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Coaching Safeties for Quarters Coverage
January 6, 2011 By Joe 6 Comments

The most important component of your Quarters coverage is the play of the Safeties. They are a critical part of your run defense as well as helping to shut down the pass. In addition, the safeties must be coached on the mental aspect of making checks for the coverage on the field. Run Stopping The safeties have a huge responsibility in Quarters Coverage whenever we are using the Read Check. Read is used when there are one or no receivers removed, meaning split out from the line of scrimmage (LOS). In Read, the safeties are the box player, or contain player. No outside runs can get outside of them. Because they are heavily involved in the run game, the safety alignment is at 7 to 9 yards, on the outside shade of the end man on the line of scrimmage (EMOLS).

Shutting Down the Pass When we use the Alert check in Quarters coverage. The only time the corner will be covering any deep routes is if both removed receivers run verticals. if there is one (usually a Tight End). and the safety takes #1. On flow away. This means that if their two receivers cross over an imaginary vertical line. reading the #2 receiver. he checks the route of the #2 receiver. attacking to his inside hip while the corner plays outside and over top of #1. The coverage zone for the safety is a deep half. they become a pass-first player. the safety bumps out to inside shade of #2. If #2 goes vertical. the safety has him. The safeties are now playing more like a traditional Cover 2 corner. On a inside or outside release by #2. On the snap. Alert is used when there are 2 or more receivers removed from the LOS. or always align on the hash – depending on your preference. . the safety is backpedaling from an alignment of 12 to 14 yards. He could also split the difference between #2 and EMOLS. If the safety reads high hat in Read. the safety takes his eyes to #1. He is prepared to attack any of these or insert on a cutback. the safety locks on him.At the snap. he throttles down at 4-5 yards and checks for Counter-Reverse-Bootleg. The corner and safety are working a vertical line rule in Alert check. he immediately sets to the LOS and boxes the play. After making the Alert check. If #2 is vertical. the safety bounces in place 2 times and reads the EMOLS for a high hat/low hat read. On low hat he assumes run and attacks the LOS as he reads through to the backfield for flow. On flow to. the corner breaks off of #1 and works to #2. If he goes in or out. the safety looks to rob the #1 receiver.

IF #1 and #2 both run verticals. Whatever call they make stands. they never cross the vertical line. and drops off to take him in the flat. Let them know that every check works. This prevents you from having the problem of Cover 3. Be sure that the rest of the secondary knows that the safeties are the generals on the field. if #2 were to wheel. These checks cover 0 or 1 receiver removed (Read). I find Read. Making Checks You need to know the mental capabilities of your safeties before throwing a lot of checks at them. If they are wrong. Alert. Make sure to work back-ups in this period as well. the safety snaps his eyes to #1. and there is to be no arguing or suggesting! The only role of the corners and outside linebackers in making the check calls is to echo the call of the safety – right or wrong Football-Defense Report Coaching Defensive Football        4-3 Defense 4-2-5 Defense 3-5-3 Defense Products ABOUT CONTACT ME Resources . For this purpose. the corner is locked on him and has it taken care of. Since it is a match-up coverage. but some are better against one look than another. The fact is. where 2 receivers run vertical in a zone covered by 1 player. and sees him running a post right to him. When #2 runs an out. they will call what they know. Be sure to have a formation recognition period in every practice. Instill confidence in your safeties as they make their checks. so that your safeties can make their checks. and the corner and safety play the 2 verticals. it is not a disaster.The vertical line rule works well. when the bullets are flying. The corner opens up with the out route by #2 as he crosses the vertical line. and Survivor to be the most necessary checks. 2 receivers removed (Alert) and Trips (Survivor).

. You will find a transcript of this video below. Installing Football’s 4-3 Over Defensive Front. In fact.Quarters Coverage Checks December 3. This is a narrated a power point on the Quarters Coverage checks. it is the coverage that I talk about using in my book. Quarters is a great coverage to run behind 7-man front defenses like the 4-3 Defense or the 3-4 Defense. 2010 By Joe 17 Comments I have been wanting to do something different for a while and finally got to it today. It is a 10 minute video on the main checks that we have for the Quarters Coverage.

That video is all you need to install Quarters Coverage (not an affiliate link. You can actually come out with a huge number of formations just because both sides are independent of each other. If you’re thinking about changing. Hope this video is helpful to you. be sure to subscribe to my RSS Feed to receive updates through Google Reader or your e-mail address on new posts. I don’t get a dime there). your defense you’ll want to take a look at it! Transcript of Quarters Coverage Checks video Hi. Strong and free safety’s make checks to their own and I’m going to talk to you today about the Quarters coverage and some of the checks that we use with it. this is Joe from Football Defense. A little bit about the Quarters package we used in the past out of the 4-3 defense with 2 high safeties. or even tweaking. It can be adapted to the other defends like 4-2-5. Takes a lot of thought and pressure of the Defensive Coordinator. December 8th. I’ll be making a new free eBook available. If this seems like your kind of thing. and let them know that every check will work because as long as everybody does . Allows us to adjust our coverage package to almost any formation without changing call from the sidelines. We want safeties to be confident making the checks on the field. That will also work well with 3-4.Much of this stuff was stolen from Quarters Coverage Made Simple by Shap Boyd. It is titled “Defensive Installation Manual” and goes through the entire process of changing your defense or installing a defense at a new program. again with two high safeties. I also want to announce that on Wednesday. We are never going to jump on them for making the wrong check.

with only one receiver removed. He is going to be 8 to 10 yard off the ball. two guys removed. it is sort of a robber coverage. as tight as his speed and athleticism will allow. This is the more important to tight end for you to get outside of two. If number two goes down inside fast like a tight end we’re going to jump to number one. again reading the number 2 is receiver here. this is the one to make one or no receivers removed. unless he runs a “Now” shallow cross inside. The corner is going to be in the outside shade of number one 6-8 yard. going be as tight as he can as tight he can. He is going to split different between the end man line of scrimmage and number two receiver. he’s looking to get underneath the number one. If he does that there is no reason for a corners stay of the top of him. So he gives two bounces before he is going to go anywhere. The outside linebacker. the Tackle. Base check is the read check. no back pedal or anything like that for his read. That’s his read step there. It’s a soft cover two look. He may not have any help there if the corner is taken away by post. bounce in place two steps. before he does anything. It’s our strongest run support cover. Real simple to teach. On the run read your safeties are flying up and boxing the play there. If two doesn’t go vertical. It’s a deep half player now. Or in this case end man on the line of scrimmage. He is not technically a flat player. He reads through the line of scrimmage to the quarterback. And the safety is not going to honor that either. in this case the Will backer. it is 7-9 here but we tightened them up a little bit. If two goes vertical or if two goes inside. stay on the top of him. we’re looking for something coming back inside.their responsibility every check will work against every formation. two guys in position to go vertical now. this is one that we think a lot just to get 8 or 9 men in the box. And we’re going to get underneath number one with the safety over top of the one with the corner. is going to drop outside of number two. Stay over the top of number one at all times. . However. We are using our safeties and. Look at end man for a run/pass read. He’s still looking for number two to go vertical. I would like them to know that the right check to put us in the best position to cover the offense. playing off deep. Safety is going to align inside shade of number two and now he is off 12 of 14 yards. The alert check is made with two receiver’s removed. We need to get double coverage on number one. we don’t want him sprinting out the flat but use the outside too. his read doesn’t change the whole lot. He reads #2 Receiver. He is going to bounce. The outside line backer becomes run force. Our safeties are the run force players so your front seven are all trying to spill the ball to the outside. So our safety is going to align outside shade of the number two receiver. Alert tells us there’s two fast receivers out there. Will needs to get outside to the flat fast. on the pass read he gets over the top of the #2 Receiver.

its alert for the Sam linebacker. If two does not go vertical. I think you gotta have alert and you gotta have read this is one when you get more sophisticated. Its coverage we would use. And again the Sam. the outside line backer. our outside linebacker. eyes on number two. it’s a hard cover two and one that personally I would only use with the tight end and the slot in to the boundary where we can. And if one gone vertical it’s going to be over top of him. He is the run force player and this allows you to keep your OLB in the box. If you are already teaching . He has got to stay deeper than anybody on his half of the field. Corner is going to play 4 to 6 yards outside shade of number one and he’s going to funnel him down inside. Squeeze him down. You could just as easily play read here and let you safety to be the run force player. It is just a different look and one that if something your corners are adapted to. making sure that two doesn’t cross his face to the inside without getting bumped. If one goes down inside he’s not going to chase him. expands to one.Number two goes vertical he got to get over top of them.” You see this alignment is alert for you. two goes in or out then safety needs to find what number 1 is doing. is the force player on the run read. The safety is going be playing a deep half so it’s not really different for him. Not much different than he play on alert he’s going to align outside the number two. we got a short field and really want that corner to be involved as the true run support. Try to keep his eyes through number one. walls number two on a pass read. He is just going to back off and pick up number two coming outside into the flats. Cloud. Flat is something that we use when we have a threat of the number two receiver being aligned less than seven yard removed and he is in the position we think to run to the flats now. another coverage that you may not always use. I think that you can tend to over coach him by telling him anything more than just “this is alert for you. soft cover two look here. When we’re wanting to get to the corner to be a little more aggressive. Really doesn’t change much for the safety. but all we’re going to do is we’re going to tell. on number two. the Sam backer here. I think this is not to third coverage that you install. Your safety back playing deep half and can’t be part of base run stop at this point. and the only different is that the corner is going jump that out route now. The corner is going to be outside shade in a press technique on number one squeezing him inside. And again trying to funnel everything to that deep safety. basically tell the corner that if two goes flat he’s going to jump him now and let one go as we should be more aggressive playing a flat route by number two when we make a flat check. Does not change a whole lot off of the alert. Flat is a variation of alert. So again. the outside linebacker on the alert side. you can use it.

He has got to be in the position to jump a vertical by number three receiver when the ball is snapped. Align the safety up in the three by three alignment play like a traditional overhang safety. we want him to get to the trip side B gap before the snap. Nothing really changes for the outside linebacker in cloud from alert. Survivor. Clue is something that we use. he hollers across to the backside safety “Survivor. it is an important coverage check because we want to be able to not to pull against doubles formation. When we have nub to one side. It is just another look that you can use. a match-up coverage here where both the safety and the corner reading number two. Only thing that changes at all in coverage are for the Mike in a survivor call is going to get underneath of number three. Free safety rolls late over the top. The OLB doesn’t walk out on clue check because he’s going stay in the box. If the safety reads number two going vertical or in he takes him. Survivor!” The backside safety relays that call to corner and let him know that he’s in man man coverage to the corner basically you have the technique down. That is his biggest concern. Backside corner has got man coverage. locks on a man coverage. If he goes out the safety goes to number one and the corner takes number two. We don’t want to pull both outside linebackers out of the box and leave a four one box with just a Mike backer in there. He should be in the great . we’ll swap the safety and the corner. Let the corner play a deep half player back there. so you don’t worry about it. Make a survivor call. We’re going to play alert check to the front side number one and number two receiver. And it applies here that when those two guys cross we switch them off between the safety and the corner. We use this for a backside corner who is going to be on an island. Survivor is used against Trips. We work something called a vertical line rule with both our alert check and the clue check. Survivor is the last check we’re going to look at. a nub tight end. So clue is essentially a man coverage. we tell him. This is one we run a lot. we tell them that number three is just the number two receiver from the other side walked over. the front side safety sees the three receivers. Swap is the check we make. It’s going to be one on one with the number one receiver backside of the trips. the whole purpose is to make the checks and keep him in the box. we’re going to swap down the safety. playing alert to both sides. We’re going to wall number one with the OLB.

If he reads pass. their assignment is simple. he is the box/contain player to his side. The “Read” Check is used for 1-receiver removed. We use an open-slide technique with our corners. or we may use as many as 6 checks within a single game. We really enjoyed talking to you today and would love you to come over to football-defense. He is reading for a high hat or low hat read – pass or run. His rules vs. and about 1 yard outside. He is just going to jump a vertical there at all cost. pass are as follows: #2 Receiver goes to Flats or Inside: Immediately go to inside hip of #1 receiver. After 10 yards. The corner must stay on the outside hip of the #1 receiver. and these players are.position for the post with the Mike getting in underneath it. he will check the #2 receiver (probably the Tight End – so he was already reading him). When “Quarters” is called. he still needs to come down to play Counter-Reverse-Bootleg. no matter where he goes. . but could also use an “Invert” check. in the Quarters Coverage we have a 4-spoke secondary. meaning there is one receiver detached from the end man on the line of scrimmage (EMOLS). I hope this has given you an idea of several things you can do out with this He aligns himself at 8-10 yards deep on the outside shoulder of the EMOLS. If there are no receivers removed. His alignment is from 6-8 yards deep. the safety will rob underneath #1 receiver and we will have double coverage. Again. Those are main checks that we’re going to use in the Quarters coverage. The safety takes everything on with his inside shoulder and forces it back inside to the pursuit. the coverage is still not really set. we may use Read. and any help they give in the run game is bonus. He should immediately attack to the LOS – even in the case of flow going away. we have declared our coverage and it becomes a man coverage regardless of what any other receivers do. Against many vertical routes. or run read. Remember that deep zone players can never be expected to do much in your run defense. technically. We may carry only 2 or 3 checks into a game. #2 Receiver goes Vertical: Man coverage on #2 receiver. Safeties in Quarters Coverage “Read” Check The “Read” Check tells the Safety to read the end man on the line of scrimmage. They are secondary box players for our defense. We know it will be some version of Quarters. Take a look at our website there and all the defense we have to offer you there Read check article #3 Continuing on with the Quarters Coverage that we ran this past season. When the Safety gets a Low Hat read. the deep half players in the Read Check. Cornerbacks in Quarters Coverage “Read” Check For the corners in Read. They cannot leave #1 until the ball has crossed the LOS. I want to talk about our first check. but there are any number of checks.

he must run with the wheel. He will collision crossing routes. or continue on to pressure the Quarterback. He is a spill player vs. and we prefer him to either tackle the faking back (potential receiver). In the case of a wheel route. the run. and I’ll give the details of that one in the near future. He must get outside of #2 in his drop. However. The second check we teach has probably been used more. since the Safety has gone to the #1 receiver after reading the out route by #2. Mike Linebacker in Quarters Coverage “Read” Check The Mike Linebacker will be responsible for the Middle of the Field on a pass read. forcing the play to bounce to the Safety. he is responsible for Flat Coverage. However. the near back or tailback for us. They read their normal run keys. as it is the check we’ll employ against a Spread Offense.Outside Linebackers in Quarters Coverage “Read” Check The Outside Linebackers have their normal gap responsibility in the Quarters Read. . Any play-action should probably pull him out of your pass coverage. we are generally not concerned about the coverage of the Mike Linebacker as he is a run-first player. when the OLB gets a pass read. attacking everything with his outside shoulder on their inside shoulder. This is our “Alert” check.

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