To teach players the concepts of executing a Cover 3 defense in a game-like situation.


3 receivers will spread out on the LOS – one wide left, one on the left hash, and one on the right hash. 2 corners will align themselves with the receivers, 2 yards inside and 6 yards off the LOS, and the safety will line up in the middle of the field approximately 8-10 yards off the LOS.


  1. The coach will snap the ball and the receivers will all release, running streak routes downfield.
  2. The DB’s will keep their butts to the sideline and their eyes on the QB as they drop downfield with the receivers.
  3. The coach will pick a target and rotate their shoulders and eyes to that receiver as they begin the throwing motion, indicating to the DB’s where the pass is about to be thrown.
  4. The DB’s will break on the ball and make a play, either going for the interception or swatting the ball down to the ground.

Coaching Tips:
Instill in the minds of the players that they don’t have a man in this coverage – if the ball is thrown up the seam, we should have a natural double team happen as both the corner and safety converge on the ball as it is thrown to the receiver.

Tips for Younger Athletes:

  • Emphasize the importance of maintaining a low center of gravity during backpedals to improve balance and reaction time. Teaching them to bend their knees will make it easier to change direction quickly.
  • Practice reading the quarterback’s eyes and shoulders. Younger players can benefit from drills that focus on reacting to visual cues, helping them anticipate the throw.
  • Introduce the concept of zone coverage by breaking it down into simple zones. Use cones to visually represent each player’s responsibility area, making it easier for them to understand where they need to be on the field.

Tips for Older Athletes:

  • Focus on refining their backpedal technique. Encourage them to keep their steps short and quick for faster reaction times when breaking on the ball.
  • Implement drills that simulate game-like scenarios, requiring the defensive backs to communicate and pass off receivers between zones. This enhances their understanding of how to work together in a Cover 3 defense.
  • Stress the importance of watching film to recognize tendencies of quarterbacks and receivers. Understanding these patterns can give them an edge in anticipating where the ball will be thrown.