Cover Zero Pressures from “6-Up” and “7-Up” Presentations

Mar 12, 2024 | The LAB, Three High Coverage Structures, Defense, Coverage, Pressure, Man Pressure Concepts

By Mike Kuchar with Rich Yahner
Defensive Coordinator
Virginia Military Institute
Twitter: @RichYahner



VMI Personnel:

In its base structure, VMI operates out of Odd Stack, or 3-3-5 spacing from a three-high align, and will use the following personnel:

Nose- zero technique

End- Field defensive end

Tackle- Boundary defensive end

Sam- Strong side linebacker

Mike- Middle linebacker

Will- Weak side linebacker

Rover- Field Safety

Bandit- Boundary Safety

Free Safety- Middle Safety

Field Corner

Boundary Corner


The “6-Up” and “7-Up” presentations are an off-shoot of VMI’s base personnel. But to the offense, it can look incredibly overwhelming. The entire purpose of this pressure system is to confuse the quarterback who will routinely see up to seven defenders at the line of scrimmage. On the back end, it’s a pure cover zero principle with defenders’ eyes split between the quarterback and their receiver. It’s simple but it works. “We won’t want to put too much pressure on the defense,” said Coach Yahner. “We want to get vision on the ball.”

The entire premise of the system is to pressure with more defenders than blockers. VMI is an Odd Stack outfit, so the front six defenders are typically the “six-up” in this package. The pressure defenders are typically the three down linemen and the three linebackers. “We will typically not bring a third-level defender unless we want to surge the defense,” said Coach Yahner. “When you can blitz more than they can protect it will work out.”


Base Zero Coverage Rules:

Day one install rules tell the corners to play number one man-to-man, while the safeties play number two. If there is no number two to their side, the safeties rule is to find number three away. So, the presentation will look different based on the potential blockers at the line of scrimmage.

  • If there are five potential blockers, six defenders will be presented at the line of scrimmage
  • If there are six potential blockers, seven defenders will be presented at the line of scrimmage.


Consider how the presentation plays out based on the following formation structures:


3X2 Empty Formation:


2x2 Open Formations:


2x2 Closed Formations:


3X1 Open Formations


3x1 Closed Formations