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AFM Magazine

The Cover 2 Slide

by: Chris Hall
Outside Linebackers Coach Cascia Hall High School (OK)
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For many coaches, finding a coverage to match the fronts you are playing as well as providing the vision necessary for your secondary to tackle and cover well can be a headache. To address this challenge, we have moved to more and more double calls in our secondary. One of our staple calls is the Cover 2 Slide.

Our defensive philosophy is to be run-oriented with the ability to play aggressively on the quick-game combination routes. We use this call all over the field and in a variety of down and distance situations. We will also add field tags to give us roll downs and vision to the wide side of the field.

We are a multiple-front defense based out of 4-3 personnel. We play a lot of Tampa 2 and Zone Y (3 Sky) out of our base, yet we still play man and Zone X out of our under package (shade, 5, 9). We are a heavy Zone Dog team playing a lot of 3 under 3 deep fire zones. To help disguise coverage, we roll the safeties all over the field and try to hit our movements when the offense is confused.

The double call 2 Slide gives us the necessary change-up to confuse the offense as well as provides a simple rotation to fit our defensive philosophy. When the offense is in a balanced set (2 x 2), we play cover 2. When the offense is in an unbalanced set (3 x 1), we check into our slide zone concept. We can kick the check from either side of the defense and strength calls will not affect our roll-ups (See Diagram 1).

This is a slide zone, which means it is an over-loaded 3-deep zone on the strong side with 3 droppers (not 2) underneath to the passing strength. Because we are now short one dropper to the weak side, we will play man-to-man on the backside. This defense lets you take away the strong side passing combinations if you can hold up on the backside (See Diagram 2).

The LARRY call kicks us into slide vs. any 3 x 1 formation. This call gives us good pass coverage vs. any trips formation because of the roll-ups and vision in the defense. We use a directional call to kick the coverage - Right = Ralph and Left = Larry (See Diagram 3).

You will find this defensive call to be effective against teams that use unbalanced formations to out-flank the defense with speed sweeps and the bubble game. This defensive call is also a good “Wildcat” adjustment because of the extra run defender and the ability to play man on the displaced quarterback on the backside.

Ultimately, this is our most used and most effective double call. Just like any football scheme, timing and confidence go a long way in this game. We work on this coverage daily and we feel we are not coaching any extra techniques our players shouldn’t already know from our base defense. I wound encourage you to play with vacating zones by blitzing the OLB or rolling down the safety off the edge. One of our favorites is to blitz the backside linebacker off the edge with a blitz peel assignment. Many times we are in a “hug” technique on the back so if he blocks we add a blitzer to the rush (See Diagrams 4-6).

Another double call we have is Cover 2 CLOUD. This is, again, a check to 3x1 formations. In the Cloud coverage, we play a roll Cover 3 based off our sky/cloud Cover 3 packages. In this coverage, the multiple receiver corner plays a “Squat” technique and funnels all routes to the inside. The call safety rolls over the outside one-third, the other safety has the middle third, and the backside corner plays cover 3 POGO - Post, Go, and Deep out. The backside linebacker will “Swipe” under #1 to his side and react to the TB flare late (See Diagram 7).

Coach the game hard, learn new schemes yearly, and self-scout your defense. Good luck this year and win the last one!


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