The FAVRE Path: Field Edge Creeper
MQ takes a look at a best practice Creeper.
Creepers, or replacement pressures, have been a hot topic this year. The hybridization of defenses at all levels has created the meshing of front structures. Replacement pressures have been around since the ‘70s when the godfather of the Fire Zone, Bill Arnsparger, invented them while coaching for the Dolphins. His de facto 3-4 ushered in a new era of hybrid football that got rolling once Lawrence Taylor entered The League. Fast-forward to today, and most 3-4 defenses use basic Arnsparger principles in their structure.
Related Content: Hybrids - The Making of a Modern Defense
Where today’s evolution of defense has brought us is the ambiguity of front structure. The traditional question of are you Odd or Even has now become, what percentage are you? The meshing of best-practices schematics like the Tilt (Under), Tite, and Over Fronts is seen at every football level. In most cases, defenses can’t just be one thing.
Creepers, or replacement pressures, are easy to run from a 3-4 alignment, while many four-down coaches have shied away from using 3-4 schematics in a four-down world because of run fits. Most DEs in a traditional four-down line are not considered “hybrid” players and mainly have their hand in the dirt, which has been the traditional marker for whether you are a DE or an OLB. Now we have EDGEs or a fancy word to label hybrid OLBs. These players rush and hold a gap in the traditional sense with no imagination. The problem is, modern football asks for more.
Dave Aranda, Head Coach of the Big 12 Champion (couldn’t resist!) Baylor Bears is probably the most famous at the college level for developing replacement pressures. Though he is known primarily for his extensive use of the Tite Front (a three-down alignment), his PESO, or 4-2-5 Nickel alignment, might have more of an impact in the future. A third CB or Ni replaces the Nose in a 3-4 Base in the Peso package. The alignment is the definition of modern defense, using hybrid players and hybrid schemes. The Peso package uses four-down alignments with three-down concepts and can easily bounce between the two.
In Aranda’s nomenclature, the beginning of words all have meanings. “F” means the pressure comes from the field, Marino - middle, Brees - boundary, Theismann - to the TE, etc. Aranda also uses NFL QBs to name his Creeper pressures. An oft-used scheme is the FAVRE Creeper or field pressure (below). Favre combines a field insert (contain) with line movement by the defensive line. The front can be set like a normal four-down front depending on the formation and rules of the defense. In true Creeper form, the DE opposite the pressure will drop out into coverage.