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By Zach Davis, Head Football Coach, Riverside High School (WV)

See how Coach Davis schemes his read coverage to defend 3 man surfaces and get his corners and safeties more involved in run defense. Read the report...


By Zach Davis
Head Football Coach
Riverside High School (WV)
Twitter: @zachdavis24

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Read coverage is one of the base concepts of our defense because it can adapt to many different formations. It allows us to get our safeties and corners involved in the run game while adjusting the run support based on the formation. It handles every formation an offense can use while giving you max numbers against the run and being able pattern match in the secondary. We really like it versus TE runs to the field because it puts our safeties into the run fit based on the release of the TE.

Base Concept

We use a traditional 50 defense where we are rushing 5 defenders on the majority of our snaps. We have the ability to drop our Ends (OLB’s) into coverage, but it is not something we do often. We also use a variety of blitzes with our inside linebackers to attack the A, B, C and D gap.

The run fits remain the same for our Ends, ILB’s, Tackles, and Nose regardless of what coverage is called, which allows our players to play fast! Our Ends are force / BCR (boot, counter, reverse) players that will squeeze all down blocks and play the quarterback versus option.  The ILB’s read the triangle (Center, Both Guards, to the near back). The Tackles are spill / dive players and the Nose plays a 2 - gap technique. 

Our secondary adjusts to the different formations. They are further from the football, so they have time to process. There are three calls that can be made based on the offensive formation: Sky, Cloud and Yo – Yo.

Sky Call


Sky is used when there is single removed receiver and a TE or Tackle. This is a version of quarters coverage where the corners have all of #1 vertical and the Safeties have #2 vertical and out. The ILB’s are hook / curl players that need to expand if a back threatens them to the flat. They will play everything from deep to short.

The safeties are looking at the EMOL for their run / pass key and the corners are pass first players that guard against play action and half back pass. This allows the safeties to be the 8th and 9th defender in the box, allowing us to get max numbers against the run.  The safeties’ job is to fit off of the defenders in front of them.  

As a change up, you can also call double could to this formation if you want your safeties to be able to help on the vertical by #1 or if you want your corners in a good position to play toss or jet sweep. The ILB to the TE would have to carry the TE vertical.

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  • Analysis and film of Coach Davis cloud coverage concept against tight end/wing or nub formation structures
  • Analysis and film of Coach Davis Yo-Yo coverage concept, which helps the boundary safety poach to trips and still be an extra hat on the weakside run game.
  • How this coverage concept adjusts to 10 and 20 personnel groupings without a tight end.

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Read coverage is great against TE runs to the field because you can always get an extra player in the box to stop the run. The coverage concepts are very easy to teach, so you can also be effective against the passing game as well. It is simple so your players can play fast and you can limit the amount of yardage gained on runs to the TE.

Meet Coach Davis: Zach Davis is the Head Football Coach at Riverside High School. He just finished his second year with a record of 4-6, which is more wins than the previous 4 years combined. He has been a defensive coordinator and an offensive line coach. He played college football for East Carolina and Liberty as an offensive lineman from 2004 – 2008. 



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