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By Shawn LaMothe, Defensive Backs/Running Backs Coach, Grosse Ile High School (MI)

If your league is heavy on smashmouth offenses, you need your outside backers to play run first. Find out how coach LaMothe teaches this out of his Cover 2 Robber scheme here...


By Shawn LaMothe
Defensive Backs/Running Backs Coach
Grosse Ile High School (MI)
Twitter: @CoachLaMothe


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In our base 4-4 Cover 2 Robber system, our goal is for our outside linebackers (OLBs) to be run stoppers first. In our league, we compete against three, very tough, double-tight, full house backfield offenses, which run 90% of the time. Overall, 70% or more of the plays we will see from our remaining opponents are run plays, as well.

Defensive Structure

So we are all on the same page, when I speak about the 4-4 Cover 2 Robber system, we have two OLBs, two corners, and one free safety.


In our system, we have a “Call Side” OLB and an “Away Side” OLB. Before each play, the free safety communicates a directional call telling the OLBs which side to line up on and what side the free safety will be on.

Against any two back formations, this is our go to concept. It is important to note that we define two back formations as any formation in which there are two players lined up between the tackles (not including the QB).


When we see one back spread formations, the first coverage adjustments we will make is to keep the responsibilities the same for the Call Side players with some changes to the Away Side. We do have additional coverages vs 2x2 and 3x1 formations; however, our first check keeps the Call Side the same.

The OLBs’ responsibilities are:

  • Force players vs the run
  • Flat players vs the pass 

Continue to the full-length version of this report…

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  • The alignments of outside linebackers against single width, double width and nub sets.
  • The techniques Coach LaMothe teaches the force defenders to leverage the ball.
  • The “empty hands” concept Coach Lamothe teaches his OLBs to use to diagnose the run and pass elements of RPO concepts.
  • The inside/outside run drill he will use to train the eyes of OLBs to fit both interior and perimeter runs in a robber coverage structure.
  • Plus, drill and game film of all these concepts.

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Keeping the OLBs’ rules simple enables them to play fast and make decisions quickly. We expect them to leverage the ball at all times putting the OLBs’ in a good position to stop the run. Additionally, Having a true flat player helps slow down the quick passing game. Hopefully this has helped you better understand how we use this concept and how it could help your team this coming season. Thanks for your time and thanks to X&O Labs for allows me to share.


Meet Coach LaMothe: Shawn LaMothe has been coaching football at the youth and high school levels for the better part of 20 years. He is the current Defensive Backs and Running Backs Coach for Grosse Ile High School in Grosse Ile, Michigan. He is honored to coach for Head Coach John Bodner, and alongside O-Line/ Inside Linebackers Coach Pete Kelly, and Defensive Coordinator/ D-Line Coach Nate Geiger.  




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