Whenever I hear audibles discussed, it's usually in the context of offense. But obviously defensive players must modify there formations with play calling schemes too.

Can someone given an example of what the defensive version of playcalling sounds like?

2 Answers 2


It is hard to find example play calls compared to offensive play calls.

Here is a picture of a play call sheet

Basically the coach would relay this to his middle line backer who would either call the play in the defensive huddle or use signals to communicate in a hurry up environment.

The different packages are called from the side line and personnel is swapped, so there isn't really a formation call like on offense. Also on defense a play call is a scheme where many things can happen depending on what the offense does. It is reactionary compared to offensive play calling and scheming.

  • Well, that's not what I had in mind, but that's a really nice pic. I didn't know they were called that. Did you just Google to find the picture? When I googled playcalling sheet I found it. Really cool. Thanks Feb 8, 2015 at 0:07
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    I actually wrote this question at the suggestion of an answerer from a previous question who was a coach said he would answer if I did. So I presume there is a playcalling method similar to the offense audibles or he wouldn't have suggested I ask this. But I don't know. Feb 8, 2015 at 0:10
  • @StanShunpike It can vary quite a bit from team to team. On defense they may have a code word that means cover 2 or cover 3 or cover 4 etc. Usually if they audible they will audible into a more basic defense. Like I said it is reactionary so if the offense runs in motion that may mean a linebacker blitzes when he originally wasn't supposed to. This would be determined watching film and at practice. It wouldn't be considered an audible but reacting to the offense.
    – diggers3
    Feb 9, 2015 at 16:42

Sometimes the defensive check is predetermined based on what the offense is doing, so they may call out a formation change (1-back, trips, fullhouse) and everyone on the defense knows what to do.

If they decide to call out an adjustment, they're going to probably be a little more cryptic. I coached a team that played quarter-quarter-half coverage, but we never said all that. It was just called bandit. Formation to the boundry may require us to have more of traditional Cover 3, so we called Squeeze.

Names can become common, so if the defensive lineman start yelling "twist" the offense will probably figure it out.

In the huddle, it is typical to have this format:

  • Front
  • Stunt (optional)
  • Coverage
  • Key/Tag (optional word that may be a slight variation).

So - Tight (shift line to TE), X (twist stunt), Cover 2 , Sink (tag for LB to drop deeper than normal).

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