Thursday, June 2, 2011

2 Read/Blue Coverage Revisited

Ok, I know I said my next post was on the 4-3 Scream and Splatter, but I have had a TON of emails over the past few weeks asking me questions about some route combos giving Blue coverage some troubles.  Since there has been so many questions, I felt I would answer them on here and see if I could help out as many as possible.  So here goes.

Out by 2, Vertical by 1
This is the age old cover 2 beater.  Again, it's all in how you play it.  I'm going to described some things I've done in the past, you can take if from there.
  1. It's all in the technique- The corner is the key here.  He HAS to squeeze #1's route to the safety, and not be concerned with the route by #2.  The corner will only come off of 1, when he sees the ball thrown to 2.  After he squeezes 1's route, he should be in a trail mode, with eyes on the QB, looking for the the throw to 2, or a wheel route by 2 (remember the corner in Blue is swing deep of 2, so he has the wheel route).  The curl/flat player, is also critical, in he needs to work to get to the throwing lane on the out by 2.  This can discourage the throw on the out, and allow the corner to carry the vertical of 1.  The other technique issue is the safeties alignment.  If he's too far inside, he cannot get to #1.  I have played the safeties as close as 2 yards outside #2 (I'm talking as if #2 is attached to the formation) to as wide as 5 yards.  Keep these things in mind before doing any of the following.
  2. "Me" call- The me call tells the corner, that it's basically man and the corner will take the vertical and out by 1, and the safety will take the vertical and out by 2.  Anything else and they just zone their 1/4 of the field.  This still puts you in a bind, but is very sound if your safety is having trouble getting to #1's vertical route.  Also helps with any confusion you might have in the depth of routes (this happens quite often to the youngsters when installing Blue coverage).
  4. Play true Quarters- If you do this, be prepared to adjust your front if you are a traditional Miami 4-3 Over front guy.  The curl/flat/swing deep of 2 player must have leverage on #2, so he must be in an outside alignment on #2.  If you are in the Under, no problem, same as if you run a 7 technique defensive end (DE) then you are ok.  Otherwise you are going to be changing your front to cover 1 possible route combo...not recommended.

Good Technique vs. Fade/Arrow route combo, corner must reroute #1 to SS.

Blue "Me" call

Quarters vs. Fade/Arrow Combo

Curl by 2, Post by 1
This is an old Quarters coverage beater, and can work on Blue coverage if not properly repped.  How I handle this is with repetitions in practice.  The corner has got to be communicating to the safety "IN, IN, IN" on the post route by #1.  The corner will high shoulder the post the entire time, as he does not have leverage to undercut it.  The safety will pedal out, and upon hearing the "IN" call by the corner will continue to pedal out, looking to work under the post, and still attempting to maintain over-the-top leverage on the curl route by #2.  The curl/flat player is your man here, as well as the inside hook player.  Their drops and angles must discourage the throw to #2. 


I saw this early in my career as a defensive back's (DB's) coach, and haven't seen it in a while.  Scissors is where #2 runs a corner route at the same depth that #1 runs a post route.  There are 2 trains of thought here, and neither are incorrect so long as you are consistent in your teaching.  The base rule for my Blue coverage is that the corner and safety NEVER cross, so when the safety communicates the "out" and the corner communicates the "in", we executed what we called a "banjo" technique where the safety broke and took the post, and the corner worked to take the corner route, basically switching men.  This was easy to teach, because we told them, yes both were vertical, but when they crossed 1 became 2 and 2 became 1 and your rules still hold true (safety= 2 is vertical, man 2, corner= 2 is vertical man 1). 
The other thing we did, when guys were struggling with banjo, was to tell them once it's man, it's man...STAY WITH YOUR DUDE!  That was even simpler than the above, and most kids I coached preferred it.  However, you need to be very careful with people trying to run pick or rub routes as this can turn into 6 quickly!

Banjo Technique

Man Technique

I have had a lot of questions on smash, and to be honest I'm not sure why.  I've not had a lot of problems over the years with the smash game, guess I'm just lucky.  Smash to me, is a corner route by 2, and a hitch or quick out by #1.  The safety here is obvious, he's man on 2 since 2 went vertical.  Now he's got some leverage issues, but not like you would if you were playing Robber where he's inside #2.  Remember the safety, in Blue coverage is OUTSIDE the #2 receiver.  The corner is the kicker here, he has to see 2 vertical, and when he hears the "out" call by the safety, he now knows it's smash and must cushion off #1 to a point where he has leverage on both throws.  This does 2 things, puts indecision in the QB's mind as to who the corner is playing, and gives the curl/flat player a chance to get his read and expand into the throwing window.  Again, it comes down to technique and how the routes are distributed and played.


Wheel by 2, Post by 1
This is no different than Scissors in my opinion, however I don't like the "Me" (man) call to this route combination.  If you run the me call, the safety has got to be schooled to keep inside leverage on the wheel, and I have found this to be difficult, especially if a team likes to run a lot of out routes by #2 (especially arrow routes).  Again, this comes down to "banjoing" the routes.  The corner sees the out by 2, reroutes 1 and continues to trail.  The corner is the swing deep of 2 player and must keep his eyes and leverage on this route.  Once 2 turns upfield, the corner MUST leave 1 and work for leverage on 2.  The safety, upon seeing the out by 2, is now flying to work to inside leverage on 1 thinking "fade, fade, fade" (worse case scenario), so when 1 runs his post, he's actually running right into the teeth of the defense, the safety will have excellent leverage on the post route at this point, and it now all turns into man coverage again. 
If you get caught in a "me" call, work your safeties in staying over the top of #2's route.  They cannot try and get in the throwing window here, that's what the curl/flat player's job is.  Remember all "me" is doing, is telling the corner, that the safety has the vertical and out of 2, which includes the wheel, so your safety must maintain his leverage to be able to turn and run with the wheel route once 2 turns upfield. 

Blue vs. Post/Wheel Combo

Blue Me vs. Post/Wheel Combo

I'm sure there are more ways to skin cat here, and probably more route combinations that need to be worked on.  Remember, rep your technique and your reads, DAILY.  This is so important, I cannot stress this enough.  If you are going to play pattern read coverage, you can't just work the reads 1 day a week, these must be done daily.  Hope this helps, now back to the Scream and Splatter!

Guys, some very good reading, check out these links below:

Stever Spurrier proposes a new way to pay athletes- Really?  How about when those athletes leave early for the draft, can they then "owe" the University they were at?  Just sayin'!

Brophy's been active with 2 great posts, the newest on coverages, and a great piece with a ton of Saban information, including Alabama's 2008 playbook!

School's about out for the summer for most, pound those weights men, Fall will be here before you know it!

Hit that weight room boys!