Defensive Installation Progression

I have been asked several times in the last few days if I could share information about fall camp defensive installation progression.  Below is an actual progression from a few years ago, but rather than just share this, I would like to discuss some considerations that need to be made when putting together a install schedule for fall camp.

  • Order of installation
  • Pace of installation

You can download the Excel spreadsheet of this progression by clicking on this link: Defensive Installation Progression, or just click on the image below.

Progression Order of Installation

When deciding what order to install the fronts, stunts, and coverages of your defensive system, there are a couple of basic methods you can consider.  One method is to install your base, or most simple, defensive front and work forward from there.  A second tack is to install your base, or most important, defensive front first.

22For years we took the first approach and installed our front “22” (DT’s in a head up alignment) first, because it was simple and easy to teach the other fronts after introducing it. But, our “22” front was one we never or seldom ran during the season.   We ended up combining the two methods and introduced our base (as in the most simple) front that was also base (as in most important) to our defense.

31We now begin by introducing “31” (one of our staple fronts-but also simple to introduce) and build on our players knowledge of that front when installing our other fronts.  We use the same philosophy when adding the progression for Stunts (both 1st and 2nd level) and Coverages.

The concept regarding order of installation is the same; it progresses from simple to more complex, in a logical manner,  building on the knowledge your athletes have gained from previous work.

Pace of Installation

Each new season we conduct our installation like we are teaching it for the first time.  Our pace is fairly slow and deliberate; for the veterans it is a good time to review and develop an even deeper understanding of the intricacies of our defense; for the rookies it is a pace that hopefully will not make their collective heads swim.

To determine the pace needed, we always look at a few landmark dates or events that we know a degree of preparation and installation completed is necessary.

  • The first full scrimmage against your own offense
  • The first full scrimmage against another team (Jamboree)
  • First week prep against your week 1 opponents scout offense
  • Week 1 Game
  • First Conference or District Game

We know what installation we want to have completed before each of these events, so it is simply a matter of working backwards from those dates to figure out how many practices you have install the needed material.

After doing it a while, you get a pretty good idea of the pace you can proceed.  Inevitably, though, you can count of some hiccups… (weather, unplanned events, etc) to slow down your teaching schedule.  And, although we do have a schedule, we always let how our athletes were handling the information ultimately determine the pace.  If at any point we could see that our play was “slowing down” because of “paralysis by analysis”, we could vary from the schedule, slow down, and add a review day.  Ultimately our athletes understanding of what we are trying to accomplish is the most important thing, not the schedule.

As you can see on the install progression, review days are built into the schedule.  This allows us to slow down and emphasize any item(s) that we have determined through film review or testing needs more time.

As I have discussed in previous posts, using technology to “flip” your meeting and practice time could have a positive effect on the pace and success of this progression.  Having key pieces of your installation presentations on video, which your athletes (both veteran and incoming) could view and review could greatly improve both on the field and in the classroom teaching time.  You can read about this idea in these posts:

If you have any questions, just comment or shoot me an email… I will answer!

Jeff Floyd –

4 thoughts on “Defensive Installation Progression

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