Saturday, October 16, 2010

4-2-5 Split Field Coverage Pt.1

Oneback has already explained how to use the "ROBBER" scheme to perfection. What I want to show you is how to adapt this to 2x2 sets and 3x1 sets and introduce you to SPLIT FIELD COVERAGE, a schemes that TCU and other 4-2-5 teams use.

TCU teaches their secondary to divide their formations down the middle of the field and after you do that to each side there’s only 3 Formations that the offense can give you.

  • Pro - TE and WR to one side
  • Twins - Two  WRs to one side
  • Trips variations 

(with the addition of Quads that adds a new wrinkle which I’ll get to in a separate post)

4-2-5 Cover 3 will be your base play just as Oneback stated in his Robber description. The Read side, will of course, be the Trips side. Vs any 3x1 formation you want to shift your LB over towards the trips side to wall off the first thing that comes inside. You’ll also want to Shift the coverage to the Trips side. This gives you close variation to Quarter/Quarter/Half Coverage.  You’ll also want to take that read side SS and put him a Buzz zone to handle everything outside the hash and it keeps him in place to handle run support.

In this coverage I personally user the FS and run the same Robber Rules with him and try to handle anything that threatens the inside. The SS in the Buzz zone handles anything that goes to the outside of the hash leaving the C to continue his dropback to handle anything deep. With the FS you, seriously, have to follow the ROBBER rules or the Middle is open. Remember that if the inner most reciever runs a shallow the responsibilty for him is passed off to the LBers in hook zones, and you have to gain depth with the FS and look for the backside post.


Base Play: 4-2-5 Cover 3

  • Shift LBs and Coverage toward the Trips side.
  • Hot Route the Trips side safety to Buzz Zone.
  • Align FS over the inside most threat

Proper Alignment is very important vs trips sets.

(H/t to Brophyfootball.blogspot and RunCODHit.blogspot for inspiring this and the next series of updates)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How To Play "ROBBER" Coverage

Thanks to Oneback over at Utopia, I didn't know anything about Robber Coverage until he explained to me how to run it, I've had a massive hard-on for the coverage every since. Be it Cover 1 Robber, 2 Deep Robber or the Hook Zone in a Cover 3 play. This has revolutionized the way I play defense.

Pre-snap the free safety will align to the passing strength of the formation, if #2 is a tight end he will align on the outside shoulder and eight yards deep, if #2 is a wide receiver he will align on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle and eight yards deep.

After the snap he will read the quarterback for run/pass key, once he reads pass he will focus on #2s route.

If #2 runs a vertical route you will have him in man-to-man coverage to the inside, depending on the route of #1 the free safety may have outside help by the cornerback.

If #2 runs an arrow or quick out route the free safety must widen with #2 while keying #1.

The free safety must get underneath #1 and be alert for a pass to rob the pass.

If at the snap of the ball #2 runs a shallow cross the free safety must open to #1 gaining depth and width.

Be alert to a backside post route by the backside #1 or a seam by the backside #2.

If there is no backside deep threat, rob strong side #1.

If #2 runs a deep out key #1.

Alert post or deep outside route by #1, play underneath #1 with corner over the top to rob the pass.

If #2 runs a dig route in real life the free safety would jump the route to the inside and attempt to intercept the pass. However, due to the fact linebackers in coverage have the ability to sense routes being run behind them I typically fall back into deep middle coverage.

Look to the strong side #1 to ensure he is not running a post route then look to the backside for a deep threat.

With a #2 dig route the free safety will typically play inside of the deep threat to either side with the corner to the outside.

The ability to play effective robber coverage will force the offense to throw deep to the outside or underneath as the defense will take away the easier throws over the middle that most offenses look to complete.