Cover 2 Read to stop the run, pass and RPO

By Adam Harvey

At Cibolo (Texas) Steele High School, we base out of a press-two coverage. Our checks are sky and cloud to go Cover 3, and we will play Cover 4 and Cover 1. Our Cover 2 Read takes away the things that usually attack Cover 2 like smash, fade-flat and slant because of the rules and techniques that the corner is taught to play.

Why Cover 2?

The first thing we like about our Cover 2 Read is it allows us to align versus different formations and continue to stop the run. We want to be sound on the back end, especially against offenses like the Air Raid, but we also have to stop the run and have answers for the immensely popular RPO offenses.

We like that the coverage eliminates the big play by disrupting the routes early. The way we play our press allows no easy release off the line of scrimmage for the wide receiver. We have found that at the high school level it’s difficult to get off of a really good press technique by the corner.

Finally, we like that it takes away the quick passing game. Spread passing teams want to hit you quick especially versus off quarters, which allows them to dink and dunk down the field. By having someone in the flat immediately, the quarterback will have trouble hitting a high percentage of his quick throws.

Teaching the Corners

We base everything we teach the cornerback on the 3 A’s:

  • Alignment
  • Assignment
  • Aggression

We challenge our players to play as fast as possible and with aggression. We want to be physical and get to the ball in a hurry. All our teaching and skill development drills are built around the principles of the 3 A’s.

The corners are force flats and allow us to take a lot of things away with our two read palms concept. We teach the corner to align as close as possible with head-up alignment. We want to have active eyes with the ability to look inside and let the QB give signal and then get his eyes back to the man.

We want to re-route with physicality, and we drill this constantly. It takes patience with allowing the receiver to get to the CB as well as skill to develop this technique. The biggest tool we have to teach them this principle is what we call the “two-yard rule.” We utilize the two-yard rule on the release of the receiver. He will break inside with the outside receiver and sink underneath any smash or outside route like the wheel on a slant route. He can be physical, re-route and rub the receiver for two yards before letting him go and playing his responsibility.