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Published by Sloan Boyer
basics of the 4-2-5
basics of the 4-2-5

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Published by: Sloan Boyer on Dec 18, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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  • Solo
  • Special
  • Conclusion
  • The Free Safety's Role in MOFC Coverage
  • Simplifying Alignment in the Eight Man Front
  • Blitzing in the Eight Man Front
  • Force Issues
  • Defending the Inside Run
  • Robber
  • Cover Three
  • Mable
  • Coverage Summary

The FS in most MOFC defenses has a tough job, especially if the coverage is cover one, or some sort of
two-deep rotational coverage. Robber, and Cover One are not too strenuous on the FS, the reason
being, in Robber the FS is pattern reading, and it's basically man, and in Cover One, the FS is free to
roam based on the QB's eyes. However, introduce Rip/Liz Cover Three and you now have the best of

both Cover Three and Cover One. Let's look at the pros cons of each and then display them with Rip/Liz
and see what we get...shall we?

Cover One-Pros

Aligns to and covers virtually everything with guaranteed MOF help.

Simple, cover your man, run with your man if he goes in motion (you can bump, or motion blitz if
you'd like, but again, this is simple man-to-man defense here).

Provides a stable defense for the MOF, having both a MOF deep player and a MOF shallow

player (Rat-in-the-hole).

Affords sending up to six defenders on a blitz if using peel coverage rules.

Cover One-Cons

Run force-the force defender can be "run off" by a receiver he's supposed to cover man-to-man
(although catch man alleviates some of this, it is still, nevertheless worrisome).

Not all 11 eyes on the football. Zone defense affords 11 eyes watching the football, whereas man
defenders cannot always eye the football for the threat of being beaten in pass coverage.

Outside 1/3's vulnerable to match up issues. Corners are on an island in Cover One.

Suspect to picks and rubs, as is any man-to-man defense.

FS must have very good range.

Cover Three-Pros

Aligns to everything.

Very simple to install (should be able to do this in one practice).

Good run support (dedicated force players at or near the LOS with a solid MOF alley player).

Cover Three- Cons

Covers nothing.

Weak in the seams.

Weak in the curl.

Weak against flood routes.

Every offense in the country has several "Cover Three Beaters" installed in their offense day one

(which means EVERYONE's seen it).

FS has to have excellent range.
By utilizing Saban's Cover Three, you end up with the following:


Aligns to everything.

Excellent MOF defense with a MOF safety deep and MOF underneath player (ROBOT).

Can keep same rules for zone blitzing (Number one and two droppers are identical in both Cover
Three Rip/Liz and most three deep, three under zone blitz schemes), which alleviates teaching time(multiplicity
through simplicity).

Force players not as apt to be run off by receivers.

All 11 eyes are on the football at the snap.

No need to worry about picks and rubs (you're not in man-can run banjo schemes).

With flat players funneling the number two receiver inside the hash, FS doesn't need to be as


Has the same run support structure as "Country Cover Three".

Very strong in the seams and curl areas because of the pattern read.

Works against most "Cover Three Beaters" and is hard for offense to distinguish between Cover

Three and Cover One.


Not as easy an install as "Country Cover Three" or Cover One, due to the pattern reading nature.

Force players can still be run off somewhat, providing for a "soft edge".

Corners are still on an island (match up).
Whew! I know there are some more, but these are just the basics. What you can see here is you get a
lot of bang for your buck with Rip/Liz. You can still run some Cover One if you need to and it's a great
disguise for when you do. You also can zone blitz from the one-high look and don't have to afford any
pre-snap rotation to give away what you are doing (which many QB's are being taught for what to look for
pre-snap nowadays).

The biggest benefit I think is the protection of the seams, and the fact that the FS doesn't have to be a
guy that can cover a TON of ground. Sure he has to be able to move, and read on the run, but he doesn't
need to be a Major Wright! The funneling of the number two receivers also helps the FS in the run
game. The FS can get a clearer read because the number two receiver is being pressed and thereby has
to make his intentions pretty quickly (am I blocking or running a route) so the FS can get into his run/pass
read quicker and is thereby a little better factor against the run than a traditional Cover Three FS.

So, we can see, the addition of a pattern reading Cover Three is the top priority if you are an eight man
front and you want to consistently defend what spread teams will do to attack you. It does not hurt to mix
in some Cover One however, which will keep the opposing coach guessing and off track when trying to
call certain plays.

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