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uofdBy Mike Kuchar, Senior Research Manager, X&O Labs


In an effort to make sure we were as thorough as possible in our research, we wanted to devote this last case to defending the various "problem areas" in Quarters coverage.  We all know that every coverage has its weaknesses, and Cover four is no different.  So we asked some of our sources directly, how they best defend the following "Quarters beaters" that offenses will use against it:

 



 

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikeKKuchar

 

 

Editor’s Note: The following research is part of XandOLabs.com special report on Quarters Coverage.  To view the full-length special report, click here. 

 

Introduction:

In an effort to make sure we were as thorough as possible in our research, we wanted to devote this last case to defending the various "problem areas" in Quarters coverage.  We all know that every coverage has its weaknesses, and Cover four is no different.  So we asked some of our sources directly, how they best defend the following "Quarters beaters" that offenses will use against it:

  • Double Post Routes
  • Three-level Flood Concepts
  • Post/Flag "Scissors" Concept
  • Mesh or Shallow Cross Routes
  • Boot and Naked Pass Game

Problem: The Double Post Route (Diagram 1)

Perhaps the most popular Quarters coverage beater is the double post concept.  As shown above, the purpose of the double post is for the number-two receiver to occupy the deep safety, opening up the middle of the field for the number-one receiver.  It’s a concept most successfully used with a run-action fake, just to get the Quarters safety downhill to open up the middle of the field.  Take a look at a clip from last season’s Outback Bowl to see how the University of Michigan was able to scorch South Carolina on the double post concept out of an unbalanced formation.

Solution:

"One of the most popular quarters coverage beaters is to run number-two on a 10-12 yards stop and sit him down while number-one runs a post.  The corner is chasing number-one.  We tell our Sam linebacker to deliver number-two vertical up to 12-14 yards to help the safety.  If number-two bends inside, we tell our Sam linebacker to bend and stay with him and play the Post (Diagram 2).  This way the safety can help with the double cover on number-one. The Sam is at five yards pre-snap so he’s flat foot reading.  He gets play action his side, he has to work to get underneath number-two and bend with the Dig or Post."- Joey Wiles, head coach, St. Augustine High School (FL)   

Problem: The Three-level Flood/Sail Route (Diagram 3)

The three-level flood route could be an issue against Quarters coverage because it overloads the coverage with three potential treats in the area, a clear out route, a deep out and a flat route.  More specifically, it puts the outside linebacker in bind because in Cover four it is usually his job to play all flat route.  With number-two and number-three working to the flat, a choice has to be made on whom to cover.  Often times, the near Safety must get involved by playing the deep out (or sail) of number-two, which could be a difficult route to play.

 

Solutions:

"The outside linebacker to that side would give up the flat throw, and take away the intermediate route.  We would try to squeeze it as we read outside in (Diagram 4).  But when you get three receivers to one side in quarters, you give up the flat, so we’ll get into our ‘wheelie’ coverage.  We tell our corner to ‘turkey’ hole anything to the flat.  He will beat the hell out of number one and sink with it until he gets the next immediate threat. If two is going to 12 yards, we’ll play underneath the intermediate route and get ready to jump the flat.  That inside linebacker that is carrying three, as soon as he sees three go to the flat he’s going to push for two or one coming in.  He has no curl or dig route so he has to expand and break on number three." - James Clements, head coach, Kutztown University (PA)


"If we’re getting a bunch of that we will play Robber (Diagram 5) so we can buzz the flat with the Sam.  Your safety has got to play the deep out.  The ball has to be thrown over the top of Sam to allow the Safety to break on it." - Joey Wiles, head coach, St. Augustine High School (FL)

 

To see game cut-ups of Quarters coverage against flood concepts, click on the link below:

 

What You're Missing:

Join XandOLabs.com exclusive Insiders program and gain full access to the entire special report that includes: 

  • Why 68.1 percent of defensive coordinators prefer to switch the Corner and Safety off post-snap on Scissor concepts.
  • Why Chris Ash, the defensive coordinator at Ohio State University, chooses to use a drop concept, rather than a match concept, against mesh routes.
  • The “Core Drill” that Joey Wiles at power house prep program St. Augustine HS (FL) uses to teach his players to defend the mesh concept.
  • How coaches like James Clements, the head coach at Kutztown University, teaches his secondary to handle the boot concept in Quarters coverage.
  • Plus video on defending all these problem routes.

Join X&O Labs' Insiders Website. Click Here!

 

 

Conclusion:

Again, these were various methods in which you can train your players to handle what we’ve found to be the most common "Quarters coverage beaters."  But, train is the operative word here.  You may just need one way to play these routes, but most coaches will tell you the best way to be successful is to continually rep these routes starting this spring before seven on seven begins.  As Pat Narduzzi told us, "nothing scares us anymore in Quarters coverage.  We know the weaknesses of the coverage so we rep them until it is no longer a weakness, but a strength for us."

 

 

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