Saturday, August 10, 2019

Creepers vs. Simulated Pressures

I have been studying Creepers and Simulated Pressures all summer, but I have to admit that I have not really known the difference between the two. These two similar concepts are not new to football but they are very new to the majority of us coaches who are looking to install them for the first time. There is little universal terminology in football but if we are to adopt some terminology, it might as well be from those who are the best in the business at using these concepts. LSU DC Dave Aranda and Alabama DC Pete Golding are two of the best at running these replacement pressures and they were both mentored by the same person, ULL DC Ron Roberts. I need to give a big thank you to the great @CoachRonRoberts for taking the time to helping me to learn the difference between the two. 

Both Creepers and Simulated Pressures are pressures that bring a 2nd or 3rd level defender, a LB or DB, in exchange for dropping a 1st level defender on the DL. These “extra safe” pressures only require 4 rushers and do not sacrifice coverage in pressuring Offenses. Also, Creepers can be either Man or Zone and Simulated Pressures can be either Man or Zone. 

So, What’s the Difference? 
A Creeper does not show pressure pre-snap. A Simulated Pressure shows pressure pre-snap. That’s it. One is a base look, one is showing pressure. Further, and this blew my mind a little bit when Coach Roberts explained it, a pressure call can be both a Creeper and a Simulated Pressure. Take a look at the Fire 3 pressure diagrams I recently wrote about to see the difference. 












Everyone’s assignment is the same except the Simulated Pressure is showing the additional threat of the mugged LBs in the A gaps. Ron Roberts says this in his article Simulated Pressure/Creepers: “In my eyes a Simulated Pressure is giving the illusion of bringing 6 and only rushing 4 (hence the term Simulated Pressure b/c you are Simulating Pressure).” This pressure has 7 potential rushers (six on the LOS plus the $ off the edge) that the OL must try to account for. 

The great thing about Sim Pressures are that you are able to manipulate Pass Protection and force the QB to get rid of the ball quicker than he wants to, and you can still play your favorite 7 man coverage behind it. If you can manipulate the protection correctly, you will literally have the best of both worlds—pressure and coverage. 

Ron Roberts says this about Creepers: “You can do it out of an Odd front and bring a 4th designated rusher and play coverage or you can do it out of a 4 Down look and bring a rusher that is not in the front and drop one of the 4 Down into coverage. With the RPO system there are benefits of dropping a first level defender into coverage b/c the QB does not account for him.” 

Install Considerations 
I had a Coach and friend of mine ask me recently if he should install Sim Pressures if he wasn’t seeing much Drop-back Pass. I would still utilize some Sim Pressure looks when I could but Creepers out of your base look would be the way to go if you were not seeing that much Drop-back Pass. You are still getting movement with the Creepers and bringing a guy off edge vs. the Run. Or, you can bring an ILB and get to Over/Under front from a 3 man front. 

Florida Tech DC Brian Vaughn (Blitzology) also has separate category for his Creepers than his Simulated Pressures. He explained to me that his Creepers aren’t pressures as much as they are a way to get into a 4 man front and get movement to attack certain run concepts. The originator of Creepers and Simulated Pressures, Bill Arnsparger, talked about this in his classic book, Coaching Defensive Football. Let’s take a look at creating Over and Under from a 3 man Front. 


It is easy to install your Creepers first if you face mostly run-heavy teams and then when facing a passing team, you can simply mug and walk your LBs up on the LOS to run those same concepts as Simulated Pressures to manipulate protection and get the ball out of the QB’s hand quickly. 

Both Creepers and Simulated Pressures have a place in your Defensive package and they can be run out of multiple fronts with minimal changes for your guys to learn. If you have questions, hit me up me on Twitter at @BarryHoover.

Ron Roberts was recently on the Make Defense Great Again podcast with Coach Vass.  Check it out here: 




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