BYU X's and O's: The 3-3-5 defense

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PROVO - Before Bronco Mendenhall became the head coach for BYU, he worked as a defensive coordinator, perfecting the 3-3-5 defense, a defense that is often used by the San Diego State Aztecs.

Bronco said, when talking to Urban Meyer, then coach of Utah, he said, "the hardest thing he's ever played against, in his mind, was the 3-3-5."

The 3-3-5 defense is a conventional play that causes confusion with the offensive line and quarterback because they don't know what the defense will do until the ball has been snapped.

The play is designed with three lineman matching up against the offensive line, with three linebackers a few yards behind the line. On each side of the linebackers are the safety's. In the back field is a single player, which San Diego St. calls the Aztec. The Aztec is meant to be the best player on the defensive team.

"The idea is to create as many different variety of fronts up here to occupy every blocker, then drop in the Aztec so he can literally make every play or make as many plays as possible," Bronco said.

The ideal formation in the 3-3-5 is when all five defensive backs are aligned in a straight line because the quarterback doesn't know what type of coverage he'll be throwing in to.

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