I had the chance to listen to Michigan State Defensive Back Coach Harlon Barnett speak at the 2013 AFCA Convention.
Prior to the clinic, I had heard about the Spartans' use of pressed cornerbacks in their version of Cover 4. I was hesitant to give that version a shot because it seemed as if it would further isolate my corners, and it would also be difficult to play our version of 2-Read coverage.
After hearing Coach Barnett speak, I opened my mind a little bit and might use some pressed corner looks this summer.
Here's some notes from the nearly hour long lecture...
VS. PRO I
- CBs line up 2-3 yards inside #1 WR
- If #1 WR is inside the divider, the CB lines head up
- Safeties line up 1x9 outside of the End Man on Line of Scrimmage
- Safety on weak side makes "MOD" call, which means "Man on Demand" or stay in man
- Safety on strong side makes "Box" call. The safety will take #2 man-to-man on any route over 10 yards. If #2 is not vertical past 10 yards, he will find the QB and play the football.
- The CB on the strong side has #1 on any route over 5 yards. On any route under 5 yards, he zones off his 1/4.
- If #2 is a TE or RB, you step downhill on the snap
- Eye control: Safety keys #2 (w/ no TE, key guard)
- Backside Safety has cutback (creates 9-man front)
- To the 3 WR side, the Spartans play "Midpoints". The CB splits #1 and #2 at 8 yards and plays the ball. The S splits #2 and #3 and plays the ball. The safety will key #3 and lean towards him on any vertical route. Basically, they are playing Cover 3 to this side.
- To the 2 WR side, Michigan State can play a ton of calls... Read (2-Read), Box, Cloud, Dog (2-Man)
- If hurt by quick game, play man
- Weak side CB plays "MOD"
- Weak side safety is in a B-10 alignment (B gap at 10 yards).
- Weak side safety makes a "Yo-Yo" call, which means he will take #3 on the any vertical route.
- Can play any coverage call to the #1 and #2 WR to the strong side.
- Strong side safety is 1x10 off the #2 WR, not the ball.
- Using a pressed corner forces the WR to be predictable when running routes
- Using a pressed corner forces the WR to bubble his release which messes up timing
- Using a pressed corner takes away the easy quick game, which is one of the pitfalls of Cover 4
- Safeties use a slightly staggered stance with inside foot up. Inside foot should move first.
- Press: Off-hand jam aiming for near pec
- CBs read WR hips through "Move" area (0-18 yards)
- CB needs to cutoff and control after the "Move" area. CB needs to keep running.
- CBs will use an outside alignment in "Read" (2-Read) unless the WR is outside the divider