Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Inside the Playbook: Simplified Pass Concepts for Young QBs

Cook has been maligned as not being able to "hit the broad side of a barn" or "the ocean from a boat". Surely, there are other, more colorful phrases that have been painted on the young QB, some of them, at times, fairly accurate because of his inaccuracies. But, to Cook's credit, he has made improvement each week, as have the coaches in understanding simple passing concepts and reads to give him. It's become increasingly clear that, as the route concepts have simplified and his reps have multiplied, he has become more comfortable throwing the ball. In this post we'll look at a couple of the simple pass concepts that Michigan State deployed on Saturday, and why they are good plays for a young QB who has struggled at times putting the ball where it needs to be.

Smash Concept
Perhaps one of the most basic pass concepts in modern football, the smash concept was initially developed to take advantage of cover 2 defenses (or really any two high safety defense to a degree). Over the years, it has been adapted to theoretically work against any sort of coverage, but the main reason it's deployed is still to defeat cover 2. You can find info on the smash concept all over the internets.
The reason it is utilized so often for its simplicity is: it is a simple read for the QB who keys a single defender; it's outside the box and congestion that happens within it; it's typically easy to teach safe throws to the sideline.

Much like MSU is known to heavily lean on their cover 4, in the past, Iowa has been that way with cover 2. While they mix it up a bit more under former Spartan and current Iowa Defensive Coordinator Phil Parker than they did with former DC Norm Parker (no relation apparently), they are still favor cover 2. That gives good reason to deploy it here, so let's take a look:

The basic idea here is to pick on the rolled up CB in the flat. The QB will read safeties (to see two high or one high) to flat defender (CB in cover 2). If the CB stays on the man he is initially over the top of, the corner route should come open.

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To continue reading how the smash concept works well for MSU and why, and also take a look at Double Slants, follow the link the The Only Colors

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