Monday, December 8, 2014


I've been studying the 4-2-5 and I pulled a lot of good resources from Runcodhit, Brophy, Deuce, Blitzology, Coach Mac, Chris at SmartFootball, Jim Light, and some articles from this site.  The newer links are at the top of the list under each coach.  Here are links to the 4-2-5:

Start here:
Multiplicity but Simplicity: Why the 4-2-5 Defense - Gary Patterson - DC - New Mexico (1997)
TCU 4-2-5 - Gary Patterson (Nike COY)

Defending Trips - Disguise and Scheme
3x1 Formations- Defending the Open Side
Defending Tight Bunch Formations
Stopping the Power Running Offense with the 4-2-5 Part I: Principals
Stopping the Power Running Offense with the 4-2-5 Part II: Double Tight I
Split Safety-Zone Blitzes
4-2-5 Alignments-Part I
4-2-5 Alignments-Part II
4-2-5 Resources
Quarter Coverage- Safety Push Technique
Quick Thoughts- Determining Coverages for a Defensive Scheme
Cover Black- Inverted Man-Under Halves
Robber Coverage Notes
Attacking the Away Side : Boise State vs TCU
Random Thoughts
4-2-5 Away Side Run Support
4-2-5 Split Field Coverage

Patterson Nickel Defense video
Patterson Film Review
1-High Nickel (4-4) Intro
No-Huddle Check-With-Me Defense
TCU Defense Explained   ***This has Gary Patterson video
TCU's 42 Nickel Coverage & Front Coordination
TCU's 42 Nickel Blitz & Coverage Concepts
TCU "2 Read": Adaptation to the Spread (2x2)
TCU "2 Read": Adaptation to the Spread (3x1)
Fiesta Bowl: TCU vs Boise State
AFC: Automatic Front Check
Powerpoint Playbooks / Animation
Virginia Tech Robber
TCU's 42 Nickel Coverage & Front Coordination
Brophy's Playbook and Resource Page

Mailbag Volume 3 (TCU Sticks Coverage)
Defending 3 x 1 Formations, Part V
Defending 3 x 1 Formations, Part IV
Some More Stunts for the Zone Read
Split Field Concept - The Underneath Players
Setting the Record Straight
Why Install Both Special and Solo Coverages?
Weak Safety Shuffle Technique in Solo Coverage
Two Gap/One Gap vs. One-Back Zone Option
The B.O.S.S. Blitz - An Answer to Dog Blitzing to a 3 x 1 Set
Putting It All Together - Run Fits in the Two Gap/One Gap Scheme
Morphing the 4-2-5 into the 3-3...Keeping the Offense on its Toes...
Automatic Coverage Check (ACC)
TCU Terms - Defined
Cover Blue for Corners - Deuce
Cover Blue for Safeties - Part 1 - Deuce
Cover Blue for Safeties - Part 2 - Deuce
2 Read/Blue Coverage
2 Read/Blue Coverage-The Reads
2 Read/Blue Coverage Revisited
2 Read/Blue Coverage-Run Fits
2 Read/Blue Coverage-Vs. Trips
2 Read/Blue Coverage-Vs. Empty Sets
Post Snap Communication in Pattern Reading Coverages
Simplifying and modifying TCU's blitz scheme for lower level play
Backside Safety in Quarters Coverage vs. The Run and Playaction
The 4-2-5 vs. Flexbone
The down and up stunt vs. the zone read play
The 4-2-5 and the Under, Meshing Two Great Defenses!
The 46 Nickel
Florida's Nickel Tracer/Auburn's Heat Package

4-2-5 Overload Blitz
Game Planning Coverages
Cover 1 (Man-Free) versus Action Passes
4-2-5 Cover 1 (Man-Free) Technique
4-2-5 Cover 1 (Man-Free) Coverage
4-2-5 Quarters Fire-Zone Coverage Pressure
4-2-5 Cover 3 Zone Blitz vs Empty
A Simple Adjustable 4-2-5 Zone Blitz vs. Spread Offenses
Super Bowl Preview Part II: New York Giants Blitz Package
Blitz of the Week #17 (Super Stick)
Making It All Look The Same (TCU Pressure Package)
TCU's Thunder Concept

Coach Mac:
Defending RPOs
Gaining Your Weak Safety
Half Line Drills to Teach Coverages
Defending the Zone Read
Coverage Adjustments to Quads/Empty Looks
Changing Defensive Looks
Man Free vs. Zone Pressure
Keeping Force Rules Simple
Spring Installation
Under Front Defense with Divorced Front Concepts
Concepts to Defend Trips
Defending the Spread with Quarter's Concepts
Building a Defense with the 4-2-5

James Light Football:
James Light 4-2-5 posts  Coach puts out articles faster than I can keep up with so this link will help.
TCU "Outlaw Bullets A" Blitz and Cover 1 Rat
TCU Toro Stunt and Blue Coverage Interception 
TCU Blue Special Rat Coverage
Quarters Coverage Adjustments vs Trips Split
Why TCU Will Be in the College Football Playoff

This site:
4-2-5 vs the Flexbone - Secondary Play
4-2-5 Defense - The Defense of the Future - David Raley (OJW)

More articles:
Breakdown of Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 Defense   by Chris Brown at Smart Football
Deconstructing the Virginia Tech Defense   by Chris Brown at Smart Football
Defending 11's Personnel with the 4-2-5    by Coach Holst at A Football Odyssey

Coach Huey thread links:
TCU 4-2-5 Defense
4-2-5 and Under

Playbooks and Other Resources:
1999 TCU Defense / Coverage Manual - Gary Patterson - DC
2006 Baylor Defense - Bill Bradley
2004 Villanova Defense - Joe Trainer
2001 Boise St. Defense - Bob Gregory
2000 Boise St. Defense - Brent Guy
2000 Oregon Defense - Bob Gregory
1992-1997 Williamette Defense - Bob Gregory
8 Man Front - David Bailiff - SW Texas St. (2000)
DL Pressure Games - David Bailiff - SW Texas St. (2001)
Virginia Tech - Cover 2 - Robber Package
1998 Virginia Tech Defense - Bud Foster
Pat Fox Notes       Courtesy of GridNotes


  1. Very nice list of resources! I'll be here a lot!

  2. This is a great web site! I have began using it extensively...

  3. Gary Patterson is a genius!

  4. Any suggestions on how to stop the wing t with this D? Very interested in installing this next year and we see the wing t atleast twice a year. thanks

  5. Click on the link above for This Site: 4-2-5 vs the Flexbone - Secondary Play. You can rotate the safeties the same way as you do vs the flexbone. I would probably adapt the 4-2-5 to play an Under front with it, but that's just my personal preference.

  6. thank you for defining the word coach and also thanks for the refrences.

  7. I want to install this defense for next season. Any suggestions for a one stop resource for installation and play book development

    1. Coach, stick as closely as you can to the TCU system. Don't try and adapt pieces of the 4-2-5, take the whole thing. Use the TCU playbook link on this site, print it out, and read every word of it. Then use the great information posted here by Coach Hoover and others to learn how they have adjusted to things they see that the TCU playbook may not cover. We recently switch from a 3-4 to the TCU 4-2-5 and won a state championship scoring more points on defense than we gave up!

  8. John, the only thing about the resources is that they are not more streamlined into one playbook that tells you how to install everything. Really, you need to know just about everything from all the links provided. Start with how you will call strength, front stunts, LB reads, how to "undivorce" the front and coverage if needed, determine how much of the blitz package to use and whether to include any Fire Zones with it, and to have at least a couple of coverage answers to match up vs Trips and any formations you will see. I am pressed a bit for time these days but I MAY be able to write something up to help out this install process this off-season. Brophy, RunCOD, Duece, and others do a pretty good job of explaining and simplifying Patterson's defensive concepts. There's not really a shortcut, make sure you know it all to start with so you can smartly choose what and how much of the TCU system you need.

  9. Can this work vs. the Read Option or S-Option

  10. Certainly, click Duece's link (2nd from the top right now) on "Some More Stunts for the Zone Read" for more info.

  11. Coach Hoover,

    Thanks for all the information you have provided about the 4-2-5. I really like what this defense has to offer. I do have a question though, how does the 4-2-5 defend against the counter because it seems with the LB reads that it would be susceptible to the counter? Do you have any experience having to stop the counter with the 4-2-5? In addition, what is the most effective way to teach the LB reads? Thanks for the help.

    Coach C

  12. Coach C, very good question. Check out the very last link, the Pat Fox notes, which explains how I like to teach the LB reads in the 4-2-5. In brief, the LBs will read their G-T area to the near back and make a "Pull" call when the G or T pulls for the other LB to widen a bit and stack behind the DE to their side.

  13. Coach, is there anything on here that could help me with covering quad bunch/stack. I have seen the 4x1 scheme but not how to cover the bunch/stack. Any suggestions?

  14. Coach, check out runcodhit's post on Defending Tight Bunch Formations. You could also check Roll or Cover 3 and walk a LB out to the Quads.

  15. Coach, is there anything in here that you recommend for stopping the under center option against teams like Georgia Tech, Navy, etc (not the spread). We have a lot of teams that run that kind of option in our conference. Also, any stunts you would recommend calling to stop the specific different types of option plays (i.e. midline option, triple option (to and away the tight end).

  16. Coach, both Duece and I wrote posts on defending the flexbone with the 4-2-5. His post also has info on stunts.

  17. Where would you suggest I start to look for D.L. reads and techniques along with the ILB reads/ techniques for specifically the TCU defense? Do they just try to get upfield, or are they reading linemen (guards for ILB??).

  18. Coach, click on the Block-Down-Step-Down link on the right for DL Play. The 4-2-5 DL play is the same as with the 4-3. Click on the link for Pat Fox Notes (last link up top) for LB Reads.

  19. The Pull call for our backers is a must. Our best backers have to see this naturally. Some are better than others.

    Sid Cee

  20. Any info available for defending the double tight, double wing out of the 4-2-5 as well as the single wing.....?

  21. Check out RunCODHit's article (5th one down).

  22. How do you defend motion vs spread sets?

  23. How would you defend trips bunch? While staying within the 4-2-5 principles?

  24. Hey coach, I really enjoyed the TGOG page, and I have a few questions. If you aligned head up on the guards, and outside shades on the tackles, would everyone be 2 gap players? Or just the players head up the guards? Are there any rules (or articles) on the ILBs for this system? And would you be able to run this vs the flexbone and be sound? Sorry for all the questions, any info would be greatly appreciated!!

  25. Coach, only the 3 tech and the 5 tech DE to the 1 tech side will be 2 gap players. The 2 gsp player is responsible for the gap inside of him so the ILBs will have to adjust. This works well vs the flexbone because the 2 gap player will slow his OL down from reaching the 2nd level LB. Make sure to read all of Duece's articles and video on TGOG.

  26. So with the TOGO system, if you play head up 2 techniques on the guards, and outside shade 5 techniques on the tackles, would the 5 techniques be 2 gap players since the gap inside them is open? Or, since the 2 techniques are 2 gap players anyway, the 5 techniques can be 1 gap players?

  27. Yes, that's their rule: if inside gap is open, you are a 2 gap player.

  28. The TCU Clinic link is dead. Does anyone have an alternate link to view it? Thanks!

  29. Kyle, unfortunately Coach Light had to remove all of his game film on his blog. I have updated the links.

  30. Coach Hoover,

    Absolutely love the sight. Been reading through much of the info and have learned a great deal.

    I have a question... Using the TGOG principles in a 4-2-5. How do you adjust/defend against wide splits from a team running veer/midline blocking schemes? It would be primarily in 10 personnel, pistol.

    Thanks in advance.

  31. I would have a shade or 1 tech as a Jet player and line everybody else head up and play Deuce technique and two-gap. The DE to the 3 tech side could go either way but I would probably start him as a two-gap player and then adjust as needed.

  32. Great list of resources. Is there an install plan anywhere in this info. Interested in info on installing at high school level.

  33. What a great site. Anyone have some individual position skills and drills they can share? For instance, what are the basic every-day-drills for the ILBs and other positions? I am a firm believer that that is where the game is won - in Indy period!

  34. Great site !Does TCU ever have their corners press or are they always off? If they do press, what situations and what coverages?

  35. What term does TCU use for a spy on the QB?