Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Been real busy, I am publishing this incomplete I will add that information into part III.

In Part I, I discussed the 2 main types of brackets: Under/Over and In/Out. I finished up that discussion with a breakdown of the Nick Saban's Cone coverage. In this section I will get into two different ways of bracketing the slot receiver and discuss the run/pass technique of the people involved in bracket coverage.
I previously stated the main benefits to bracket coverage

1. Ability to coverage a good WR

2. Ability to leverage underneath and vertical routes

3. Involve simple and solid run support rules.

#3 might be one the most important concepts when it comes to bracketing. When it comes to man coverage of WR's, it takes 5 men to cover the 5 eligible men at a minimum. This leaves 6 men dedicated to playing the run. When you bracket, 6 men are put into coverage, leaving only 5 to play the run. The offensive concept that has become standard (for 10 personnel spread teams) is to run the ball versus 5 in the box. So if you are going to play the run effectively in bracket coverage, then you are going to need solid and simple rules for getting another player involved in run plays.

The great part about bracket coverage is that it is easy to do that. The starting point is to keep players out of run/pass conflicts. What is the usual indicator of a run in the shotgun? It is the mesh of the QB and running back. It is this action that can put players in conflict. Is it a run or play pass? If a player can't tell, then he is gonna be stuck in concrete not doing anything productive on the field. When it comes to run/pass issues, you need to have clear rules to keep players out of conflicts. Here are some examples and rules for eliminating this dilemma.


Just like "Cone" DUECE puts the #2 Slot WR in an in/out bracket. The techniques for playing inside and outside breaks are identical to CONE. The major difference between the two coverages is the involvement of run/pass responsibilities.

The "IN" players is the person responsible for run overlap. If the ball meshes with the QB and back, this player must play run first. The FS in this coverage would be the person responsible for the play action pass to the slot WR. The Nickle player would come off later once he has cleared the run. Versus a typical bubble screen off play action, the assignments would look like this.

This is not ideal for this coverage, but these rules need to be in place to eliminate the Nickle back from being in a run/pass conflict. Versus a simple run:

Another problem route with this coverage is the Play-Action pass to the slot on a slant. It is an easy pass to complete given that the fake gets the nickle player out of the way. However, this is not a major concern. By alignment the offense will be wary of attacking the D with a slant by the #2 WR. Also, with proper stemming this look can appear to be a 1/2's, man under, quarters, or even an outside bracket look.


Bracket is an in/out slot bracket like DUECE, the major difference is that the nickle and FS switch responsibilities. These alignments are similar to robber coverage, and basic pre-stem middle field zone coverage (cover 3).

Versus a basic run the overlap and play-pass assignments look like this.

Mixing the looks is key. This game of mixing up the overlap players will cause problems for the whole offense. The linemen will have problems figuring out which player will be overlapping into the run-fit, and the QB will be confused as to what coverage the defense is in.


  1. I thought the everything behind brackets were more complicated but it looks like i was wrong. It is something that it can change a lot of things for cost per head

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  3. Wow very interesting stuff it's not that complected like I thought. The trick is figuring out who's doing what and attack it that defensive person..