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Playbook: Braxton Miller beats the Badgers

Using video to breakdown QB's throw to the end zone. Matt Bowen

Print This May 30, 2012, 06:00 PM EST

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

Click here for my breakdown of Denard Robinson’s pass to beat Notre Dame.

Today I want to take a look at some Big Ten football. Wisconsin vs. Ohio State from the 2011 season. Braxton Miller’s TD pass to Devin Smith to beat the Badgers in Columbus. Check out the video replay and then we will get into some coaching points of why the Badgers coverage scheme broke down and allowed Miller to target the deep post in the end zone.

Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
Personnel: “Houston” (3 WR, 2 RB)
Route: “Pin”
Defensive scheme: Cover 2

Route scheme: The Buckeyes use the “Pin” combination (Dig/Post) to the closed (strong) side of the formation with the FB releasing to the flat. To the open (weak) side, Ohio State runs the deep out cut with the X receiver.

Cover 2: Basic Cover 2: rush four, drop seven into coverage and force the ball to go underneath (FB in flat or RB on check down). With a three-point lead, coach up your CBs to sink (take some stress off your safeties), break on the throw and make the tackle. Looks good on the chalkboard and I like the call in this situation if you play the technique of the defense.

Deep half technique: With the closed side CB playing Cover 2 technique (jam No.1, re-route the release, sink), I have to wonder about the SS in the deep half. As a Cover 2 safety, the dig route (square-in) isn't your play to make with No.1 working the post route down the field. Play with enough depth, open your hips and stay over the top of any vertical. However, when you drive downhill on No.2 (Cover 4 technique), the deep half of the field is wide open. I'm curious if there was some confusion in the secondary here that led to the coverage bust.

Scramble drill: This is tough on any DB. When the QB breaks contain, find a WR and use a “plaster” technique. Coverage is going to break down, WRs will convert their routes (X receiver converts out cut into 9 route) and this will turn into a sandlot play. Find someone and matchup.

Extending the play: Even with the Badgers blowing the coverage on the deep post, this throw is on par with Robert Griffin’s pass to beat Oklahoma. Miller steps up, works laterally to the line of scrimmage (with his eyes down the field) and targets the post. And when you have an athlete at the QB position, extending the play leads to production. This is a big time throw.

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