Dec. '22 - Blitz of the Month: Georgia's Pod alignment and Hot blitz (Eyes).
Georgia's "Pod" alignment and EYES blitz.
The “Ameba” front is nothing new to defensive football. However, the thought process behind the alignment is that because there is no proper structure, the offensive line will struggle to decide how to divvy out the blocks. So what you usually get is some kind of Double-Fan to the edges.
Usually, defenses will stand everyone up in the box, with all the players still contained inside both Tackles. However, in Georgia’s ameba look, they combine width as an element to create space. The Bulldogs can also pair ameba looks with pre-snap shifts to add another level of complexity to the offense (below).
In the clip above, the Bulldogs mass their alignment around the Center and then shift pre-snap with a “move” call. The sudden movement does two things. First, it can cause a false start by the O-line, especially if Georgia has hit home on a few pressures. Second, it forces the O-line to recalibrate its protection once the shift has moved. Forcing any athlete to think critically while people are running at them can spell disaster, particularly against the Georgia D-line. Another example from last year is shown below.
The ameba alignment and move shifts were widespread in the Georgia scheme last year. Self-scouting in that system is a priority, and every off-season, they look at new ways to attack or change the way they did something the year prior. Like the ameba front, Georgia’s defensive staff doesn’t want opponents to be able to get them into predictable situations off their prior history.
The Bulldogs eventually finished in a BOSS alignment in the two prior clips (above). BOSS stands for Bigs On Same Side and stresses the offense’s protection by placing the anchor points or D-line all to one side of the Center. The alignment has become popular at the higher levels of football as a way to manipulate protection. Often, an offense will slide their protection toward the “bigs,” opening them up for manipulation.
The BOSS alignment is referred to as a “load” front. The popular Saban “NFL” presentation simulated pressures use a “load” element in their root design. In short, it is a best-practice way to attack protections. When combined with width, a defense can stress the protection even more. I have written several times about how width can be a great tool in isolating weaker O-linemen in protection.
The width element of the alignment comes from a front I call BLAZERS. In this particular alignment, the defense places two defenders outside the Tackles. By doing so, the defense forces the Guards to play like Tackles. Usually, when looking to attack protections, the defense will attempt to attack a Guard with speed. In most offenses, the Guards are run-first blockers. Just as offenses use space to attack a “bad” athlete on defense, the same applies to attacking protections. Make the Guard play like a Tackle.
Related Content: The BLAZER Front