Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 28, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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under the DOME Turning Heads follow Pass coverage has two "phases" to By Lou Somogyi Y ou see it every weekend, whether it's in college football or the NFL: a defensive back, while trying to make up ground, has his back to the ball as it approaches the receiver. The ball sails into the receiver's hands — but if the defender had just turned his head, he might have made the interception, or at least broken up the pass. This has occurred regularly with the Fighting Irish defensive backs too, which elicits the question: "Why don't they coach the defenders to turn their heads?" According to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, in every level of football, defensive backs have two rules in such coverage: in phase and out phase. In layman's language, if a defensive back is running in the same Sophomore cornerback KeiVarae Russell said the back-shoulder throw is the toughest to defend. photo by bill panzica stride with his receiver, then that is the time to turn the head. "If you're in phase — hip to hip with the receiver — turn and play the ball," Kelly explained. However, if the receiver has run past the defender, even just a step out in front of him, then the defender must keep running, don't turn the head back and "rake the basket" — which means ripping his arms between the receivers' arms to try to knock the ball loose as it lands. "Out of phase, don't turn, and rake through the basket," Kelly said. "… Don't put the hands

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