Want your defense to get off the field after third down? Sims and Creepers are the answer!
Having faced a team that used Sims and Creepers myself, I know how effective they can be. I know how much time they can take away from an offense who needs to prepare for them. It forced us to spend much of our preparation time for our passing game to be sure we could get the quarterback protected correctly, even though at times there were only four rushers.
Perennial Oklahoma powerhouse Jenks High School is back in the state championship again. Sims and Creepers are part of the defensive package that defensive coordinator Adam Gaylor uses to attack opponents on passing downs.
What is a creeper? Lets’ start with Coach Gaylor’s definition.
- Zone replace
- Use traditional zone blitz patterns
- 2nd or 3rd level rusher (non traditional rusher)
Instead of just angling and bringing a Linebacker from the field, it has evolved into a package for Gaylor. It’s a 4 man pressure that allows them to get an extra hook player, force a hot throw and tackle it for a short gain. Coach Gaylor explains in this video:
Gaylor also uses simulated pressures or “Sims” in this package.
What is a simulated pressure?
- Mainly used on 3rd down calls
- Attack protections
- Give illusion of overload pressure
- Keep RB in the protection – less receivers out, more coverage
- Not looking to be +1, looking to be 1 on 1 getting a rusher to 2nd level of protection
- 2nd or 3rd level rusher (non-traditional rusher)
He explains here:
Not sure about using these? Here is a simple Creeper Gaylor calls “Daylight Rush.” It is a small investment for a big reward because of its simplicity.
- If it’s a Run or Quick, play technique
- If it’s drop back then insert rush
- Run at the a gap
- Read the center and work opposite of where he turns and end up with a two-way go on the guard
- Center blocks you Wrap
- Full slide Jump the fence
Coach explains here:
Overall, the concept is simple, and Gaylor explains the structure they have created.
Jenks’ Creepers are named after NFL QB:
- Flacco – invert from the field with middle of the field closed coverage
- Farve – an even front with pressure from the field an middle closed coverage
- Brees – CB or boundary safety pressuring with middle field closed coverage
- Addy Rat – Double A pressure
As one of the youngest defensive coordinators at the FBS level, Austin Armstrong has learned defense from the likes of Kirby Smart and Ron Roberts. Those are two names that begin to become synonymous with sims and creepers.
For any concept, defining when it will be used helps create understanding for the players and streamlines the game planning process. Here is Coach Armstrong defining when he likes to use a simulated pressure
He likes taking a “same as” approach to teaching their sims to be sure that they have everything covered and aren’t exposing themselves somewhere. Defensive coaches, if you want an effective way to get to the quarterback while maintaining sound coverage, then Sims and Creepers are for you. Offensive coaches if you haven’t faced these yet, you will and you should study this effective defensive tool so that you can develop a plan to beat it.
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After 27 years of coaching at both the collegiate and high school level, Keith Grabowski took on a new role in helping advance and grow the game of football. One of the most prolific writers on scheme, technique, and program building (American Football Monthly, AFCA Insider, X&O Labs and USA Football), Grabowski also hosts a daily podcast, "Coach and Coordinator" on which he interviews the most knowledgeable head coaches, coordinators, and position coaches from professional, college, and high school football.