Playbook: Alabama's game winner vs. Georgia

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Let’s focus on the college game this afternoon and go back to the SEC Championship to break down Amari Cooper’s TD catch vs. Georgia. Check out the replay and then we will get into some coaching points.

Alabama vs. Georgia
Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)
Formation: Unit Spread Slot Exchange
Route: Sluggo
Defensive Scheme: Cover 1

Play pass/Field Position: No different than what we see on Sundays in the NFL. As a defensive back, you have to alert for a vertical shot on early down and distance situations when the ball is between the 40s. Here, QB A.J. McCarron will use closed (strong) side run action and target Cooper on the “Sluggo” (slant and go).

Free safety help: Before we get to the technique vs. the quick double-move, let’s talk about the FS position. In Cover 1, the FS has to play with enough depth to create an angle to get outside of the numbers vs. the 9 (fade) route. However, with ‘Bama sending No.2 (slot WR) to the open (weak) side of the formation on the deep slant/skinny post, the FS hesitates in the middle of the field, opens his hips and leans to the inside breaking route. That’s poor technique and it leaves the CB in a true one-on-one situation vs. Cooper with no help over the top.

Technique vs. the Sluggo: Focus on Georgia CB Damian Swann. The sophomore is using what I call a “taxi” technique at the snap from a press-position. Swann will mirror the release and slide his feet vs. Cooper’s initial stem. However, the CB gets in trouble when overplays the quick double-move and now has to transition vs. speed down the field. And when Swann looks back for the ball in a trail position that allows Cooper to gain even more separation outside of the numbers to go finish this play. When you are beat, don't look back for the ball. Instead, drive to the hip of the WR.

Remember, it doesn’t matter if we are breaking down high school, college or pro ball when looking at the secondary. Technique wins. Smart play call from Alabama to take a shot and target speed down the field given the game situation in Atlanta.

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