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Smash: The Pass Play

15 Nov

We see a lot of Cover 2 pass defense at our level.  One pass play or “concept” that exploits the flat defender is the “Smash” scheme diagrammed below.  It is a classic Cover 2 beater and is in the playbook of every high school or college OC with a penchant for throwing the ball.

Smash Concept to the slot or TE side of a formation.

Smash is a 2-receiver, hi-lo combination scheme that has the outside receiver running a 6-yd hitch and the inside receiver executing a 12-yd corner route on top.  The idea is to put the CB or the flat defender to the 2-receiver side in conflict.  If he sinks to cover the Corner Route, the Hitch is open.  But if he sits to cover the Hitch, then the Corner is open.  He’s the defender the QB reads to determine where to go with the ball.

The play does more than attack a Cover 2 zone however. Versus man coverage, the corner route is a very good option — so long as the QB lays the ball to the receiver’s outside shoulder. The reason for this is because many defenses that play man coverage use inside leverage to take away the quick slant passes that can gash them for big yards and are easy throws.

The fact that it is the inside receiver rather than the outside one who runs the Corner route can create some favorable mismatches for the offense.  Most defenses put their CBs in man coverage on the outside receiver, while the inside receiver is then covered by either a Safety or a Linebacker.   At our level, it is usually a bumped LB.

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Understanding Coverages: Cover 2 Man

12 Sep

Cover 2 Man / Man Under Two-Deep


This coverage is man-to-man with help over the top in the two (2) deep zones. This coverage allows the defense to bracket or double two (2) receivers.

The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the alignment of the Corners (C) on the wide receivers. If the Safeties give a 2D look (Safeties near the hash marks, aligned deeper than the C’s) and both C’s are up tighter or looking primarily at the receiver instead of the QB, then Man Under Coverage (“MUC”) is confirmed.

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Understanding Coverages: Cover 2 Zone

11 Sep

Cover 2 Zone

The pre-snap read (PSR) is based on the depth of the Corners (C) and Safeties (S).  The C’s will usually be outside of the wide receivers and the S’s will be near
the hash marks, aligned deeper than the C’s.

If the ball is on the hash, look to the strong side defensive back for their alignment because the Safety will naturally be on the hash. If the Defensive End (E) drops to the curl, then all six (6) underneath zones are covered.

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Defensive Back Techniques – Backpedal, Slide Step, Jam

1 Aug

by FIGUREFOUR
Shakin’ the Southland

There are a few basic techniques that a DB will use on any given play to get into pass coverage.

At the snap of the ball, a DB will either jam a receiver and or he will drop immediately into coverage.  There are typically two techniques to dropping into coverage: the backpedal and the slide step.  These concepts apply to all pass defenders even though we will mainly focus on the defensive backs (DBs).

Backpedal

Backpedaling is usually the first move that a defensive back (especially a Corner) will make when the ball is snapped.  A straight backpedal is extremely common for man coverage techniques.

In a backpedal, the DB’s body is squared up with the receiver.   He will try to maintain as low a center of gravity as possible and still keep his weight over the balls of his feet.   This allows the defender to move quickly backwards yet still be in a position to change direction either forward or laterally.

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How Safeties Interact With Cornerbacks

2 Mar

By Steve Nichols
MHR University

First, let’s define the safety position.  While safeties vary in types, assignments, and uses, their primary job is to stop the big play.  They are primarily “goalies” in the hockey sense.

The free safety (FS) is often lined up on the weakside, and almost always plays a deep zone and plays his own assignment based on what he is seeing develop (we call this a “true free safety”).

The strong safety (SS) lines up on the strong side, and is often the “lesser” safety, though no less important.  A majority of his time is spent in deep zone, but he can also be used to cover a receiving TE.

Teams prefer to use a SAM linebacker to cover TEs to keep their safeties covering the deep field, but if a team has a slower, run blocking SAM, or if the TE is particulalry fast, the SS gets the assignment.  Because SSs are usually a little bigger (but not as fast), they have developed reputations as being the heavy hitters.

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