Thursday, March 25, 2010

Playing "Cover 2"

A cover 2 scheme can be very effective for a defense because it allows more defenders to stay in the shorter passing lanes or pressure the passer. However, most high school defensive coordinators get into that cover 2 the same way every time: Simply dropping the free and strong safeties into a coverage that divides the deep "halves." This scheme is a textbook rotation into a cover 2 and is one of the more simple reads for a spread passing QB. Most offensive coaches will tell you that you will have a very long night on defense if you continue to show the same look and rotate into a coverage the same way. This is especially true for the pass only offenses that you see during a 7-on-7 tournament or camp.

So, as a defensive coach, how can you vary the coverage rotation so that you keep as many defenders as possible in the short zones while still playing a fundamentally sound cover 2 scheme? This article is intended to give a defensive coordinator some different ideas to confuse and frustrate a passing attack that usually feasts on cover 2.

In the video below, we first show a cover 2 base defense versus a "Doubles" formation. We then show different ways to rotate into that coverage beginning with a cover 3 base. Here is the order of the slides in the video.

1. Base Cover 2

2. Dropping the SS back to halves and rotating FS and LB's accordingly. As stated above, this is the most popular method to roll into cover 2.

3 & 4. Shift the LB's out to cover for a CB that will drop into deep halves. #3 is the same as #2, just going the opposite way.

5. Pull the FS down and drop the SS and OLB into deep halves.

6. This is not roll as much as a variation of cover 2. Cover 2 Buc (or Tampa 2) which is actually a hybrid cover 3 of sorts as the MLB drops into the deep middle while the two safeties can cover further outside the hash. This keeps teams from exploiting the deep middle -- the weakness of the cover 2 defense.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but hopefully this will give you some ideas to work from. The reason this can be effective is that, when you are facing good teams where the quarterback is making pre-snap reads and the receivers are adjusting routes based on coverage, it can confuse either or both. This confusion will lead to positive plays for your 7-on-7 defense.

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