The new law of coverage?

Ian Boyd has an interesting post up about pass coverage in this new era of offense.  It boils down to one rule for him:

You have to have three good coverage players on the field to survive against the better passing teams.

Now I would come back and argue that there’s more than one way to skin that particular cat, but Boyd has an answer for some of that, too.

In the modern era teams can often get by while just having solid players along the DL but there’s no escaping your doom if you don’t have some good players in the defensive backfield. An opponent will get their good receivers and passing game fixed on your poor DB play, run the ball well enough to keep you from diverting resources, and shred you.

Try to blitz them and you can just exacerbate the issue by short-manning the coverage against quick game staples that QBs can execute in their sleep. Unless you have players that can hold up long enough to take away the quick throws and buy an extra second for the blitzers, yes the rule of three makes for a better blitzing team.

Most opponents don’t stack their two best receivers on the outside, 2014 West Virginia excepted, but will often put their 2nd best or even best receiver in the slot where they can counter-balance the outside receiver and help a team execute a quick passing game to march down the field.

How many college defenses these days can put three good secondary coverage guys out there?  (And if you’re Georgia, how many great in state defensive backs are there in a recruiting class?)

It would be nice to have them, but I think a top flight defensive coordinator gets paid the big bucks to figure out ways to hamstring a passing attack even when he doesn’t have the numbers.  Or he has to manufacture the numbers.

When a team can match up with the offense’s top three receivers with solid to good coverage players, it really complicates things and can send a collegiate QB to a dark place, mentally. Some teams will do this with tight pattern-matching, most all are trying to do it by recruiting and developing as many good coverage players as possible, and perhaps more will try to match cross-trained receiving studs with cross-trained secondaries and “Ace” DBs.

Kinda sounds like what Pruitt’s up to.

In the end, it all comes back to something we’ve heard every DC at Georgia say.  You’ve got to confuse the quarterback just enough.

That’s where Boyd winds up, too.

At the end of the day, defenses that want to survive in the modern game will have to get back on the offensive and attack the quarterback’s ability to quickly deliver the ball to open targets by either observing the rule of three or finding another cheat.

Ain’t no cheat like a monster pass rush.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

9 responses to “The new law of coverage?

  1. A great pass rush can cover a multitude of sins on the back end. In 2007, we were decent on the back end with Asher Allen as the only legitimate NFL prospect in the secondary, but when we decided to get after Colt Brennan with Howard, Miller, Atkins, Curran, etc., he never had a chance. Similar deal with the GPOOE that year, he wasn’t a threat to run due to the injury, and we blitzed him as soon as he got off the bus. Hopefully, Pruitt finds a way to get both in ’15 with Jenkins, Floyd & Carter, and some young DBs who got better as the year went on. Malkom Parrish is the guy I want to see after a year in the system. He looks the part of a big cover corner (sort of like Nick Marshall would have been).


    • Noonan

      David Pollack made Van Gorder look like a genius.


      • Especially because BVG never really had to blitz except when he wanted to – we were also VERY good at getting offenses behind the chains on early downs where Van Gorder could bring pressure on 3rd down without worrying about the big play. Boss and Gilbert were devastating as passing down blitzers when BVG could afford to bring them.


        • pete

          BVG made his money on stunting two rushers to one side. I use to think…”why don’t he bring one off each edge, to trap the QB”…then I realized he was giving the RB one rusher too many to block. It worked.


    • Macallanlover

      And I think we have that great rush talent this year, which along with an improved group in the secondary gives me great hope that UGA should not be so vulnerable to a passing attack in 2015. Now I need that same assurance about stopping the run and I will feel strongly that this team will be ordering rings. Cautiously, there should be an optimistic lean for all UGA fans as we go into March.


    • pete

      I really like the depth we’re building at pass-rushing positions…JJ, Floyd, Carter, Bellamy, maybe McGee…and on the way…Barnett, Patrick, Rivers, Walker, Young, maybe McCrae…


  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    If some of the freshman defensive lineman can get after it early, by mid-season we should be pretty good across the defensive front. But to get the depth we need there these kids sho do have to grow up in a hurry.

    Beginning about October 3, things get pretty interesting.


  3. W Cobb Dawg


    Of course there’s another school of thought…. Have the DBs learn an intricate system of hand gestures, each more elaborate than the last, then signal in the encrypted plays using even more gestures, and finally to keep opponents from potentially deciphering the play calls, shield the communication system behind a cloak of secrecy by having a guy hold a towel over his head. You can’t escape the sheer brilliance of this approach.