X&O Labs Presents...

The Quarters Coverage Study

An In-Depth Research Study on the Most Universal Coverage in Football

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


Pat Narduzzi, the defensive coordinator at Michigan State, contributed heavily to X&O Labs’ Quarters Coverage Study.

Pat Narduzzi, the defensive coordinator at Michigan State University, calls Cover Four “the mother of all coverages,” and he has the numbers to back it up.

Narduzzi’s Spartans finished fourth in the FBS in total defense and used Quarters Coverage at least 65 percent of all defensive snaps – and we have video to prove it.

Narduzzi contributed all of his 294 Cover four snaps this year to this special report in order to prove his bold assertation, and he wasn’t the only one that did.

We reached out to over 500 coaches that exclusively use Cover Four and interviewed the likes of Chris Ash, the defensive coordinator at The University of Arkansas; Shap Boyd, the defensive coordinator at Muskingum University (and author of several Quarters coverage resources); Nick Rapone, the secondary coach with the Arizona Cardinals; and many others who contributed both their knowledge and game film on the topic.

Just some of the components of this monumental report, which includes over 26,000 words, 150 diagrams and 29 video clips are below:

Case 1: Quarters Coverage Concepts and Technique of the Secondary Players:
You’ll learn about technique and fundamentals of Corners and Safeties in Quarters Coverage, which includes:

  • Why 45.4 percent of coaches feel comfortable using Quarters coverage in any down situations – 67.4 percent of those actually prefer it on first and ten.
  • Why only 17 percent of coaches feel their safeties need to be the best tacklers on the field.
  • How we proved 63.4 percent of coaches that train their Safeties to read the End Man on the Line of Scrimmage can get them more efficient by reading something else.
  • “I love what you’re doing at X&O Labs. I’m all for it. I love the research you’re getting out, it’s all very good stuff.”
    Chris Ash,
    Defensive Coordinator, University of Arkansa21 personnel pro formation

    Why Pat Narduzzi trains his safeties to read the number two receiver – regardless of where he is.

  • Various types of post-snap footwork used to get Safeties involved in the run game such as Narduzzi’s stick step, Boyd’s shuffle step and Rapone’s buzz footwork.
  • How to train Corners to react quickly on the three-step game by teaching the Vise technique used by coaches like Adam Waugh, the secondary coach at the University of Louisiana Monroe
  • How Coach Narduzzi teaches his corners to use the Shadow Technique – a press coverage variant – to prevent the quick game.
  • The most efficient way to train Safeties to crack/replace against perimeter run and pass schemes.
  • Five drills provided by X&O Labs’ readers that teach Safeties and Corners the “eye discipline” needed to defend both run and pass in Quarters coverage.
  • Plus video of all of the above techniques and much, much more…

Case 2: Alignments and Adjustments vs. Closed Sets vs. Run and Pass:
You’ll learn about how Quarters coverage can be used to defend Pro style structures, including the following:

  • How coaches classify formations by using “receiver variants” as indicators.
  • Why 49.5 percent of coaches still feel they can play a two-high concept to 21 personnel pro formations – and the tweaks they use to do so.
  • The “Treo” coverage adjustment used by Mike Cassity, the secondary coach the University of Kentucky, which successfully defends pro/slot formations.
  • CBS Sports’ Senior College Football Columnist Bruce Feldman says, “One of the best resources for diehards looking to learn more about the details of certain schemes can be found via XandOLabs.com.”

    Why Pat Narduzzi may have 20 checks in his Quarters system, but only goes into each game week with five.

  • The three coaching points you need to know when training your Corners to crack/replace.
  • Which trigger point is the most efficient to use when training your Safeties to defend four vertical threats.
  • What you can do with your Corners to stop the perimeter run game-without playing Cover Two.
  • The C-7 coverage adjustment used to defend pro/slot formations.
  • How Quarters coverage can defend the extra gap created by 12 personnel Ace formations as well as leverage four vertical threats.
  • Most common adjustments to Tight/Wing formations most commonly used by Wing T teams.
  • Most common adjustments to Double slot formations most commonly used by veer and midline option teams.
  • Plus video of the above coverage adjustments and much, much more…

Case 3: Alignments and Adjustments vs. Open Sets:

You’ll learn about how Quarters coverage can be used to defend Spread style structures, including the following formations:

  • The most productive depth and width of your Safeties need to play in order to defend 2×2 open formations.
  • How coverage adjustments like “Palms” coverage adjustment can alleviate stress in the vertical passing game.
  • The Lock coverage concept used by Arizona Cardinals secondary coach Nick Rapone that easily adjusts to 2×2 and 3×1 formations.
  • What Darian Dulin, the defensive coordinator at Abilene Christian is doing to take the pressure off his Safeties in defending four vertical concepts.
  • 3×1 open formation adjustments including Shap Boyd’s “Gilligan” concept, Chris Ash’s “Danger” concept and Nick Rapone’s “Clap” concept.
  • 3×1 Bunch formation coverage adjustments, including the “Box” concept provided by Mark D’Onofrio, the defensive coordinator at the University of Miami.
  • 3×2 Empty formation adjustments including the “Trio” concept used by Joey Wiles, the head coach at St. Augustine High School (FL).
  • What you need to know to trigger your outside linebackers to be more active in the run game against 2×2 open formations.
  • Plus how Quarters coverage coaches train the “eyes and feet” of apexed outside linebackers to be both fitters in the run game and zone defenders in the pass game.
  • How Joey Wiles at St. Augustine High School (FL) ends up with a seven man box post-snap in his 4-3 scheme, despite the offensive formation.
  • Plus video of the above coverage adjustments and much, much more…

Case 4: Defending the Problem Areas in Quarters Coverage:

You’ll learn about how various coaches defend what we found were the 5 most problematic routes against Quarters Coverage including:

  • Why the Sam linebacker has the most important responsibility against double post routes – and what coaches now are telling him to do when he sees it.
  • How to leverage your outside linebacker to play both the out and flat component of the Flood concept.
  • Why Chris Ash at the University of Arkansas uses split indicators to determine how to play the Scissors (or Post/Wheel) concept – and why Nick Rapone thinks there is a better idea.
  • How the Core Drill used by Joey Wiles can effectively negate any interior rubs by receivers in shallow cross concepts.
  • Why Shap Boyd is fixated on having his players read the elbow of the QB in determining how to play Mesh or crossing routes.
  • How you can eliminate your weak side linebacker from worrying about playing Naked Boot responsibilities.
  • Plus video of these concepts and much, much more…

Special Bonus: You’ll also gain access into the entire installation power points of Quarters coverage provided by the following coaches:

  • Pat Narduzzi, defensive coordinator, Michigan State University
  • Chris Ash, defensive coordinator, The University of Arkansas
  • Joey Wiles, head coach, St. Augustine High School (FL)
  • Jim Semones, defensive coordinator, Lakota East High School (OH)
  • Matt Puffenberger, defensive coordinator, Berkely Springs High School (WV)
  • Mike Kuchar, Senior Research Manager, X&O Labs

So, I want to take this time to invite you to get instant access to this entire special report because its full of all the information, drills, game film and strategies you need to significantly improve your defense.

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