Nick Saban "Pattern-Matching" Coverage Explained

John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

While Coach Saban is hailed as a defensive mastermind, there is no secret to what he teaches. Here's a breakdown of the techniques that get the best out of both zone and man coverages.

If you want to understand football, you need to understand math. Not that high-falutin' Bayesian analysis, advanced stats (which are useful and fun,) and nerd logic aren't helpful. They just aren't going to win you games. The real arithmetic of football involves counting to 11, and making sure that you get as much advantage as possible in the Hat-on-Hat area at the point of attack.

I'm not going to pretend to be a genius at this -- I know what I am looking at, but not necessarily well-enough to explain it. (You can watch a ballet and appreciate it, without knowing how to choreograph one.)

So I highly recommend you take a few moments to check out these posts by Rufio over at the Cleveland Browns site, Dawgs by Nature. He's been a Browns fan since before the time our fearless leader walked their sidelines as an assistant, and not only has a great breakdown of the coverage, but the historical perspective of how it came to be. (Pittsburgh Steelers, with a dynamic offense? Next thing you'll tell me that the SEC has explosive attacks as well!)

The dilemma of a defense is how to close gaps. We know how devastating a play-action game can be, because healthy runs force a defense to cheat up a safety -- and not only does that stretch the defense vertically, it also opens up "seams" in the slots. How do you minimize the seams? Great personnel, with even greater teamwork.

So go check these out:

Don't let the terminology in the titles scare you off. They are a good read, and you will come away a more knowledgeable Gump.

And if you see Rufio, tell him Muncie sent you.

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