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By Chris Endress, Defensive Coordinator, Columbus High School (KS)


See why coach Endress used these concepts against over 80% of the trips looks they saw this past season. Read more here...

By Chris Endress
Defensive Coordinator
Columbus High School (KS)

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columbusAt Columbus High School, we are a 4-2-5 base defense that uses split coverage rules. A couple seasons ago, we divorced our front 6 from our secondary which made things much easier to adjust to what we see week after week.  Our defense is based on rules for different receiver combinations we see at during points throughout the season: 1 WR; 2 WR; Trips; Quads. For this clinic report, I will discuss our two top coverage rules for trips looks.

Base Coverage (Solo)

We base out of a quarters look (called “Blue”). Our free safety (F) and gorilla/strong safety (G) always travel together and move to the receiver strength which will be the trips side. The Willie (W) always aligns away from the F. For trips, our corner aligns 1x7 outside of the #1 receiver tilted inside. The F apexes the #2 receiver and the football. The G aligns 1x5 outside of the #2 receiver.  The W aligns in B gap away from the trips at 10 yd deep. The linebackers bump to the trips. The play side backer apexes the #3 receiver and the football. The back side backer aligns on the weak side shoulder of the RB in the backfield.


Each defender has a pre–snap key. They are as follows:

  • The corner (C) reads #1 and has him on all vertical routes.
  • The G reads the end man on the line of scrimmage (EMOLOS).  He works outside and deep at the snap under #1 but locks on to the first threat that crosses his face.
  • The linebackers key their near guard then works to hook/curl and breaks on the first threat to enter the tackle box.
  • The F reads #2 and has him on any vertical route.
  • The W reads #3 and has him on any vertical route. The F and the W become de facto “cover 1” safeties if their reads do not go vertical.


Solo works the same for other trips looks besides Trips Open (see diagrams 3 and 4). The pre-snap keys and the responsibilities remain the same.



For Bunch looks, we play more of a box look. In that case, the C has the first outside deep threat, the G has the first short outside threat, the LB has the first inside threat, the F has the first deep inside threat, and W plays “Cover 1” to give help on any 3 vertical looks.


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  • An analysis of Blue coverage, including pre-snap and post-snap keys of the back end to defend both run and pass elements in trips formations
  • An analysis of Bronco coverage, including pre-snap and post-snap keys of the back end to defend both run and pass elements in trips formations
  • Plus game film on all these coverage concepts.

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We believe in simplicity in our coverage reads and rules. As a staff we have looked into man coverage, combo coverages, etc., but we always come home to our base philosophy: be simple so we can play fast. Our standard coverage to trips is Solo. We use Bronco as a change. The two main reasons to run Bronco are A team is putting their best receiver away from trips trying to get a 1 on 1 match up or a team is running to the perimeter away from trips. While our alignments may not put us in the most perfect position to stop everything an opponent will run against us, we feel that we will never be in a bad position.

Meet Coach Endress: Coach Endress has been coaching football since 2000. During that time, he has been part of 3 state championships at 5A and 6A in Kansas. In 2014, he was part of a run to a state championship at Columbus High School which was the first title game in the school’s history. Endress has been an OC and HC during his career and just finished his 3rd season as the defensive coordinator at Columbus High School (KS).



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