How did Kansas State's Tyler Lockett get so open right before the end of the half?


For this blog, I have consulted a Div. II offensive assistant coach, someone we'll just call "Coach."

For this week's breakdown, let's look at Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett's 48-yard reception over the middle with 11 seconds to go in the half.

First, let's take a look at the coverage.

From looking at the film, Coach says KU is playing a Cover 42 zone — more commonly known as a Cover 6 zone.

The reason it is sometimes known as Cover 42 is because, essentially, KU is playing Cover 4 on the strong side of the field (the one with more receivers) and Cover 2 on the weak side of the field.

What does this mean?

Essentially, on the side with three KSU receivers, KU will have two players splitting the deep half of the field in a zone.

On the side with one wideout, KU will have one safety playing a deep zone over the top of that receiver.

Some nuances of the coverage are more complicated than we'll get into here. For example, Coach says KU's defenders will read the second receiver from the top of the screen to determine exactly where they'll go on the play.

The basic concept, though, will look much like this — from a screenshot I found online from the NCAA Football 12 video game.

If you look, KU's setup before the play almost exactly mimics the Cover 6 diagram from above.

So what goes wrong?

Much like KU's players and coaches admitted after the game, one player doesn't follow his assignment.

Though it's tough to see the number because of the camera angle, this appears to be KU safety Lubbock Smith (who also was playing that position on KU's previous drive).

In the Cover 6 diagram above, we can see that Smith's responsibility on this play will be to cover his deep "quarter" of the field. In this case, it's middle quarter of the field toward the three-receiver side.

Smith does something different instead.

Notice he starts this play on the beak of the Jayhawk.

Once the play begins, instead of backpedaling to keep everything in front of him (blue arrow), Smith turns upfield to cover the tight end (red arrow).

This leaves the deep middle to his side wide open.

"The guy who is standing right on the Jayhawk is the one who messes up," Coach says. "He should definitely lock onto this (route)."

Coach says the only reason the safety might break on the tight end is if he thought KU was in a man-to-man coverage. Obviously, that wasn't the case, as every other KU player was showing Cover 6 zone principles.

One other aspect to look at: Notice how close KU's cornerbacks are to the receivers, considering there are only 11 seconds left to go in the half?

The cornerbacks and safeties are between eight and 10 yards away from KSU's receivers.

It's not a huge adjustment, but Coach says you'd like to have your secondary guys back a little farther.

"If it’s me, I’ve got all those guys back to at least the 45-yard line," Coach says. "When you’re deeper, things sort themselves out in front of you."

With a few more yards to see everything, perhaps one of KU's defenders could have noticed the blown coverage and tried to make up for it by trying to stay behind the deepest receiver.

As it was, KSU stole back all the momentum before halftime — all because one KU defender out of 11 found himself in the wrong spot.


2GenLtown 11 years, 1 month ago

Smith broke up and left the deep middle of the field open, like you said. How he could possibly leave his assigned position when the man he should have been covering ran right by him . . . I can't understand.

Bill Kackley 11 years, 1 month ago

Coach got it right, I was at the game and was paying particular attention to this play and I told my wife that Lubick Smith screwed up his coverage.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

I loved how I've never watched or read anything about a ksu game all year, yet I could watch this game and have instant player recognition with Lockett because his name was on his jersey!

texashawk10 11 years, 1 month ago

Yes because having the names on the back of the jerseys would clearly make KU a better team.

Phoghorn 11 years, 1 month ago

Dude, you often make me laugh, but this issue is just getting old. Please find some new material so we can laugh again.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

Who 's joking? Actual conversation with a KSU fan while watching the game and seeing the name on the jersey? Ah: oh my, there is another Lockett brother KSU fan: no I think it's kevins son Ah: geezus I'm old!

2GenLtown 11 years, 1 month ago

KU should have been playing cover 4 deep there. At least cover 4. Maybe even 5 deep and 3 under with a 3 man rush.

d_park 11 years, 1 month ago

I guess KU should hire 2GenLtown b/c he knows what play should have been called. AP defensive coach of the year and what not.

thebigspoon 11 years, 1 month ago

How about rushing 3 and dropping 8 back into coverage ???

LSHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

The real issue was SOMEBODY didnt understand the basis principle of keeping EVERYONE in front of you. So simple on a play right before the end of the half, dont give up the big play, yet one of our guys did....and that comes down to coaching period.

Bill Kackley 11 years, 1 month ago

No the biggest problem with our defense is that it is not aggressive enough. Everyone knows they can throw with concern because KU won't try to intercept. That is the coaches fault, not that Smith blew his assignment. If you noticed Smith was not in for the next couble of defensive series. In fact I don't remember seeing him again while I was still there.

Kent Wells 11 years, 1 month ago

Hey, Jesse. As always, I love your articles, and I think I learned something. But, I have an idea for you that will help you sell more books and help our coaching staff do their jobs.

I think you should put together an Idoits Guide to Playing Defense. Feel free to use the illistrations above to help bolster your book. They work!

Also, your're article could have been a lot shorter if you would have used the following approach:

Q: How did Kansas State's Tyler Lockett get so open right before the end of the half?

Fans Answer: Bad coaching.

Coaches Answer: The guys were not doing what they were told to do.

Now get to work on that book, buddy! And this time, I don't think you need that loser Jason King! :)

Rock Chalk

Kirk 11 years, 1 month ago

It actually looks like KSU gets the TD if the receiver keeps going instead of cutting to his left....

squawkhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Exactly, Lockett was a sprint champion in HS and would have out run the defense if he kept going straight ahead. He also made a mistake.

Kent Wells 11 years, 1 month ago

Well, NJ, more to the point, how does he get down the fire places. And for those places without the fire places, what's he do then?

I am sure that the answer to your original question, it is because his obesseness works only one day a year. I'm sure you would get out of shape with all those temptations that I am sure populate the North Pole. What with all the Santa groupies and all that damn candy. Also, I bet there is less gravity at the NP. So, is he really fat, or just height challenged?

And, if you are manginobutth00lz, you would just say "Tulane" and "google it".

johnnyhrdwd 11 years, 1 month ago

Haven't our safety's been caught out of position all year. Maybe too much coaching, even in backyard football your natural instinct is to drop back in that situation.

Ted Toulouse 11 years, 1 month ago

In the words of Ron White, "You can't fix stupid."

"...all because one KU defender out of 11 found himself in the wrong spot."

First of all, the only people that "find themselves" in wrong spots are drunks and innocent victims. Smith PUT himself in the wrong spot because of his lack of football IQ and awareness of what the hell is going on around him, which seem to be pervasive themes amongst the defense.

Players with good football instincts and physical talent can overcome the occasional bad coaching call. Players that lack those attributes can only be helped so much with coaching and scheming. Our defensive players suck, bottom line. And Gill & Co. are not good enough to coach them out of being stupid. And the replacements aren't being recruited either.

Bill Young was good enough and we can some talent on that side of the ball. That's why we won the Orange Bowl.

Mike Barnhart 11 years, 1 month ago

Wasn't it Dezmon Briscoe that said a few years back his game on the field was greatly improved by playing a bunch of XBox football. I bet Turner Gill discourages that kind of frivolity!

willie_fu_fu 11 years, 1 month ago

So these DII coaches...are they looking for a D 1 job, we may have some openings soon.

Jack Brooks 11 years, 1 month ago

Isn't Shealy also the secondary coach? I sure hope he's got his house up for sale now because he better not have a job at the University of Kansas after this season ends.

number1jayhawker 11 years, 1 month ago

He's the CB coach, but Lubbick Smith is a safety and Wimberly is the safties' coach.

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