While quarters coverage continues to be one of the more popular adjustments to defend RPOs, offensive coordinators have taken advantage of deficiencies in the flats. So, integrating trap checks at the line of scrimmage is a simple adjustment that not only takes away the quick screen game by allowing a cornerback to “trigger” on a route to the flats but also protects any vertical by the #1 wide receiver with leverage and help from the safety. Milton High School (GA) defensive coordinator Pete DeWeese details how he trains the corner and corresponding safety to play trap coverage efficiently against the most common RPO concepts. Read the report...
By Pete DeWeese
Defensive Coordinator/LB Coach
Milton High School (GA)
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Every coverage has a weakness. Offensive coaches know and understand what those weaknesses are and how to exploit them. As offenses continue to reinvent the wheel and add RPOs to their playbook, it seems like most good defenses are scaling back. Utilizing sound coverage principles and simple, time-tested, coverage checks are still a great way to defend most any offense.
Quarters coverage is easily one of the more popular coverages at all levels of football, but good OC’s know how to attack quarters teams. The simple trap check is a great addition for any quarters team. Trap allows a cornerback to “trigger” on a route to the flats while protecting any vertical by the #1 WR with leverage and help from the safety. Trap allows us to maintain our Cover 4 principles that we like versus drop-back-pass concepts while easily adjusting to quick game concepts that offenses like in most down and distance situations.
Defend the Flats
One of the biggest flaws of Cover 4 is the ability to defend the flats. Most defensive coordinators are going to place an emphasis on stopping the run. While Cover 4 does add safeties to the box to assist with the run game, the defense is giving up the flats if they keep their LB’s or APEX players attached to the box to defend the run.
Widening the LB’s/APEX defender gives the offense a potential numbers advantage in the box and makes the defense more susceptible to the run game. With so many teams using some form of RPO, defenses are often having to pick their poison and remain vulnerable in one phase or the other. Using a Trap check in your quarter’s coverage principle will help your defense handle quick game concepts while remaining strong against the run.
What Is Trap?
Our Trap check is an easy way of marrying your Cover 4 with Cover 2 principles while protecting your outside linebackers and run-game integrity. Trap is safe against four verticals and safe against 2x2 quick game staples like fade/out, smash, or all hitch.
The basics of the Trap check are easy to install and implement. I like to start by teaching the concept and then training them on when to utilize the check. The concept starts with an understanding that we want to maintain inside leverage and “zone eyes” in the coverage.
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Join X&O Labs’ Insiders, an exclusive membership-based website, and you’ll get instant access to the full-length version of this report—including access to everything X&O Labs has ever published. Plus, you’ll receive up to 4 FREE books mailed directly to your home or office. Here’s just a small sample of what you’ll find in the full-length version of this report:
- The four “trap check” rules Coach DeWeese uses to teach his players when to make the call at the line of scrimmage.
- How Coach DeWeese trains the feet and eyes of the trap corner to react off the movement of the number two receiver.
- What he does against problem routes in the RPO game such as double hitch routes by both receivers.
- How he trains the safety to react against inside, outside and vertical routes by the number two receiver in 2x2 open formations.
- How he coaches the cut player (or invert linebacker) that is responsible for playing the underneath zone based off the release of the number two receiver.
- How Trap coverage is implemented against 3x1 formations.
- Plus, narrated and raw game film of this concept.
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This Trap check is an effective check that can help your defense if you do not already have a version in your system. As offensive teams continue to implement RPO schemes into their offensive game plans and read defenders at each level of the defense, I think that Trap can help to alleviate some of the threat caused by many 2-Back and 2x2 RPOs. Hopefully this article has given you some ideas as to how you can incorporate this into your defense.
Meet Coach DeWeese: Pete DeWeese currently serves as the Defensive Coordinator / Linebacker Coach at Milton High School in Alpharetta, GA. Milton, which plays in the highest classification in Georgia, has made the playoffs 5 of the last 6 years. Coach DeWeese has coached multiple positions on both sides of the ball and is always willing to talk scheme if you are interested in reaching out.