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Defeating Press Coverage for Your Wide Receivers

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© August, 2011


by Desmond Lindsey
Wide Receivers Coach ē University of West Alabama

We emphasize to our wide receivers that they need to be technical professionals to defeat press coverage. We utilize a few drills that build on one another. These are drills that will help a WR  throughout the course of a game. The drills include:
1. Split.    
2. Split and slide.   
3. Speed release.    
4. Push/pull.

STANCE AGAINST PRESS COVERAGE - The WR must shorten the length of his stance and widen his base to shoulder-width apart. This position creates more stability and quicker footwork off the LOS. The front foot is the inside foot, and it can be naturally turned slightly - 11 oíclock if itís the right foot, and 1 oíclock if itís the left foot, but no more than that. The WR must have flexion in his arms with his hands always above the defenderís hands.

SPLIT - This release will be utilized when the defender is at the LOS in arm-distance reach of the WR and has a head-up technique. The WR has a pre-snap outside or inside release for the designated route. The WR will immediately take a half step back (allowing attack space). After coming to a split or a balance stance, the WR will swipe violently across the defenderís wrist (no higher than elbow, preferably the wrist), with his release side arm and punch and chop the arm forcing the DB off balance.

If the WR has an outside release and the defender strikes with his inside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the inside of the defenderís wrist while stepping upfield on his release and closing the cushion between the two (not allowing the defender to have leverage).The WR will then proceed to release upfield while becoming ďskinnyĒ as a smaller target. If the WR has an outside release and the defender strikes with his outside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the outside of the defenderís wrist while clearing the defender and leaning or stacking the defender (depending on the route). 

If the WR has an inside release and the defender strikes with his outside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the inside of the defenderís wrist while stepping upfield on his release and closing the cushion between the two (not allowing the defender to have leverage). Again, the WR will then proceed to release upfield while becoming ďskinnyĒ as a smaller target. If the WR has an inside release and the defender strikes with his inside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the outside of the defenderís wrist while clearing the defender and leaning or stacking the defender (again, depending on the route). 

SPLIT AND SLIDE - When facing a defender in press technique with a slight shade to the inside or to the outside of the WR, the preferred release will be split and slide. If the route is designed for an outside release and the defender is shaded inside, the release attacks the defenderís leverage. After coming to a split or a balance stance, the WR will take a quick slide to the inside (attacking leverage), swipe and punch the defenderís strike arm. If the defender strikes with his inside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the inside of the defenderís wrist while stepping upfield on his release and closing the cushion between the two (not allowing the defender to have leverage).
 

If the WR has an outside release and the defender strikes with his outside arm, the WR will swipe (slight grab) and punch the outside of the defenderís wrist while clearing the defender and leaning or stacking the defender (depending on the route). If the WR has an inside release and the defender is shaded to the outside of the WR, the WR will come to a balance stance and take a quick slide to the outside (attacking leverage).The WR must then swipe and punch the defenderís strike arm. If the defender strikes with his outside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the inside of the defenderís wrist while stepping upfield on his release and closing the cushion between the two (staying vertical).

If the WR has an inside release and the defender strikes with his inside arm, the WR will swipe and punch the outside of the defenderís wrist (slight grab) while clearing the defender and leaning or stacking the defender (also depending on the route).
 
SPEED RELEASE - The speed release will be used when the defender is in press technique but is not in arm-distance reach of the WR at the LOS. It is apparent that cushion is provided for the WRís release. The WR will take a rapid hop (forward and not up) upfield attacking the defenderís cushion and not opening up to the defender. In this release, swipe and punch will remain the coaching point in reference to clearing the defenderís hip. This is a quick release. Therefore, the WR should have a pre-snap inside or outside release in reference to running his route.

PUSH/PULL - The push/pull release will be utilized when the WR is facing a defender that has a habit of lunging at targets. The bigger and more physical WRs gain a huge advantage when applying this release. This release is an extension of the speed release in reference to taking a rapid hop in the direction of the defender. The WR must ďpunchĒ the defender in his breastplate having his arms positioned inside the defenderís arms. Allowing the defender to gain the inside position first gives him the advantage the vast majority of the time. Upon punching the breastplate of the defender, the WR must push forward with one hand while pulling with the opposite hand, turning the hips of the defender. If the WR has a preferred outside release, he should push with his outside arm and pull with his inside arm, knocking the defender off balance. He releases inside calls with the same technique. However, the WR must now push with his inside arm and pull with his outside arm. After knocking the defender off balance, the WR must step upfield closing the cushion between the two and violently rip his pull arm underneath the defenderís arm. This allows for separation. The WR now has cleared the way to continue his route upfield.


About the Author:  Desmond Lindsey begins his fourth season this fall at the University of West Alabama. He is the Assistant Head Coach, Wide Receivers Coach, and Recruiting Coordinator. Lindsey previously coached at the University of Arkansas at Monticello and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He received both his Bachelorís Degree and Masterís Degree from UWA.
 






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