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By Klint King, Defensive Coordinator, Richland High School (TX)

Although Trap coverage is a solid answer for bubble or stick route RPOs in 3x1 formations. Shortening space for the outside linebacker allows him to be a better run support defender. But at Richland High School (TX) defensive coordinator Klint King is still able to apply Trap rules to defend four vertical routes. The Rebels are a split field coverage outfit that used Trap coverage to give up only four completions on 30 RPO attempts last fall. Read the report. Read the report...


By Klint King
Defensive Coordinator
Richland High School (TX)
Twitter: @klintking



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Our “trap” trips coverage is just one call we use to help defend an offenses RPO concept. This call allows our conflict defender to be in a better position to defend the run and pass. Shortening the space and number of receivers our outside linebacker is responsible for allows him to be a better run support defender. Trap is best when expecting a bubble/stick or stop route concept. However the rules we have in place make it is still safe to run if the offense runs a 4 vertical concept. We are a split field coverage team against any two by two set, but normally we flip to a full field coverage against any 3x1 sets. Our base alignment as a 4-2/4-3 defense to a 3x1 set is shown below (Diagram 1).


Our base alignment is an over front to the trips. The alignment of our run/pass conflict player ($) is 4 yards on the outside shoulder of the number 3 receiver. This alignment is to try and put doubt in the quarterback’s mind. We want the QB to be unsure of whether the number three receiver will be open or not. We base out of a cover two concept to the three receivers. This means the $ could be responsible for any of the three receivers in pass responsibilities. Our trap alignment is show below (diagram 2).


As you see in the diagram above, we will work out of our base alignment immediately before the snap to shorten the formation.

Alignment Rules


Above you see where the base alignments should be as the ball is snapped. We want the corner and free safety to hold their movements as long as possible. The longer we can disguise the movement of our secondary, the better off we will be.

Strong Safety: The $ moves his alignment from outside the number 3 receiver to the inside shoulder.

Corner­: The corner moves, according to the snap count, to trap the outside hip of the #2 receiver.

Free Safety: The free safety moves his alignment from 10x2 inside the #2 receiver, to 8x1 inside the #1 receiver.

Weak Safety: The weak safety base alignment is 10x2 outside the end man on the line of scrimmage.

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  • How moving the Strong Safety’s alignment allows him to be both a QB player on zone read and an underneath defender on the stick route RPO.
  • How he trains the Weak Safety to be the force defender to the weak side and still help with any vertical by number three.
  • The DL adjustment Coach King will make to allow the Mike linebacker to be closer to his drop while protecting the weak side run game.
  • The post-snap movement Coach King will use to allow the Mike linebacker to play the QB in zone read schemes.
  • Plus narrated and raw game film of this concept.

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The installation of this coverage into our playbook has been an extreme advantage. The use of this coverage along with the other adjustments we utilize to defend RPOs is a threat that has often kept the offense from attempting RPOs against us. There are many adjustments and tweaks to alignment that you can utilize to match the ability and skill level.

Meet Coach King: Coach King has been coaching in Texas for 11 years with 7 years of experience as a coordinator. The last 2 years with Coach King as coordinator for Richland High School, the team has gone 21-5 and led the district both years in total yards given up per-game. During the last 2 years, the defense has set school records for yards per rush (2016), turnovers (2017), sacks (2016-2017), and defensive touchdowns (6-2016, 12-2017).



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