Where to Drop It In When They Drop Eight?

By dropping eight or nine defenders in coverage on most downs, defenses like the one John Beck and company saw against San Diego State proved to be very effective in stifling the Anae offensive attack. The challenge now is to play effectively against this sort of defensive scheme, which teams are likely to use until Beck and the rest of the offense proves effective against it.

Said Quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman about teams dropping eight to nine guys into coverage: "It's tough. I mean, with that many defenders in coverage it's difficult to read what coverage they're in. The coverage they're running isn't immediately apparent and they can do a lot of things with that many guys in coverage."

Teams usually rush four to six players on most passing downs in contrast to the three or even two brought by SDSU while dropping the rest into coverage. With Boston College dropping seven into coverage on most downs, BYU's passing faired pretty well. Against TCU, which brought a consistent rush with most defenders dropping in man-coverage, Beck went off. Against SDSU the passing game was very ineffective against eight to nine defenders dropped into the passing lanes.

The big key according to Doman is not allowing teams to do this consistently in coverage by dictating the opposing defense's options by being productive on first down. "Making yards on first down with the offense we play is very important," explained Doman. "Last week we weren't making yards on first down and that was the biggest problem we had. When you're not making more than 3 yards on first down, then the defense dictates what happens on second and third down and allows them to drop men back into coverage when they wouldn't otherwise."

Finding holes

"Every coverage has holes in it that you just have to find," said Doman. "When they drop eight or nine guys it makes it that much more difficult to find those holes. You find that you have to look farther down the field in most instances to find if it's a two-deep or a three-deep zone and that makes it difficult."

With teams throwing more players into coverage when BYU is faced with 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations, Beck is finding the same things Doman described. "You just have to read it and find where you need to go," Beck said. "There's someone open on just about every play and I just have to find out who that open guy is quicker and recognize the coverage faster."

Every coverage scheme gives up something sooner or later in their scheme. "When it's a two-deep like it was against San Diego State, most of the game we have to find a way to get Jonny Harline the ball in the middle of the field as that is usually open with that scheme," explained Doman. "If they're going three deep then you look to the seams. The difficult thing there is that they have 5 guys in underneath coverage and you have to find a way to get it over them in the seams or in the middle of the field. There has to be a search route in the second or third layers of coverage and that is what John is working on this week."

"There's always going to be someone open with this scheme and I'm just learning the best and fastest way to find that guy," said Beck, "Coach Doman is doing an awesome job helping me recognize it faster. He's been there before and he's seen it all, so that's a huge help. I know where to go with most coverages, it's just getting it there faster and making the read faster that I'm working on this week."


"Patience is huge," emphasized Doman. "It's very important when they're only rushing two or three guys. The offensive line should be able to give us all the time in the world when that happens."

This is something that the offensive line is well-aware of. "When they rush two and three guys at us we can't just relax and give the normal amount of time John (Beck) has when they rush five or six guys," said offensive lineman Jake Kuresa. "We need to just destroy whatever rush they give us. When they rush only that many guys, then John is going to probably have to have more time to read what they're doing, so it's our job to de-cleat them and let John know that he has all the time in the world back there."

"Somebody is going to get open eventually," said Doman. "It doesn't matter if you have eight or nine guys in coverage, someone is going to get open. Just being patient and confident in the pocket in what you're reading and who you're going to will help us make yards against teams that drop that many guys in coverage."

"My goal this next game and for all of us (offensive linemen), is to make John as comfortable as possible in the pocket, so he can stay there until someone gets open," said Kuresa. "ake sure thaHe needs to feel like he could read a book back there and that's on us. He needs to know that he has time when defenses do that."

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