Brent Venables Evolution to the Top DC in the Game

Posted: December 29, 2018 in All Things Power Spread
Venables Scheme History
  • Agg Hybrid 4-3 1Gap ZB/Man Mix (Stoops) <OU>
  • AGG 3-3 Hybrid Slash ZB Cover1 LockCB/Quarters Mix (Vic Koenning(Joe Lee Dunn)) <Clemson Early>   
  • AGG 4-3 Hybrid SlashGap1 ZB Z/M/L MIX (Stoops/Koenning/Dunn) <Clemson Later>

’16 Auburn Game

Incredible Aggressive Variety though a an aggressive and passive aggressive power spread mix!

  • # – Cover Shells (Can be anywhere from 0-9 with 1-4 the standard; 5-9 exotic mixes)
  • ##s (1) – First Number (Letter) = Cover Shell Initially Shown by the Defense (Look)
  • ##s (2) – Second Number (Letter) = Cover Shell the Defense Shifts into either pre or post snap
  • – Dash used to denote a coverage shift if the first coverage look has a lot of numbers or letters involved
  • ? – Not sure (play developed quicker than the scheme)
  • <> – Innovative simple PS Brilliance described
  • A – Struck thru letters indicate a Fake Blitz by that specific player.
  • Agg – Aggressive (Capital letters=more aggressive)
  • BlitzDrop! – A player or players actually initiating the blitz post snap then dropping into coverage.
  • BS – Boundary Safety (Weakside)
  • C – Cover Shell (ex- 1,2,3 – with no shift pre or post snap)
  • D – Drop (The number of players dropping into pass coverage: ex-8D=8 men in coverage)
  • Dime – Dime Back (Specifying a 6th DB on a Blitz)
  • G – Gap (A player other not on the DLine lined up on the Line of Scrimmage)
  • Gap – 1 Gap Defense (DLine occupying a Gap)
  • H – Hybrid Defensive Look (In between 2 types of Defenses: 3-3, 4-3, 3-4 ,3-2, etc)
  • HWDE – Weakside DE who is also a standup (2pt Stance) Hybrid DE
  • Hybrid – Flexible front (ex-Standup DE = 4-3/3-4 Hybrid)
  • L – Press Coverage (Lock) (A # following specifies a certain number of DBs are Locked onto a WR)
  • LB – Linebacker (One or more LBs on a Blitz)
  • M – Man on Man Coverage
  • Mix – Variety with Blitz (Front) and/or Coverage (Back)
  • NB – Nickel Back (Specifying a 5th DB on a Blitz)
  • P – Psycho Defense (Very unpredictable front with many or all of the players on the Line of Scrimmage in 2pt Stance threatening to blitz)
  • PREVENT – Prevent Defense (Deep Zone – Safe Defense used at end of games to keep all the action underneath and protect against a big score)
  • Q – Quarters Coverage (An aggressive form of Cover 4 where the both safeties can attack the run and pass routes downhill similar to a Robber – can be innovated with different Cover Shell Schemes such as C3R)
  • R – Robber (Usually one Safety dropping out of a deep cover shell to “rob” underneath routes)
  • S – Safety
  • Slash – DLine Slashing the Gaps
  • SLB – Strongside LB (Field)
  • Stunt – A criss cross pass rush either by the DLine or the LBs on a Blitz
  • Tampa – Tampa 2 or innovation of the Tampa 2 (Cover 2 with MLB dropping as Deep Safety. Innovations include T3 where LB starts as Deep Safety and T5 or T7 with multiple Ss and LBs deep or dropping deep from close to Line of Scrimmage)
  • U – Underneath Coverage (usually to specify man or press coverage underneath a Cover Shell)
  • WLB – Weakside Linebacker (Boundary)
  • ZB – Zone Blitz (Zone Coverage behind the Blitz – sometimes dropping DLineman into coverage: Player listed after ZB=the player dropping into coverage)
  • Zone – Zone Coverage

List of Defensive Plays per Series
Coverage (Blitz)(Front)
One Parenthesis = No Blitz   /    Two Parenthesis = Blitz
  1. 20 (2-4), Q3 (4-2H), T3 (3-2H)
  2. Q (4-3), C3LockMU (4-2), 21Man (NB)(3-2)
  3. C2 (2-4), 23L1 (4-3H), 32Z NB(DimeZB)(2-3P), C1ML1-Q (LBsStunt)(4-2H), 6L13R LBG(4-2LBG), C6 NB(4-2), 23 (4-2H), 6L1M-2M (3-3H 8D), C6L1 (LBs)(4-2H), C3L2 (4-3H), C6L2M 3LBs(3-3)
  4. C6 (2-5H), 23 (WLB/ZBDE)(4-3H), 2M Safeties(LBsStunt)(3-2)
  5. C6(4-3H), 21M(2-5H), 1M (LBsStunt/ZBDE)(4-2H)

  1. C2R (2-4), 1ML (3-4), 23 (BS+WLB/ZB-MLB+SLB+NB)(3-3) <Classic Overload Weakside ZB w/ Strongside Look!>
  2. C3 (3-4), 23 (2-5H), 21L (2-5), 23 (2-5), Q3R (4-3H)
  3. 21 (4-2H), Q (2-4H), 2L2 (MLB+WLB)(4-3H), 1M (MLB)(3-5H), 2QL (4-2H), Q3RL (LBs)(4-2H), 13 (SLBs/ZBWLBs)(2-4Psycho1)<Overload OLine w/ Weak ZB>, 2-1 (4-3), 2Q (4-2H), 23LR (WLB)(2-4H), Q(4-3H), C6 (SLB?)(4-3H), 0M (5-4H)
  4. C6 (4-3), 63 (3-4H), Q3 (4-2), Q3 (LBsStunt)(4-2H), C2 (2-4H), Q1M (MLB)(4-2H)
  5. 26-1M (2-4H), 23 (LBs+S)(4-2), T3T2 (3-2), 20M LBsBlitzDrop!(4-2), 26 (2-5H), 6QL2 (4-3), 21L2 (NB/ZBHWDE)(4-2H), 21L1RM (4-2), 0M (2-5H),          0ML1 (LBs)(4-2), T3TQ LB(3-2), T3T7 (LB)(3-2)
  6. 62 LBs(4-3H), C5 (2-5H), C5 (3-4), T32M LBs(3-2/3), C3 (4-3H) 
  7. PREVENT – T3 (3-2), T3 (3-2), T3 (3-2), T3 (3-2), C8 (3-0)


  1. […] Brent Venables Evolution to the Top DC in the Game […]

  2. […] Brent Venables Evolution to the Top DC in the Game […]

  3. […] sure. College teams may struggle with this type of Scheme. Top Clemson DC Brent Venables has the same kind of Aggressive Variety, but from a much simpler scheme. But remember – this is only the beginning. PS2020. A lot of […]

  4. […] 2020 Defense. This Defense mixes coverage and pressure every single play ala the great college DC Brent Venables. What they also do to a high degree that Venables or no one else in the college game does is mix […]

  5. […] Defenses for each team have been sort of an afterthought. Certainly, everyone has got to know about Brent Venables brilliance as a DC by now. Then there’s Dave Aranda for LSU – most fans have heard of […]

  6. […] Venables doesn’t have the same experience or talent as his previous Clemson Defenses, he still has the […]

  7. […] again, they are just looks. Tricky for the Offense. Not tricky for his players. In fact, during my research, I marvelled at how simple his Zone and Man Covererages really were. A lot of times it’s just […]

  8. […] able to keep the seem scheme simple for his players, yet tricky for his opponents. (See Brent Venables) . A mix of Quarters – or Cover 3 with one safety dropping down in the box for the run game […]

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