Helping Your QB Process Coverages

The Eye in The Sky Does Not Lie

One of the best lessons I learned in college as a player was that the film never lies.  In high school in the late 80's the films and the angles of the films were so bad you could get away with some stuff the coaches never saw, unless they saw it live.  When I got to college i learned real quick that with multiple films and angles there was no way i could give an excuse to the coach about a route or my effort on a blocking assignment. Today, in 2013, almost every high school has quality film and with programs like Hudl the sharing and feedback on those films is almost immediate.  What that makes for is an extremely effective way to evaluate players, but an even more effective way to teach them.

I like to use film when I teach my Quarterbacks how to identify coverages pre snap, so they have a faster post snap processing method which will speed up their reads.  When you have two different angles to show a QB and you can pause and slow motion film, you can really start to emphasize things like depth and leverage that usually are a defenses "tells" in their coverage.  That is why a lot of your best defensive teams start in the same "2 Shell" structure and then spin to their assignments.  The game of football has turned into a 20 second poker game between the two coordinators.  The days of trying to fool the QB are over, now you are trying to fool the guy calling the plays.  If you are a no huddle coach you or you are a check with me coach, you are trying to get a picture of the defense so you can call the best possible play into that look.  The one thing that has not changed is the fact that you have to get your QB to see the game the way you are seeing it.  As soon as you figure out it's not what you know but what you can get your kids to know the better a coach you will become.

Using Pictures to Teach
 We need to be able to use as many visuals as possible when teaching the QB to understand coverages.  Now when looking at a still shot photo you can't truly understand what the defense is doing, but at least you can use some deductive reasoning to try and crack the code.  In the picture above it appears to be a defense playing with standard 4-3 personnel to a 2x1 slot set.  Now, let us look at a couple of things you can try to decipher from the picture.  First of all it is a 2 high middle of the field open concept.  The overhang or Apex backer is to the slot, and inside of him.  The top safety is 2-3 yards deeper than the bottom safety.  The bottom corner appears to be playing outside leverage.  The ILB to the bottom stays inside the box.  Those are all indications of what they may be trying to do schematically.  This is a start to teaching your QB how to identify certain coverages.  Again these are all pre snap, and the post snap defense could be 100% different. But it is a start for your QB to gain an understanding of what they like to do.  

Completely Different Picture
Now as we take a look at the picture above it gives us a completely different set of parameters.  It is a 1 High middle of the field closed concept.  There are overhang backers to each side of the formation.  The corners are much deeper and further outside of the #1 WR.  Again, not a true indication of what they will play post snap but it is definitely a way to speed the process up for your QB.

I am going to go through on the white board some simple things you can look at to help your QB identify things and in turn speed up his read process which hopefully gets the ball out of his hand on time and to the right spot.  Remember one important thing when throwing the ball, the defense determines where we want to throw the ball.  The QB will make the decision on where he throws the ball, but in actuality it was the defense that made the determination for him.


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