Film Review - Cleaning up Coverage

For the most part Michigan played pretty solid in coverage against MSU, but also had some significant busts that lead to big gains for the Spartans. There have been some questions about a few of the ways that Michigan has worked in coverage, and I'll briefly discuss how Michigan plays man coverage to help clear that up as well. At the end of the day, what you see from this exercise though, is that you can be very good most of the day, but if just a few mistakes get exploited, the opposing team can put up points.

Man Coverage

People have been wondering about if Michigan is doing this right. Namely, the common complaint is not turning back and looking for the ball. In man coverage, once you flip your hips, you have two basic techniques you will play: in-phase (in-sync, in-step, in-line, even) and trail. In-phase means that you have your hip on the front side of their hip and your shoulder on the front side of their shoulder, and you're using your body to gradually deflect them in the direction you want to push them. Trail means pretty much anything else.

When you are in-phase, you can feel where the WR is and feel where he's breaking. You are in contact with him with your body and he can't get around you without going through you, so you don't need to watch him. Otherwise, turning and looking for the ball is only slowing you down or putting you out of position as the receiver continues on his route. So when you are in a trail technique, your focus remains on the receiver and you try to go up and through the face, between the arms, and rake/rip down, only turning looking when you essentially catch back up, or in other terms, get in-phase again.

In this case, the LB never recovers to get back in phase. Instead, he is in a trail position. So what he's doing is reading the receiver's eyes. When he begins looking for the ball and he gets his hands up to catch the ball, Morgan goes up to make a play if the ball is put in a good spot.

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To learn more about coverage techniques, such as how to play outside technique, inside technique, some safety technique things, and LB drop technique, follow the link to Maize n Brew


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