the playing field against Rich Teams.

Open-Field has multiple meanings. Here is what we teach our defense:

  1. There are 2 open-fields when the opponent has possession of the ball: (i) the open field around the ballcarrier (ii) the open field around potential ballcarriers.
  2. Those open fields include: (i) behind the line of scrimmage (ii) beyond the line of scrimmage.
  3. Behind the LOS includes the open field around: (i) the opposing QB when he possesses the ball while he’s dropping, running, or moving anywhere with the ball. (ii) any ballcarrier after a handoff.
  4. Beyond the LOS includes the open field around: (i) any ballcarrier past the LOS including QB, RB, WR, TE. (ii) any potential ballcarrier.
  5. Our 40-year video research shows a direct relationship to the amount of open-field around any ballcarrier or potential ballcarrier anywhere on the field and points scored.
  6. The more open-field around ballcarriers and potential ballcarriers, the more points scored. And vice-versa.
  7. Study film and calculate: (i) the opponent’s total open-field on every play (ii) total open field for the game (iii) average open-field on every play. 
  8. Then calculate the amount of points your defense allowed per game.
  9. The ratio between open-field and points scored on your defense gives you a formula – powerful teaching evidence that will dramatically change the strength of your defense.
  10. Close all the open-field and you win more games. Guaranteed.
  11. Closing all the open-field does not exclusively depend on pre-snap defensive formation mathematics. The numbers of defenders positioned at levels 1,2,3,4 before the snap are not the main priority. What matters most is post-snap defensive math – the numbers of defenders that close open-field behind and beyond the LOS.
  12. Our research shows that the defensive play-call itself is not the main element of championship defense. The main element is the outcome of the defensive play-call that closes the most open field.
  13. There’s one more definition of open-field that is relevant to our Football Poverty – recruiting. We recruit from an open-field. Open-admission. We don’t recruit by invitation only. We open it up to anyone. Then we close the open-field naturally through hard work. Hard work activates the exercise of free will. Hard work forces the open-field to make the toughest call of all – stay or leave. Those who learn to love hard work make the call work. Those who hate hard work, make another call that doesn’t work.

The job of Defensive Coordinator has never been easy. It’s getting tougher ever day. Without life-long learning, you stop earning – wins and jobs.

X Fitness has been deeply & profoundly committed to give FREE coaching to players and coaches on the football field, in the gym, and online for 45 years.  New #podcast compliments of X Fitness at:

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Blessings & all good things


Gino Arcaro

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