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Taking Away the QB's Pre-Snap Read.

How to win the defensive edge by playing different coverages from the same look

QUARTERBACKS have different throwing progressions based on the clef defensive coverage. In making their pre-snap read, they are taught to look for a free safety aligned anywhere from 10 to 14 yards deep over the ball.

If they find a safety in this position, they will usually read Cover 3 (3-deep). If there is no safety in this position, they will read the coverage as Cover 2 (2-deep) or man.

Question: By playing the various coverages from the same look, won't you be able to eliminate the QB's pre-snap read and secure a definite defensive advantage?

Check the accompanying diagrams. They show you how Springfield H.S. plays three different coverages out of the exact same look: Cover 2 (2- deep with a 5-under route reading technique), Cover 3 (3-deep and 4-under zone), and Man-Free (man coverage with the free safety playing the ball over the top). (Shown in Diags. 1-3.)

Versus a Trips look (Diags. 4 and 5), we align two different ways. If we want to keep the two LBs inside (Solid vs. One-Back Set, Scholastic Coach, May/June 1995), we will bring the outside LB ("nickel") over from the other side and align as shown in Diag. 4. If we are comfortable playing with only one LB, we will align as in Diag. 5.

From this singular look (Diags. 1-5), we will play Cover 3 with the corners and safety playing the three deep zones, the nickels playing the flats, and the inside backers (Mike and Plug) playing hooks and curls.

In playing Cover 2, the corners will be the half players, the nickels will play the flats, and the free safety and plug backer will route-read #2 on their assigned side.

In playing man-free, the corners will play #1 on their side and the nickels and/or plug backer will play #2 and #3 on their respective sides. The free safety will be free over the top.

The corners are the players who really help sell this defensive scheme. They align 1-3 yards inside the #1 receiver when wide and anywhere from 2-14 yards deep. When #1 is a tight end, the corners usually align 2-3 yards outside of him and 6-12 yards deep.

By being active and going from either tight alignment to backing out or vice versa before or during the snap count, the corners can either confuse the QB or make his pre-snap reads very difficult. If our corners are caught out of position at the snap, they know that they will have to hustle to get to their assigned areas.

We have had interceptions from this look against a QB who, believing we were playing 3-deep, threw an out pattern, only to find us in man-free with our corners able to roll up and break out on the pattern.

We've also had interceptions when the opposing QB, thinking we were in man-free, tried to throw the fade pattern, only to find us in Cover 3, again enabling us to break on the ball and intercept it.

In conclusion, do not let the QB know what coverage you're in just by the way you align. Keep him guessing and the advantage will go to the defense!
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:quarterback's
Author:Jasinski, Jerry
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2001
Previous Article:"Score Drill" for the Red Zone.
Next Article:Defensive Clock Management Situations.

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