If you are want to practice drills for Cover Two, I have the perfect drills for you. Whether you play corner or safety, these drills will help you develop sound fundamentals that will carry over to game day. All you have to do is practice.
Place two cones five yards apart. Have a buddy be the rabbit, and you be the defender. The rabbit will juke back and forth between the cones. Shuffle and mirror the rabbit by keeping you base low, eyes on his torso, and pushing with your outside foot. Always have one foot on the ground for redirection purposes. If you hop or have two feet in the air at the same time, it will be impossible for you to redirect in the air.
Place two cones eight yards apart. The receiver five yards away and you are in the middle of the two cones. The receiver will attempt to run through the cones. As he does this, shuffle and jam. Force the receiver to widen and jam him outside of the cones. Keep a good base, and your shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Keeping your shoulders square will help you keep your outside shoulder strong. As you move laterally, push to move with your outside foot. Remember to keep one foot on the ground for redirection purposes.
Outside Release Drill
The receiver is five yards away and you take outside leverage on him. Place your inside foot to match up with the outside foot of the receiver. All the receiver is going to do is release outside and get up field 20 yards. As he approaches you, don’t give up ground, instead work laterally as he works laterally. As you jam the receiver to the sideline or 4 1/2 yards, keep a good base and your shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Try not to cross over. After you have jammed the receiver adequately, plant your outside foot in the ground and outside hand in the receiver’s near pectoral. From here, turn your belly button to QB and look inside towards the quarterback. Continue to sink down field and underneath the #1 receiver. As you progress, add a second receiver to threaten the flat, and practice on reacting to the quarterback’s throw.
Inside Release Drill
Again, the receiver starts five yards away and you align with outside leverage. Add a second receiver. He will align in the slot as the #2 receiver to your side. This time the #1 receiver releases inside to run a corner/flag route (five yards in at 45 degree, ten yards vertical, and 45 degrees to the sideline). Maintain your outside leverage, and jam the receiver 4 1/2 yards inside. This will push the receiver closer to the safety. While jamming, keep your shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, and look inside for the #2 receiver to threaten your flat. If the flat is threaten, get off the jam and back pedal at 45 degrees towards the sideline. During this phase, square your shoulders to quarterback and protect the route combination from high to low. Read the quarterback’s eyes, and be ready to rally to the flat. If the flat is not threaten hang on the outside and underneath the shoulder of #1 receiver.
This drill will help you work on defending the slant in your outside leverage. Receiver runs a three step quick slant. Work laterally as the receiver works laterally by sliding down the line of scrimmage. When the ball is in the air, secure the tackle with your inside arm and attempt to knock the ball down by bringing over your outside arm.
You can do your drills at the same time as the corner. Line up on the hash twelve yards deep. If the #1 receiver takes an outside release, read the quarterback’s eyes. If the quarterback is looking to throw the deep ball to the receiver, work to get width over top the receiver by back pedaling off the hash towards the sideline. When the quarterback throws the to go route, break to gain ground. Push off your inside foot, and gain ground towards the reception area with your second step. Try not to step behind the body with your second step, this is a common problem that will cause you to lose a step. When you go to intercept the ball, snag it at the highest point. If the corner is participating in the same drill, you are responsible for “you/me” calls to clarify who should intercept the ball.
This time, the receiver takes an inside release to run the corner/flag route. Start on your hash, and read the quarterback’s eyes. As the receiver cuts to the corner, break over top the receiver. Go up and catch the ball at the highest point.
Cover Two Interception Drill
This time bring a friend to play safety with you. Both of you line up on opposite hashes twelve yards from the line of scrimmage. The quarterback will take a five step drop and throw a fade/go route to one side or the other. Work on reading the eyes and shoulders of the quarterback, and make your break according to your read. Remember, break to gain ground. Whichever one of you intercepts the ball will get up the sideline and score. The other, will work to cut off and tag the player with the ball. When tagging off take your proper angle, maintain leverage, use the side line, and tag off with two hands at the hips.
Inside Run Support
Again, both of you line up on the hashes. This time you will read run. Once inside run read, come down hill and sandwich the runner. Maintain outside to inside leverage. The ball carrier should fit right between you two safeties. Never should the ball carrier cross one of two faces. If it does, the far side safety will be unable to make the play.
Outside Run Support
Line up in the same location. Once outside run is read, take a flat step (parallel to the LOS) in the direction of the run then come down hill, run the alley inside-out. Whoever is the backside safety, take the proper pursuit angle over the top.
The two main components that determine how well you play Cover Two are your footwork and your ability to match routes. Both will progress with time and practice. Yes, Allen Iverson, I’m talkin bout practice.