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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cover 1 against the spread offense

I was sitting in a Glazier Clinic session this past year and we were watching the Chiefs play the Eagles. This was the week after the Eagles put up 33 and 30 points in prior weeks. The Chiefs were playing a TON of cover 1 against the Eagles to take away their zone read / bubble game and it worked pretty well because they held the Eagles to 16 points. There were no longer any run / pass conflicts because they were in man coverage, and this allowed them to do a good job against the Eagle's powerful running game, which leads me to my next point.

In order to slow down the spread offense you must take away space and limit run / pass conflicts. Cover 1 allows a defense to take away the receivers' space and define every defender as a run or pass player. The popularity of Cover 1 against the spread caused WVU to experience some difficulties this year.

Now, there are also teams that like to spread the field to run the football, like Auburn. Below is an example of one of their base plays, the zone read:

I remember listening to Nick Saban speak during the post - game press conference and he said the corner was supposed to stay with the wide receiver on the game tying play. I know college's get a lot of time to work on their scheme during the week and watch film, but my high school mind thought that the simplest solution would be to play the Tigers in Cover 1. Specifically, you could play Cover 1 Q where the FS spies the quarterback. That would eliminate confusion in the secondary and allow the defensive backs and linebackers to lock in on their key (their man in coverage).

I know that you have to carry more than one coverage / scheme into a game, but Cover 1 does give you a solid base from which to start. It is an effective coverage against the air raid teams and the spread the field to run the football teams.

Hope this article gives you some food for thought as you prepare for this next football season and may the LORD bless you and your team this summer!


  1. I've thought the same thing, but i keep running into the same question... Who is the force player and how do you keep him out of conflict?

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  3. It depends on the type of play. Versus outside zone the end must turn the ball inside. Versus a kick out he will spill the ball to the ILB. Versus zone read, the end is a QB player.