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Old 01-11-2008, 10:04 AM   #151
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Re: Questions About Football Strategies, Formations, Schemes, ETC

Originally posted by PlayMaker on 01-11-2008 at 07:29 AM
One of the questions I had was how does a QB recognize different Defensive set ups (zone? man? who is blitzing?) pre-snap?
I'll give this one a shot. As always, I preface my answer here by acknowleding that I am no expert but will do my best.

There are only a few basic coverages and most everything the defensive backfield does is built off of those basic coverages.

Teams use different terms for these coverages but I'll use the terms I learned.

Cover 0 Pure Man coverage w/no deep Safeties=MOFO
Cover 1 (Man Free) Man under w/one deep Free Safety=MOFC
Cover 2 Two Deep Safeties=MOFO
Cover 3 Three Deep Safeties=MOFC
Cover 4 Four Deep Safeties=MOFO

There are many variations of these basic families of coverages. Each coverage has it's strengths and weaknesses.

Coverages can be combined to specialize.

Man 2 Lock Two deep zone Safeties with man coverage by the CBs on the WR to each side and Zone coverage underneath.

Man 2 Stick which may have 2 deep Safeties and a man assigned to each receiver who releases.

Quarters: Some teams call Cover 4 Quarters while other use the term to identify a hydrid coverage where Cover 2 is played on one side and Cover 4 the other.

Cover 3 Cloud. The CB/SS exchange responsibilities but the coverage is still Cover 3.

Tampa 2. This is a hydrid coverage that combines Cover 2 and Cover 3 with the middle LB dropping to defend the deep middle.

These are too many coverage adjustments to list but they are based off of the basic families listed.

Most QBs are taught (they should be anyway) how these coverages work and are taught to recognize keys.

We talked last week about MOFO & MOFC. MOF=Middle of the field. O=Open C=Closed.

This is the first key to identifying the coverage.

Some coverages present a closed MOF while others present an open MOF.

The QB starts his read pre-snap by looking at the Safeties. On lower levels, the pre-snap read frequently holds up while higher levels disguise so much the QB has to make MOF reads as he drops to pass. For discussion purposes, let's pretend there is no disguising going on yet.

The QB reads the Safeties. Based on the coverage list above, MOFO or MOFC tells him the coverage can only be one of the families that fall into those categoties. Then he moves to the CBs looking for alignment clues. If there are no disguises, the CBs in Cover 2 are flat players initially and are hard corners (aligned 5 yards or closer to the LOS). He looks to see what technique the CBs are playing: Head-up? Inside leverage? Outside Leverage? Where are the CB's eyes. Locked onto the receiver means Man coverage, looking into the backfield means Zone.

So the QB sees MOFO with hard corners and inside alignment with their eyes locked on the WR. He's thinking that this is Man 2 covererage. )Maybe he sends a slot guy in motion and to see if the defender mirors the motion man's movement to try to confirm that the defenders are in Man under). On the snap he sees the nickle/dime/LBs dropping away from the LOS on pass (rather than closing on the receivers as they release they way they do in Man coverage). He knows they are playing Zone. So now he knows the coverage is Man 2 lock w/the under coverage playing zone listed in the examples above.

QBs will study the clues to identify each coverage (MOF, CB alignment & technique, technique of the underneath players). The QB doesn't go into the game blind either. He will receive scounting reports that tell him what the opponent likes to run in different situations & against certain formations while also telling him the techniques the defense has their players using in their coverages so he knows what he is looking for.

The QB will see these clues in his film study as he watches his opponent's game tapes. He will have an understanding of what the opponent wants to do and how they are going to try to do it. He will also talk with the coaches upsatirs during the game and look at the photos taken both pre and post snap as the game goes along.

When I get a chance I'll post a basic coverage recognition guide to look at.

I'll check in later. If there any questions (or disputes/clarifications etc) fire away. If the Blitz question is still open I'll do my best with that and also with the 1 vs. 2 gap question when I can if need be.

Last edited by AllWorldTE; 01-11-2008 at 10:13 AM..
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