Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cover 3 Beaters

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Breaking Down Cover 3

One of the most common coverages at all levels is the Cover 3. Cover 3 stands for three deep players breaking up the field into 1/3s and having four players in underneath coverage.

The reason Cover 3 is so popular is its flexibility to get an 8th man into the box. No matter if you are a 3-5, 5-2, 4-4 or 4-3 defense, you can run cover 3.

First, I would like to define the zones:

Flat-  7-10 yards off of the line of scrimmage (LOS) between the numbers and sideline of the field.

Deep 1/3-  For cover 3, the field will be broken down into 1/3, from sideline to hash to hash to sideline.  Each player is responsible for the deepest man in their 1/3.

Curl-  7-10 yards on the inside part of the hash.  This player has a very tough zone, covering between the hash and the middle of the field.

Base cover 3 out of fronts:


Most 4-3 teams run a cover 2, which I will cover at a later date, but in order to get that 8th defender in the box, teams will move to a cover 3.


Cover 3 is a base coverage for the 3-4/5-2 team.  They want to stop the run, and will get that 8th player up into the box to put the pressure on a running team.  Example of a main 3-4 Cover 3 team is Alabama, and Coach Nick Saban's team.  Brophy extensively covered some of Alabama's more advanced coverages out of 3 at the following site: Advanced Cover 3.

4-4 and 3-5

The 4-4 and 3-5 defenses use Cover 3 as a base coverage along with man.  These defenses use a variety of blitzes and slants that allow their players to exploit weaknesses in the protection and change responsibilities of backers and zones.  Below are base Cover 3 looks for the two defenses

In the 3-5-3, most d-coordinators will bring at least one LB during the play.  For this example, I have the middle linebacker blitzing.  If they were to drop 8, the MLB would drop into the middle hole of the field, roughly 7-10 yards deep.

There are a variety of variations of Cover 3, and how it changes according to the offense's formations and routes.  The key is that it helps get that 8th man into the box, while covering the field and taking away the homerun routes.  Good luck.