Playbook: Alabama's 'pick-six' vs. Robinson

National Football Post

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Let’s go back to last night’s Michigan-Alabama game and take a look at C.J. Mosley’s ‘pick-six’ vs. Denard Robinson. A good opportunity to talk coverage, route scheme and decision making from the QB position vs. Cover 3 (3-deep, 4-under).  Take a look at the video replay and then we will get into some coaching points.

Offensive Personnel: Jet (4 WR-1RB)
Route: Slant
Defensive Scheme: Nickel Cover 3

- Check out the split of the “X” receiver (bottom of the numbers) to the open (weak) side of the formation. With the ball on the near hash (into the boundary), this is an alert for an inside breaking concept.

- Michigan uses pre-snap “divide” motion to create a “triple stack” alignment to the closed (strong) side of the formation. That leaves the X receiver on the backside of a 3x1 alignment (alert for the slant at both the pro and college level).

- Bama has four underneath zone droppers. Both LBs will play the “seam hook” (or “middle hook”) with the SS and Nickel playing a “curl-flat” technique to the closed and open side of the formation.

- With Michigan using 6-Man protection (RB will chip on open side DE), there is no threat to the flat to widen the underneath defenders (think Slant-Flat, Curl-Flat route combinations). This allows both the Nickel CB and Mosley (open side LB) to get to their landmark depth, square their feet and read the QB.

- The open side CB plays with a “bail” technique (outside leverage, back to the sideline) and will drive the slant route. Just as he coached up to do playing the outside 1/3 in Cover 3.

- Robinson forces this ball. That’s how I see it. Working vs. Cover 3 (or Cover 2, Cover 4, etc.), the QB has to account for underneath defenders on any inside breaking concept (slant, dig, option). And when you are running a backside slant (with no combination in the flat), the open side LB can read the QB and drive on the throw. Too easy for Nick Saban's defense.

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