The MEX Path: An A-Gap Sim
Regardless of defensive structure, if you see a lot of Zone, you need this path.
Baylor Head Coach Dave Aranda’s MEX, or a Center-insert simulated pressure, is one path that is constantly popping up on Saturdays. The simple pressure uses the O-line’s Zone technique or Slide protection against it. In many cases, the ILB away from the RB will insert on a “V-Tech” path while the other ILB works to stack, tracking the ball on what is referred to as a “ball-fit.”
In a V-Tech, the ILB is reading the “V” of the Center’s neck. If the Center works to him (eyes!), the ‘backer will cross-face and take the opposite A-gap. If the Center works away (back!), the ILB will now work butt-side. Think path of least resistance.
The scheme's goal is to put pressure on the A-gaps and cut the RB off before he can get vertical. By working opposite the RB, the defense is assuming the Zone is going towards the V-Tech. The concept is designed to work across the Center’s face creating pressure right where the RB is working.
In the diagram above, the Mike inserts on a V-Tech while the Nose has a NOB (Nose to B) stunt and the 5 technique COPs (Contain Pressure). If zoning away from the RB, the defense now has three defenders and every gap covered. Plus, if the offense is running Zone Read, the COP by the 5 tech. would give the QB a “give” read.
The pressure, in theory, would force the RB to work the front side. The issue here is the Rover (Will) is working to “stack” the Mike and reading the RB. The BDE (B) is the “Rat” in coverage but can fold back into the box, usually unblocked. In technical terms, this is a “force” pressure or working into the blocking scheme.