By Erik Speakman
Opelika High School (AL)
In this report I am going to discuss two coverage concepts that we use against trips sets. In short, we like to use a “trap” coverage away from trips and “cloud” coverage to the trips side. We are starting to see more perimeter run game to our away side, which really puts stress on our away backer and our weak safety. By running trap to that side, we can get quick run support from our corner (usually the boundary corner). Cloud is a check we use if we are facing an offense that incorporates RPOs and runs to the trips side. We are constantly trying to find a way to get an unblocked defender to the ball and we feel both of these coverages help achieve this goal.
We are a split field coverage team, so we are always trying to give the opposing QB/OC different looks to our away side. Our away side is side with our weak safety, away backer and one of the corners and our call side involves our strong safety, free safety and the other corner. The WS and AB are always tied together and are usually aligned to the boundary unless the formation takes them to the field. The FS and SS are together and line up based on the passing strength.
Trap has become our way of running a version of an old school Cover 2. It also helps us with our “cowboy”(corner blitz) because they end up looking very similar. Trap also gives us an opposite coverage to our “sky” coverage with the WS rolling down. We teach the WS and Corner that trap and sky are essentially the same coverage with the two players exchanging responsibilities.
Cloud is a trips check that helps us when we are facing an offense that has a perimeter run game to the field/trips side and uses bubbles or stand screens off of a zone/power look (RPO). Cloud is going to involve the FS, SS and field corner unless the offense aligns trips to the boundary. If trips is aligned to the boundary, the BC will now have to play cloud.
The way these two coverages are tied together is the techniques and rules for our corners. We play with a boundary and a field corner, but we also cross train each corner so that they can play either side in case of injury or if they can’t get lined up in time. Corners for us must know how to play to the away side and the call side.
Coaching Points for Trap Coverage
Defensive rules for each position boil down to alignment, assignment and run to ball. We give each position the following three categories for what can happen on a play: run to you, run away from you, and pass.
Corner – Alignment will start with our base alignment of 1 x 5 outside. When the ball is snapped, he should be inside the #1 receiver far enough that he can’t be blocked by #1. The corner will now read the QB for run/pass.