The philosophy was implemented and perfected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the mid 90’s and beyond.
Monte Kiffin was the the Tampa Bay defensive coordinator at the time and his take on defensive football took the football world by storm.
While not as popular today as it was back then, the Tampa 2 can still be effective in football, especially in NCAA 06.
How It Works
The Tampa 2 is no different than your standard Cover 2 Zone.
Normally ran out of the 4-3, the concept is meant to be used as Cover 2 but also be used as a Cover 3 Zone.
Take a look at the image above, this is what the Tampa 2 looks like.
Notice that is looks no different than the 4-3 Cover 2 Zone.
However, the key to making this work is the MLB.
Your middle linebacker makes or breaks this concept due to his major responsibilities.
The MLB is responsible for the middle of the field, that includes that big area left open between the safeties.
If you want to make this defense work, you have to control the MLB and defend that entire area which can be hard at times.
You are responsible for runs up the middle, passes underneath you, and especially passes between the safeties.
Again, a bunch of responsibility for one player.
The AI in NCAA 06 does not do a great job of his duties with regards to this concept which is why I stress the need to control your MLB.
The easiest thing for you to make this work is to routinely backpedal your MLB between the safeties on most plays.
The biggest weakness against any Cover 2 Zone defense is the space between the safeties.
The Tampa 2 is made to cover this weak spot, thus making it look like Cover 3 mentioned earlier.
So unless you are facing an offense that runs the ball a ton, get in the habit of turning your Cover 2 Zone into Cover 3.
If you use this defense as your staple then i suggest you recruit speedy MLBs so they can cover ground much quicker; don’t worry about recruiting awareness since you will be controlling that position yourself.
Regarding your front seven: I suggest you run a 4-3 under front.
All this means is you shift your line away from the strong side (where the TE is) and shift your LBs to the strong side (towards the TE).
If the offense is in a balanced formation then shift accordingly so your MLB starts out in the middle of the field.
There is nothing wrong with doing the same thing with the Tampa 2.
Once you master maneuvering your MLB around and shutting down offenses, there is no reason to shy away from it.
Then you can start throwing in Cover 2 Zone Blitzes to really mess up opposing teams; you’ll have more area to cover but the blitz maybe be a great trade-off.
If you have any questions or stories regarding the Tampa 2, throw them in the comment section and let’s get a good conversation going.