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 fond of this defensive formation and uses the 3-3 Swarm Defensive scheme to provide great starting steps for coaches. This three-part series is available now on Glazier Clinics' YouTube Channel

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


The Call System

In this quick guide, Coach Chad Hetlet from Glenbard West HS (IL) gives a review of how blitzes are called in the 3-3 Swarm Defense system, including the front, the blitz, the line call, and the coverage.


Best Ways to Coach Pass Rushing

Using the 3-3 defensive formation known as the Darkside 3-3 Swarm, Coach Hetlet reviews multiple concepts and shares training drills that you can incorporate into your practices to prepare your players for game day: 

  • 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

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.


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