To run the 3-3-5 effectively, players need to be able to take on multiple assignments so the defense can throw different looks at offenses, said Chris Brown, author of “The Essential Smart Football.” The key to flustering quarterbacks is flexibility.

This starts in the trenches. The 3-3-5 is typically a “one gap” defense, Brown said, meaning each defensive lineman is only responsible for one running lane. However, unlike a 4-3 or a 3-4, linemen play a “heads up” technique, so they don’t telegraph which gap they’re attacking. A nose tackle lines up over center, with defensive ends flanked to the edges and linebackers directly behind them. The variation is also called the “3-3 stack.”

Josh Black, who played nose tackle last year, said he’s a perfect fit as a defensive end in the 3-3-5. As a freshman in 2016, Black started nine games on the edge but recorded just 1.5 sacks. Though he said he was “scrawny” then, he put on weight to play in the interior the next two seasons.

Senior Kingsley Jonathan projects to play opposite Black, with redshirt senior McKinley Williams (6-foot-4, 291 pounds) likely lining up across from the center as a nose tackle.

“Your rules kind of get screwed up with the stack,” Brown said. “It’s not as straightforward as other defenses. Especially for college guys. I think that’s why you see the stack more in high school because it creates that kind of confusion.”

Chris Brown, author of “The Essential Smart Football”

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