This is fine information to have after the snap, but it is even better if you know it before the play starts.
In the 10 years I have been playing 06, every type of offensive play: pass, run, or scheme and system I have utilized is predicated on knowing what type of coverage the defense is in before I ever snap the ball.
Pro style, Flexbone, Nebraska option, Air Raid, or any of the dozens of other spread offenses, you name it, doesn’t matter.
For me, success starts before the snap and it all starts with this read.
I run a simple HB Slam much different against man than I do against zone.
I have a completely different set of rules when running Power Option if I see zone coverage than I do man.
How I teach offense in 06, and for this entire blog, is based off knowing this vital piece of information before each snap.
Besides from calling a play from a twins or trips formation, there are two ways to know what coverage the defense is in when playing 06.
I will go into detail the basics of both methods and why I think one is vastly better than the other.
The Old and Flawed Method
One of the most obvious ways of knowing which type of coverage a defense is in is to simply motion a wide receiver to the other side of the field or even move him back to his original spot.
We have all done this at least once when playing a football game.
We move our WR over and if his defender follows him to wherever you put him, then you know the defense is playing man.
The exact opposite is true for zone coverage, if the cornerback doesn’t follow the WR, then you know they are playing zone.
This is all well and good but there is one major flaw to this method that I believe hurts your offense.
In 06, you only get 25 seconds to call a play, make your necessary adjustments, and to snap the ball.
This is not a lot of time for you to accomplish what you are trying to do on each down.
Unless you are confident and fast in your play selection, you will feel rushed on every play IF you decide to motion a WR every time.
Motioning a player just to see whether a defense is in man or zone isn’t worth the time and effort.
It may take as long as 5 seconds to send one receiver to the other side of the field.
You need those 5 seconds to make more important decisions.
Yes you can call most of your plays from twins and trips formations to see if all the CBs are covering each receiver, but you are severely limiting your playbook, offense, and yourself by doing so.
Let me show you a much easier, quicker, and more efficient way to determining defensive coverage.
The New and Only Method You Should Be Using
Here is the only read you need to make:
After you break the huddle, watch either CB.
- If he runs full sprint to his spot: MAN Coverage
- If he starts side-stepping to his spot: ZONE Coverage
That’s all you need to know if the defense is in man or zone coverage.
Below are two images for your viewing pleasure. (mind the blurriness).
The first image shows the CBs sprinting all the way to their spot (MAN).
The second image shows the CBs facing you and side-stepping to their spot (ZONE).
I suggest you pick either CB to read on every play and stick with it.
Regardless of what play a defense runs, there will always be 2 CBs on every down, even in goal line situations.
There are also no defensive plays where one CB is in man and the other in zone coverage.
Once you make this read enough times, it will become second nature.
Remember, what I teach offensively from here on out is predicated on this one read alone.
Use it and I promise you that it will make you a much better player!
What are some of your experiences with pre-snap reads when playing 06? Please share in the comments section below.