A Coach’s Guide to Assist’s Defensive Data

Hudl Assist now breaks down defensive front and blitz to make scouting an opponent that much easier for football coaches.

A Coach’s Guide to Assist’s Defensive Data

Hudl Assist now breaks down defensive front and blitz to make scouting an opponent that much easier for football coaches.

As an offensive coach, there’s never a shortage of ways to spend your time, whether that’s perfecting your offensive scheme or analyzing the defense you play Friday. But in-depth analysis of both your offense and your upcoming defense are impossible without taking the time to enter the data.

That’s where Hudl Assist comes in. This year, we’re breaking down the defensive front and blitz columns to give coaches the ability to better prepare for upcoming opponents. The information coaches receive enables going straight to game prep instead of spending time entering the data themselves.

Defensive Front

Teams are always trying to find new ways to place their defensive players to confuse offenses, specifically the offensive line. By bringing a safety down or standing up defensive linemen, coaches want to make their defenses difficult to read.

Assist returns information that’s easy for everyone to understand. Our analysts break down defensive front into four categories: odd, even, split and stack. These are determined by player positions at the snap.

Odd

Means there’s an odd number of defensive linemen and the linebackers are positioned in the gaps behind them. Teams that run a 3-4 or a 5-2 will be marked as odd.

Even

Means there’s an even number of defensive linemen and a linebacker in line with the center. A 4-3 or 4-1 defense will be marked as even.

Split

When there’s an even number of defensive linemen and linebackers are split on both sides of the center. Teams using a 4-2 or 4-4 will be marked as split.

Stack

When there’s an odd number of defensive linemen and a linebacker in line with the center. A 3-3, 5-1 or 5-3 are all considered a stack front.

Why different names instead of the actual front?

Before the season, our analysts talked to offensive coaches around the country about the defensive front column. The responses were all across the board — what one coach felt was a 5-2 was a 3-4 to another. For most coaches, it was more valuable to know how the defense aligned as opposed to the specific front name. This helps avoid some of the subjectivity around defensive fronts, which makes it easier to provide consistent data to help create a game plan.

Alignments with the data also allow coaches to simplify the blocking scheme. Rather than worry about personnel packages, coaches can see how the defense is aligned and present that information to their players. Whether your opponent’s outside linebackers are walked up to the line or five yards off, you’ll be able to master your blocking schemes as soon as the Assist data is in your hands.

All data is customizable.

As with any of your breakdown data, you can alter the information to your team’s terminology. From your team settings page, adjust what a specific front is called. If you prefer split to be listed as 4-4 in your breakdown data, you can easily make the change. It’ll automatically update every instance of split in your library.

Blitz

Hudl Assist is also providing blitz this season. This column tells the number of players that rush at the snap. Any players that attack the line of scrimmage on a run play, and those rushing the quarterback on a pass, will be counted.

We went to coaches again to get their feedback. We discovered a simple yes or no doesn’t fully identify the pressure a defense brings. The number of players, along with the defensive front, gives coaches the best idea of how to block an opponent.

Why numbers, not yes or no?

The combination of the defensive front and the rush count from blitz gives you a good idea of what an opponent does every snap. Run a custom report with those two categories to give insight into how a team uses each front and how many they rush. Take a team that runs an odd front (like 3-4) and rushes four on most plays. This tells you that one additional player typically comes on a blitz.

Recommended custom report: DEF Front + Blitz

Use the data to make game-time decisions.

Preparation can help you pick up on opponent tendencies and see where teams struggle. If coaches know the number of rushers a team brings every play, they have the ability to adjust not only their blocking, but their play calling as well.

Run custom reports of defensive front and blitz by down and distance to give play callers a leg up in knowing what to run. If a team has a stacked front and rushes six on third down 68% of the time, call a play action pass or a draw to take advantage of the situation.

The blitz column lets coaches know how many players rush, regardless of the formation. If a team rushes five every single play of the game, the offensive line coach knows exactly how he needs to prepare. Yes, the players may come from different angles, or there could be stunts used by the defensive linemen. But if a team knows the number of players coming, that variable is taken out of the scenario.

Customize with your own terminology.

As with the defensive front column, all of the information in the blitz column can be customized through your team settings page. If you prefer to name the different blitzes or enter different blitz schemes, you can do that. Adjust the information on that page to update your entire library.

Simple is always better. Whether it’s a new offense or a blocking scheme, you take out the unnecessary variables to assure a quick transition. Give players the information to prepare for an upcoming opponent to make game preparation easier and ensure better success on the field.

Don’t forget to check out the Hudl Forum to see how coaches across the country are using the data returned with Hudl Assist, or read up on our support resources to answer any other questions you might have.

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