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Let’s take a step back from the NFL game and talk some college football today. Notre Dame-Michigan from the 2011 season. Check out the replay below of Denard Robinson’s TD pass to beat the Irish and then we will break down what happened on the field.
Notre Dame vs. Michigan
Personnel: Regular (2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB)
Route concept: Hi-Lo Opposite/ “Sluggo”
Defensive scheme: Cover 4 (quarters)
Hi-Lo: Where do we see the Hi-Lo package in the NFL? Think west coast systems such as Andy Reid’s playbook in Philly. Michigan uses RB motion to the closed (strong) side of the formation to create a 2×2 alignment and works Hi-Lo “Opposite” inside of the numbers. The TE (Y) on the shallow crosser with the No.2 WR (H) to the open (weak) side of the formation running the deep dig (square-in). A two-level read for the QB if he wants to target receivers in the middle of the field.
“Sluggo” concept: The “sluggo” (or slant and go) is a double-move that shows up often inside of the 20-yard line. The X receiver for the Wolverines will take a vertical stem, break to the inside (on the slant) and then work up the field. A multiple breaking route that is designed to create leverage for the WR.
Cover 4: In “quarters” coverage, both CBs will play with off-man technique. With the FS driving on the dig route to the open side (responsible for No. 2 vertical past a depth of 12-yards in Cover 4), this puts the CB in a one-on-one matchup vs. the “sluggo”. And given the game situation, Robinson can put the ball up and allow his WR to go make a play.
CB Technique: Go back to the replay and focus on the Notre Dame CB at the point of attack. He must stay “in-phase” (on the inside hip) of the WR after the double-move (“sluggo”). This is an underthrown ball (similar to the back-shoulder fade at the NFL level) and you have to put yourself in a position to “play the pocket” (go up through the hands of the WR). Instead of looking back for the ball (poor technique that causes immediate separation), focus on that inside hip and allow the WR to take you to the play.
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