Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Robber" Coverage- What is it?

This is my first entry as a featured blogger for Coach Nate Albaugh has lots of great stuff on his site and I'm glad to be associated with a site such as that dedicated to helping football coaches.

The term "robber" means different things to different coaches. Some coaches play a form of cover 2 robber, while "robber" to others is a man-free scheme designed to spy a QB that is a running threat. In this post, I'm going to focus on cover 2 robber. This defense was designed to stifle the 2-back power run game by getting nine defenders involved in stopping the run. Like all coverages, it has some vulnerability but when defending a 2-back, run heavy offense there is nothing better.

Other advantages of Robber:
1. Able to get FS to both sides of the ball.
2. Able to get control of #2 deep on any vertical routes.
3. Lets inside LB play run because #2 is always controlled vertically to TE side.
4. Able to use 5 DB’s as a base package, which gives better team speed.
5. It looks like cover 3, cover 1, and cover 0 pre-snap.

Cover 2 robber is a form of invert cover 2, with the OLBs/outside safeties being the curl-flat players and the corners playing a deep half like safeties would be in traditional cover 2. The FS is the "robber", in which the coverage is named after. He will serve as the 9th defender in the run game or be a pass defender, depending on his run/pass read. The FS will read the #2 receiver to the "passing strength", if he goes vertical then he will run with him and play a man technique. If #2 runs to the flat, he will then look to "rob" any inside breaking route from #1 such as a curl or dig. If #2 runs an inside breaking route such as a shallow, the FS's eyes will look for a crosser from the other side or look to help with #1. An important key is not disrupt the routes, but to let them develop so the reads can be made with clarity.

If he gets a run read, then he will fly down into his run fit, providing that 9th defender in the run game. Of course, his fit can be any where in the run game that fits the scheme you're employing.

We could spend all day talking about alignment, run fits, coverage responsibilities and reads for the back 7 guys. However, I'm not a defensive coach and it is my intent to just provide a basic overview of this coverage. If you want to learn more, I recommend visiting Coach Huey's great site and interacting with the great resources on there, which is linked on the right side of the page. Also, the legendary Brophy has a blog post which features TCU's defensive playbook that outlines what they're teaching in their cover 2 robber. To access that, click here

The video below is from Virginia Tech's win in 2008 over Georgia Tech. Because of the run heavy triple option philosophy of Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech played a lot of cover 2 robber to get a 9th defender involved in the run game. You'll see the very first snap, the FS gets a run read and makes the tackle for a 2 yard gain. The second snap, the FS gets a pass read with #2 going vertical. There you see him run with #2 in a man technique. Throughout the video, you will see the FS making his reads and being heavily involved as a run game defender.


  1. That's why we liked playing robber so much! Excellent explanation on robber coverage. We liked our safety to be a superman who could help us big on defending the run. He is almost always unblocked. Thanks Coach T.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the post! Speaking from an offensive coach's perspective, it's frustrating getting everyone blocked at the point of attack and getting a 3 yard gain.

  3. Great Job, Coach T. That clip is an incredible example of the coverage. Puts it all into motion. Loved the post! Keep it up!

  4. FYI - here is a write up on Va Tech robber we did last year

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  6. Very nice post.really I apperciate your blog.Thanks for sharing.keep sharing more blogs.