Building Blocks for a 3-3 Swarm Defense

Building a Strong 3-3-5 Defense


The 3-3-5 defense is a form of the nickel defense that is consistently used as a countermeasure against the many air-raid offenses used in today's game. The defensive linemen and linebackers are aligned in a stacked position and they operate in gap assignments and use many stunts and blitzes to create pressure on the opposing Quarterbacks. Coach Chad Hetlet is very fond of this defensive formation and used the 3-3 Swarm Defensive scheme to provides some great starting steps in his three-part series available now on our Youtube Page

Coach Hetlet describes his top tips on drawing up an effective pass rush in the 3-3 Swarm Defense. 

The Call System - Link to Video

In this quick guide, Coach Chad Hetlet from Glenbard West HS (IL) gives a review of how the blitzes are called in the 3-3 Swarm Defense system. Watching this video, you’ll get a better understanding of how Coach Hetlet formats his calls, which include: the front, a blitz, the line call, and the coverage.

Best Ways to Coach Pass Rushing - Link to Video

Using the 3-3 defensive formation, known as the Darkside 3-3 Swarm, Coach Hetlet reviews multiple concepts and gives training drills that you can incorporate into your practices to prepare your players for game day. Some of the teaching points from Coach Hetlet are: • Speed – Players must get off the football and have a great start. Be Explosive! • In a stacked defense, it is important to stem and set up stunts and blitzes. • Read Keys/Anticipate What Opponent is doing (Heavy Hand – Run/Light Hand Pass), small indicators like that. • Retracing steps on misdirection or screenplays • Hands Up Always in the Passing Lanes, using hands as weapons, being violent at point of attack.

Teaching Pattern/Read Recognition - Link to Video

Coach Hetlet provides some great tips on how to teach pattern read coverage for your defense. These effective tips using the 3-3 Swarm Scheme show a complete Pass Fits Pattern Read Coverage breakdown. Coach Hetlet highlights how to use the offensive players’ alignment and formation to prepare your players for success before the play even begins. There are specific drills that are reviewed in the video that will help your players understand the defensive concepts.


The three videos covered in this series are a great start to implementing a stacked defensive scheme. Review these videos and reap the benefits immediately!

More Free Resources!


One low price gets your school and feeder programs:

2022 Clinic Map 22 Cities 23 Clinics

Unlimited Nationwide Clinics

Each clinic has 100+ sessions of practical Xs & Os for your entire staff. Network and brainstorm with some of the best speakers and coaches in the game.

Find a clinic near you
Glazier Drive On Screens-transparent bkgd2

Digital Coach Education Glazier Drive

Join 15,000 coaches on Glazier Drive and learn anytime. Glazier Drive has 26 complete systems, live Q&As, networking events, 1,100 videos and forums.

Learn more about Drive
Get Your Season Pass

Glazier Partners

These trusted suppliers make your Season Pass affordable. Give them a shot at your business.