Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cover 3 - back 5 guys

Entering Week #2 of spring ball (practices #4-7), we are making better determinations on what roles players are best geared for. With so many numbers out, we have a legitimate option of going full 2-platoon (with the occasional 2-way specialist).

I have been afforded a great opportunity to take the back 5 defenders in the secondary in our Cover 3 defense and rep every player on playing corner, strong safety, and free safety. This is going to be extremely beneficial for these young (and some veteran) players towards understanding their role within the coverage (and support) and seeing the big picture.

We will probably stick to the following format for the remainder of the week, but it breaks down to two separate groups (of 10+ players) with 20 minutes of instruction (for all spots).

I've been using this time to work at a break-neck pace in going over (as quickly as possible) the basic tenets of initial movement, then progressing into pattern-matching the 2-man game. We've only covered basic concepts because most of the players we have are freshmen.
For simplicity's sake, I set up 3 different stations to quickly drill the initial movement (at the snap) for each position.

These (cone) drills are set up on the field based on the position landmarks to better orientate the players to where the position exists on the field.
  • Free Safeties rep through a (3 step) backpedal at 12 yards in the middle of the field
  • Strong Safeties rep through a steep 45 degree zone drop 5 yards from the hash (to the curl), then reverse turn (back into the hash).
  • Corners rep through a (3 step) shuffle at 7 yards from the LOS, 1 yards inside the numbers. 3 step shuffle then turn and run downfield.
After getting basic movement reps in, we go right to cramming pattern-matching down their throats.

The fastest way to facilitate this was to work a 5-point rotating circuit.

We align a #1 (outside the numbers) and #2 (outside the hash) receiver on cones. Then set up the corner (inside #1), strong safety (on the hash/splitting the difference), and free safety (in the middle of the field) respectively. The players 'enter' the circuit as a free safety and after each route run (1 & 2 running a concept), the players rotate to the successive spot, as follows;
  • 5 - free safety
  • 4 - strong safety
  • 3 - corner
  • 2 - #2 (inside) receiver
  • 1- #1 (outside) receiver
We just coach the kids up on the fly from here in an effort to keep them all moving, relating and conditioning the key factors (alignment with the divider, movement technique, reading 2-to-1, responding to vertical stem, etc).

We will see about getting them to digest more concepts through the week, but if we can handle verticals and smash (out of Cover 3), we should have our work cut out for us this spring.

After two days of this routine (M&T), we broke off into segments of FS & Corners, and I got the Strong/Weak Safeties ( I just found out about this at practice, but whatevers clever ). This was great because it allowed me the opportunity to focus work on developing the safeties to handle job #1 - primary run force and tackling. Later, we joined up for skelly and scripted team sessions and I was pleasantly surprised at how well many of these first-time players (current freshmen) were picking up their roles and doing it methodically, driven by technique. No more cringing on watching #2 receivers running up the seams or perimeter players getting reached (see last season).....I just thought it was amazing, refreshing, reassuring to see how big of an impact the little things can make in a defense's performance. The corners (only one is a returning varsity player) were recognizing smash and verticals (instead of being 'man-conscious) - the point being we were able to throw a lot at the kids in 2 days to reduce our coverage liabilities.
In related news, the Spring Handout (DVD) is ready to be published and I'll probably distribute it next week.
This spring is helpful because we are able to add our 2 freshmen coaches to the varsity staff. By joining the varsity, they get a better idea of how we teach the scheme, drills to use, (to translate next season) and they can be utilized to handle some of the responsibilities (making it possible to split up the back 5 guys). With this DVD, even the other guy (who is primarily a basketball guy) can figure out precisely what it is we want to teach and identify what a DB is doing incorrectly in technique (here's a hint....it isn't just backpedalling to the endzone and 'keeping everything in front of you').

here is just some Cover 3 clips of Penn State

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I notice on one of the sets that the 2 corners use different techniques. I know you posted about the shuffle and I see the near side corner using the shuffle, the far corner using a straight back pedal. I know it's Penn St., but must be a coach that let's the player use either/or?
Another thought: with the shuffle, once you open the hips after the 3 shuffles, isn't it harder to defend any out breaking route or comeback? Just a thought. I think the shuffle is logical, but I am not used to it yet.