Sunday, January 23, 2011


This is part III of the series on Bracket Coverage. You can read Part I and Part II to get caught up to speed.

Combination brackets are match style brackets. At times the coverages can appear like quarters coverage after the pattern distribution. The difference between combo brackets and match-up zone, is the more aggressive man nature of combo-brackets.

I use the term combo brackets for these coverage because they usually involve bracket concepts combined with a man read concept. Before I get to confusing about the whole process, lets jump in a look at 3 different combination brackets.


I have already discussed this coverage previously, but it is the first and easiest combo bracket to understand.

This coverage involves "cone"and "bracket"technique put together. The SS is playing out and up on #2 and the corner is playing out and up of #1. The FS is in the read technique. He is looking to cut and match the 1st inside cut of speed. The Bracket concept becomes clear when the 1st inside cut of speed occurs. If the slot is the first cut, the coverage works like "bracket" if the #1 WR is the first cut it plays like cone.

The key to a coverage like this is to know what it is great against. This coverage is designed to stop routes that involved people breaking to the outside. Specifically it can cover double out routes with no problem. Typical sprint out concepts have trouble versus this coverage. For Example:


Mix coverage combines the two main bracket types, in/out and under/over.

This is confusing for the quarterback and offers bracket coverage on both #2 and #1. This coverage is trying to get double coverage on 2 receivers using only 3 defenders. This might sound like a paradox but it really isn't. The underneath routes of #1 are handled by the SS exclusively hence the trail technique. The under routes of #2 will be handled by either the corner of FS. If both #1 and #2 are vertical the FS will be pushing #2 towards him while the SS will force a high throw to the #1 WR. In both cases the QB's throwing window will be an air ball towards a deep corner who will be in position to make a play on either WR.

If #2 breaks in you will have under/over coverage on #1 with the corner and SS:

If #2 breaks out, the FS will play #1 over while the SS plays under.

If the #1 WR breaks off his route the SS will take him, and you will have the FS and corner playing #2 in and out.

You can see this coverage is strong versus underneath routes. The major benefit to this coverage is that it can be disguised easily.


Squeeze might be my favorite combo-bracket of all.

I don't want to get redundant, but if you understand the principals behind the other coverage I have discussed in this article, then this should make sense. This is simply a combo bracket that closely resembles a pattern read cover 2. The corner is M/M out and up of #1 unless #2 works out. Essentially "Cone" with a read on #2. The SS is the inverse of the corner. Essentially playing deuce with a read on #1. The FS is looking to double the first up field route or split the difference between double verticals.

This bracket squeezes both WR's and allows most vertical and interminably routes to be played effectively. The problem routes are those that involve both WR's working in or out.

I am sorry these posts are coming out later than expected. Off-season, power-lifting, and standardized testing are in the full swing of things. I am looking to do more work on split safety zone blitzes, playing the power running game from the 4-2-5, and scheming empty formations. Is there anything anyone in particular is interested in reading about? Leave a comment if you have a suggestion; I want to write about stuff that people are interested in most.


  1. love your stuff. funny is, I coach the Cover 2 exactly the way you desribed the cover squeeze.
    to be honest all three areas you mentioned are interesting, split safety blitz, empty and power run would be my priority.

  2. Thanks I just started working on a power running series.

    Squeeze is similar to cover 2, the only difference in the halves coverage I run, is that it has more of a zone element to it. I won't have my MLB chase the back on a flare, I like to let him switch with the LB/SS in the hook zone.

  3. Usually run cover 3 and man...never cover 2 or any pattern ready. I understand the concepts here, but isn't this a tough spot for the corner to be in? How do you get him so he doesn't get ran by if #1 runs vert and he's peeking too much at #2 to make sure he's not running an out?

  4. I'd like to see your adjustments to Trips, both an open trips and TE trips.

  5. I have been for the first two of the series and thanks. It has been a great for me and price per head services community.

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  7. Thanks for the post coach. We run the 4-2-5 with 2 extra outside backers. i see you show a true SS and FS. I ran the nickle against a spread team and shut down the verticle game but the outs killed us. Any advice would be appreciated.

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