World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Nickel defense

Article Id: WHEBN0007891183
Reproduction Date:

Title: Nickel defense  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dime defense, American football strategy, 3–3–5 defense, Kenneth Gant, James Washington
Collection: American Football Formations, American Football Strategy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nickel defense

The Texas A&M–Commerce Lions in a nickel defense against the Adams State Grizzlies in 2015

In American football, a nickel defense (also known as a 4–2–5 or 3–3–5) is a defensive alignment that uses five defensive backs, of whom the fifth is known as a nickelback. Although the modern definition of the term encompasses all formations featuring five defensive backs, the original and still most common form of the nickel defense features four down linemen and two linebackers. Because the traditional 4–2 form preserves the defense's ability to stop an opponent's running game, it has remained more popular than its variants, to the extent that even when another formation technically falls within the "nickel" definition, coaches and analysts will refer to it by a more specific designation (e.g., "3–3–5" for a lineup of three down linemen and three linebackers) that conveys more information with equal or greater conciseness.

The nickel defense originated as an innovation of [1]. The nickel defense was popularized by head coach Don Shula and defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger of the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s and is now commonly employed in obvious passing situations or against a team that frequently uses three wide receiver sets on offense.

In college football, TCU is known to use a nickel defense as its base set, typically playing three safeties and two linebackers. Current Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson installed the nickel partly out of necessity upon finding that larger and more prominent programs, most notably those of the large public universities in Texas, were able to "recruit away" most of the large athletes who would otherwise be available to the TCU program. As it turned out, the nickel proved to be a very good set against the spread offenses proliferating throughout college football in the early 21st century.[2]

A common defensive front adjustment for 3–4 teams to accommodate the nickel backfield involves putting the two outside linebackers into a three-point stance shading the offensive tackles (i.e. a 5 technique). To complete the adjustment, the 3–4 defensive ends are moved to face or shade the offensive guards. The nose tackle is removed for a defensive back. The purpose of this is to leave the four best pass rushers on the field in a long yardage situation. This isn't the only adjustment that can be made. Bill Arnsparger would often remove linebackers from a 3–4 to create nickel and dime sets, replacing them with defensive backs.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Philadelphia Daily News September 25, 1986
  2. ^ Bennett, Brian (December 29, 2010). "Speed, position switches define TCU way". College Football Nation Blog.  
  3. ^ Arnsparger, Bill Coaching Defensive Football, St. Lucie Press, Chapter 6
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.