When in doubt, turn to strategery – in this case, an excellent blog post from a high school defensive coach about the questions you need to ask about how to defend trips formations. (h/t Smart Football)
Here’s a little taste:
Question #2: Is their QB a part of their running game?
This one scenario in-and-of-itself has single handily turned the spread run game on its ear. Before the advent of the QB run out of spread, it was sort of a “ho-hum” offense. You knew what you were about to see, some sort of passing game and as a defense you could pin your ears back and go. Not so much any more. With the QB being a focal part of the offense in both zone schemes and gap schemes you now have to account for all six of the skill positions to be able to carry the football. Also, the real nuisance in all of the new spread run game is the rebirth of the option. Not just the double option either, the good old triple option, with veer, arc and load schemes to bound! As DC’s we are facing a resurgence of the modern day wishbone triple option, just packaged differently. No longer are halfbacks split in the backfield in three-point stances, but they are split out at wideout and can block, catch passes and run with the football in their hands as pitch backs.