Alternating Middle Safety Inverts in 3-High Spacing

Jun 26, 2023 | Three High Coverage Structures, Defense, Coverage

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Researcher/Co-Founder
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar



The versatility of the middle safety in three-high looks allows coaches to teach various insertion points in both zone and pressure coverages. The skill set and acumen of a safety (rather than a linebacker) allows him to rotate into several insertion points from snap to snap, including weak and strong hook, weak and strong flat, strong and weak half, low hole and high hole technique. And now coaches are building their sims around the three-high safety world so that underneath defenders can come from depth. We present the various ways in which coaches are changing the insertion points for that middle safety.


Middle Runner Insertion Point:

Source: Manny Rojas, Defensive Coordinator, University of Delaware


Best Practices: 2×2 Open Sets

Use Rover as Middle Runner – The corners play thirds with the Rover, while the Bandit and Will play the numbers (flat). In the image below, the Will is playing the numbers technique because of the three-surface formation. According to Coach Rojas, these insert variation is best against 2×2 open sets so that both safeties are in a position to play the hook/curl drop from top down alignments.


Best Practice: Immediate Run Support to Both Sides

Answer: Rover as Middle Runner- Along the same lines, the Kat and Field Safety can play numbers (flat) while the Rover plays deep third. The Bandit and Will now can play the Hash (curl). According to Coach Rojas, this adjustment provides better run support to the field.