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Playbook: Spurrier's vertical concept vs. Cover 4

Using video to break down Connor Shaw's TD pass vs. Clemson. Matt Bowen

Print This June 18, 2012, 04:45 PM EST

Click here to read the entire Inside the Playbook series.

This offseason I have broken down some Xs and Os of the college game: Michigan QB Denard Robinson vs. Notre Dame and Ohio State QB Braxton Miller vs. Wisconsin. Today, I want to check out South Carolina and Steve Spurrier’s playbook. An opportunity to breakdown the vertical passing game from my former head coach with the Redskins.

Take a look at the replay and then we will get into some coaching points of Connor Shaw’s TD vs. Clemson on the deep 8 (post) route vs. Cover 4.

Clemson vs. South Carolina
Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)
Formation: “Unit” Gun Strong
Route: 8/Hi-Lo
Defensive Scheme: Cover 4

Route scheme: High to Low read for Shaw in a 3rd and 6 situation. With a 2x2 alignment (and Ace personnel on the field), the Gamecocks can work both TEs on the “Hi-Lo Crossers” concept and push the 8 route up the field with WR Bruce Ellington to the closed (strong) side of the formation.

Post vs. Cover 4: I’m curious what the SS from Clemson is looking at here. Once that TE runs the underneath crosser, his eyes immediately have to go to No.1. Base Cover 4 rule for the SS: no vertical threat from the No.2 receiver (TE), look to No.1 (Ellington). Read through the stem of the receiver, drive on the curl (or dig) and play underneath the post.

Outside leverage: Just as I talked about on Sunday when breaking down the “Pin” route vs. Cover 4, the CB is in a tough spot here—because of his leverage. Once Ellington pushes his release vertically up the field, CBs in Cover 4 will play with an outside shade (think man-free technique) and drive to the upfield shoulder. No question the Clemson CB is beat in this situation, but where is his inside help?

SS angle: If you want to coach up a SS in Cover 4 vs. the post route, drill the angle he takes to the receiver. You want to see the safety working an angle that allows him to play to the inside hip of that receiver down the field. A flat angle isn’t going to get it done and will automatically put the SS in a trail position where he can’t make a play on the ball.

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