10.19.2009 / Posting by Zach Bowman, former NU Player 2005-2007
Great win by the Huskers this weekend in Columbia. What a dominant performance by the Nebraska defense. It was great to see! This week the Huskers have another tough one as they take on Texas Tech. Tech loves passing the ball so I thought I would share some basics about defending the pass.
"Texas Tech is a very unique team. They're one of the few teams in college football that rarely takes a snap from under center, they do the majority of their plays from the shotgun formation."
As a cornerback, one of the most important steps to defending against the pass is to know what coverage you are in. The basic coverage’s are Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3, and Cover 4. In each of these coverage’s, the cornerback has different responsibilities. In Cover 1, the corner is responsible for the receiver in front of you. The best way to defend the pass going to him is to stay over the top of him and to keep your vision on your man. In Cover 2, the corner's responsibility is the flats. The "flat" area is anywhere from 5-12 yards from the line of scrimmage on your half of the field. Vision of the quarterback is important here so you can get a feel for where he's going to throw the ball. Cover 3 is more of a zone concept. The field is broken up into thirds. Both corners and a safety are each responsible for one of those thirds. The best way to defend against a pass in Cover 3 is to again, stay over the top, and to have good vision on the quarterback so you can see where he's throwing the ball to. In Cover 4, both corners and both safeties have a quarter of the field that they have to defend. Like the others, you want to stay over the top and keep good vision here so you can make a break on the ball if it comes your way.
There are a few main techniques that we cornerbacks use. The main ones are press technique, jam technique, and bail. Press technique is used when a corner has a receiver man-to-man and wants to use his hands to slow the receiver down and to throw off the timing between the receiver and the quarterback. In press, you have your receiver man-to-man wherever he goes. Jam technique is used in Cover 2. The defensive back lines up 5 yards from the line of scrimmage and jams the receiver, or pushes the receiver to the inside ("re-route" in cornerback terms) once the ball is snapped. The idea is to push the receiver to the inside of the field where you have help from the linebackers and safeties. Finally, bail technique is used mainly on third downs. The cornerback will show "press" and then once the ball is snapped, he will bail out, baiting the quarterback to throw a deep ball.
Texas Tech is a very unique team. They're one of the few teams in college football that rarely takes a snap from under center, they do the majority of their plays from a shotgun formation. They run a lot of 3, 4, and 5 receiver sets and like to go deep but also love to run crossing patterns, and quick routes such as slants and out routes. In order to beat a team like Texas Tech, you have to mix up your defense by blitzing and playing zone. By blitzing the quarterback, you have an opportunity to sack him and put pressure on him to force him to have a bad throw. It gives you an opportunity to capitalize on their mistakes such as a fumble or an interception. Playing zone will give your back 7 (defensive backs and linebackers) an opportunity to pass off or help one another cover the receivers. It also helps the secondary react quicker to be able to break on the ball when they have good vision on the quarterback.
Things with the Chicago Bears are going well. We are 3-1 and are headed to Atlanta this week to play a Sunday night game. It will be a big game for us and it's an opportunity for us to show everyone that we are a good team.
Zack Bowman – Chicago Bears