By Saj Thakkar
Defensive Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
SUNY Maritime College (NY)
Here at SUNY Maritime we play an aggressive 3-4 slant/angle defense with a 2 high look from the secondary. We play a variety of different coverages but our favorite to pair with our 6 man pressures is over 3 over 2 “Hot” coverage. We like to bring our 6 man pressures against 10 personnel sets in order to force the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly.
Our hot coverage allows us to play aggressive with our blitz game and gives 5 coverage men who can aggressively jump routes based off the quarterback’s keys. 3 over 2 also allow us to bring 6 without the fear of losing a matchup in 0 coverage and getting hit with a big play. The coverage involves two “hot seam” players, usually one LB and one drop safety, with the corners playing what we call an aggressive 1/3 technique, and a deep middle safety.
Here are the keys that we teach regarding the QB Drop:
• Front Shoulder (Direction/Trajectory)
• Off Hand (Break Key)
Hot Seams (Ram/Lion)
As with any successful coverage, we must communicate effectively to be successful. When we call our 6 man pressure, it is our coverage linebacker’s job to make the initial hot seam call. He will call either ram or lion depending on which seam he is responsible for. The safety opposite him will follow the call with the opposite call alerting the defense that we will have two hot seam players.
We tell our drop safety to stay disguised as long as possible. Although this is an aggressive coverage, the worst thing that can happen is for him to get caught too low and are out of position to play the seam. We do not want him under 5 yards. Against a 2 receiver set, we aim to drop to the inside shoulder of the #2 receiver in order to be able to drive on the quick slant or under route.