clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Film Room: Defense 2020 Part Six—Cover 1 Blitzes

Ryan Walters is back, and he’s bringing his Cover 1 blitzes with him.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Film Room. In the final two installments of our series on Ryan Walters’ defense we will focus on blitzes. As we have seen, Cover 1 is Walters’ preferred coverage. As Cover 1 requires a maximum of six defenders in coverage, it is frequently used to support blitzes. Today we look at several examples of Walters’ Cover 1 blitzes.

Cover 1

First, a quick review of Cover 1, which is a man-to-man coverage with a single deep safety over the top.

That was quick indeed.

Now on to our plays.

Mike A Gap Cover 1

Six men on the line of scrimmage, including the Mike linebacker and free safety.

Walters sends five rushers.

Mike linebacker Cale Garrett (#47) defeats the running back’s block and gets home.

The Garrett v. RB matchup is a good one for the Tigers. I think there is a tactic at work here that made certain the back would be the protector. We looked at this in our Film Room session after the West Virginia game, but it’s worth mentioning again.

There are stand-up defenders in both A gaps, Garrett and free safety Tyree Gillespie (#9). One will blitz, and one will cover the back. It is not certain which will do which, however, until the ball is snapped. The movement of the center is the key.

If the center were to step toward Garrett, Gillespie would rush and Garrett would drop for the back.

If the center steps toward Gillespie, which he does, Garrett blitzes.

As loyal reader DrWelcome commented on the West Virginia piece, the Mountaineers would have been wise to send the center to Garrett, taking their chances with the back on a safety.

They do not, however, which pays off handsomely for the Tigers.

Double A Blitz Cover 1

Walters sends six rushers in front of Cover 1 coverage. This means a release by the back will have to be accounted for by a rusher.

The back does indeed release on a Swing route. End Tre Williams (#93) peels off to cover him.

The Mountaineer quarterback gets the pass off, but absorbs a big hit from blitzing Will linebacker Nick Bolton (#32).

Strong safety/Will linebacker blitz Cover 1

Once again, a six-man Cover 1 blitz. A rusher needs to peel with a back’s release.

Missouri makes an adjustment to stacked receivers, stacking their DBs to avoid rubs.

The running back releases and strong safety Ronnell Perkins (#3) aborts his rush to cover him.

Cornerback Blitz

One of Walters’ favorite Cover 1 blitzes is a cornerback blitz. CB blitzes are often zone blitzes. Here’s a common version, backed by a three-deep and three-under zone.

As we’ve noted, however, Walters prefers man coverage. His corner blitzes are supported exclusively by man coverages, usually Cover 1.

Here are some examples of corner blitzes supported by Cover 1.

CB Blitz Example One

Since this is a five-man Cover 1 rush, there is no need for a rusher to peel with a releasing back. In fact, the opposite happens. Two backs stay in to protect, so the defenders responsible for them—Mike LB Devin Nicholson (#58) and Will linebacker Bolton—add themselves to the blitz.

This is now a seven-man blitz. Even though Georgia has seven blockers in protection, Bolton is unblocked and slips through for the sack with a bit of help from the blitzing corner, Jarvis Ware (#8).

CB Blitz Example Two

On this play the blitzing corner is Christian Holmes (#21). Florida is unfortunate to run a reverse directly into the blitz.

CB Blitz Example Three

Ware is again the corner blitzer. It appears that right defensive end Jatorian Hansford (#28) uses a box technique when he should have wrong-armed. If he had played it properly, the ball would have been spilled directly out to Ware. Nevertheless, Ware gets in on the tackle for a short gain.


Cover 1 blitzes are great, but the truly massive blitzes are supported by Cover 0. Next time in Film Room we will conclude the series with a look at Ryan Walters’ Cover 0 blitz package.