Every coach knows of the constant chess game between the offensive and defensive coordinators during a football contest. Any edge that a coach thinks he can get in winning that match he will surely take. I find the use of the “freeze” concept during a game to be highly effective and rewarding. The purpose of this post to to explain exactly what freezing the defense means and to layout a plan on when and how to use it effectively.
Freeze (definition): a freeze takes place when the offense either tries to draw the defense offsides by using a hard count or when the offense uses a player in motion in order to try and lure defensive players into giving away what their defensive call on the play is (see Diagram 1). In either of these cases, all offensive players are NOT to move at all during the freeze (other than the motion player who is allowed to go into motion, and then reset). After the freeze is completed, a new play is usually signalled into the QB who would then echo it to the rest of the offense.
Now that we have defined what freeze is, lets now look at when and how to use it effectively.
Some coaches use freeze on almost every play. I find this to be counterproductive since the defense just might wait until you do your freeze before every play, and then allow their defense to play aggressively just prior to the snap. As a coach, you have just lost any benefit that you might have received if you only used freeze in certain situations. I use freeze a lot during the course of any game but the defense can never tell just when I am going to call it. A great time to freeze an opponent is on 3rd down and short….heck, why not try putting your A-back in motion and then have the QB do a hard count…you may just draw them offsides for the first down!
If you are having a tough time dealing with all the defense’s stunts and blitzes and their rolling of coverage, this is also a great time to call a freeze. In this case (Diagram 1), have one of your A-backs go into orbit motion and have him stop dead in his tracks at the thigh of the B-back. Then, have the offense reset. Let us hope that the defense showed their hand by maybe having one of the linebackers show blitz, or maybe the safety started to roll the coverage during the freeze. There is no guarantee that freeze will work every time but even if it only works 10% of the time, it will be worth it!