Listed below are thoughts and considerations concerning what a coach might expect from his receivers. A good knowledge of these rules and expectations will give you an idea of the points a coach should emphasize and how to do them. Listed below our thoughts and expectations:
Have a daily goal and objective. Work to improve one area of your game each practice.
A receiver must have confidence in his abilities. As a coach reinforce this point.
One thing that is important by the coaching staff is to find out from practice is who will make the 3rd down catch. Who do we call upon on 3rd and 9?
Make a great catch, if you can touch it you can catch it. Do it enough and it will become routine in the game.
This is the order in which receivers should be evaluated.
– Hands (concentration and poise)
– Toughness (blocking and the great will catch it in a crowd)
Speed – it is an asset, but, not the most important factor. The receiver must explode off the line of scrimmage and force the defensive back to turn his hips under 12 yards. (this may vary according to type of play called).
Quickness and acceleration – receiver must escape the hard corner quickly and accelerate up field to push the safety deep and create separation between him and the corner.
Hit someone on every play. Do not avoid contact. Receivers need to build a reputation as wide receivers who are always looking to hit, stalk, crack-back, or block anyone. A defensive back should not feel comfortable with you in his zone.
A receiver must want to be a great one. Like anything else it takes hard work and commitment.
Four basic rules in catching:
Breaks and cuts must be under control. Be an athlete.
On the route – snap your head and shoulders around quickly. Be ready for the early throw.
Attack the ball aggressively on underthrows and high balls. Prevent the interception. If you can not get it, the defender won’t either.
Always see the alignment of the defensive back defending you. Know the angle you will use to attack the defender.
Catching the Football
tuck it away and gain yardage without fumbling. Receivers must be fearless and have a conviction to catch the ball. The four (4) basic rules are (1) See, (2) Catch, (3) Tuck, and (4) Run. Catching the football begins with the eyes – concentrate on the ball by focusing on the speed of the spin (see the dot on the end of the ball). A receiver must watch the ball until it is tucked into the armpit, with the point of the ball covered by the hand.
Always try to catch the ball with the thumbs and forefingers touching; this is the surest position. The “little fingers in” position can be used for low (below the waist) or deep passes, and when in traffic across the middle, catching the ball against the body can be helpful. However on deep routes,
if the receiver can turn back toward the passer, the thumb and forefinger position is better. Cushion the ball as it is received, into the body. This forces the catch to be made in the hands, and allows the ball to be tucked away quicker.
Once the ball is tucked away, the receiver becomes a runner. A receiver must always turn up field after the catch. Do not run back toward the L.O.S. or turn to use fakes to gain ground.
Listed below are additional guidelines as to what is expected from a receiver:
1. Have a daily plan goal or objective. Work to improve one (1) area of their game each practice. They must want to be a great receiver. Like anything else, it takes hard work.
2. Every Day Drills (EDD’s): Ball Drills [drops, flips, globetrotter]; eye hand coordinator – 50 to 100 catches; finger tip push-ups 10 to 15 before and after practice.
3. Catch everything thrown to them. Make a great catch! Do it enough and it will become routine in the game.
4. Be knowledgeable in coverages and conversion (reads) routes.
6. The backside receiver must always be alert in the passing game. Run a full speed route.
7. Breaks and cuts must be under control. Be an Athlete.
8. Be ready for the early throw. Point out possible blitzing defenders with an “alert” call prior to the snap.
9. Always run the proper depth on your route.
10. Use the sidelines to help control the clock. Remember, the objective is to score.
11. Attack the ball aggressively on under throws and high balls. Prevent the interception, if the receiver cannot get it, the defender will not either.
12. Always see the alignment of the defender who is responsible for them. Know what angle to use to attack the defender.
The quarterback must be taught to stay within the pocket and use one-step avoidance to find his line-of-sight. However there are times when they are forced from the pocket running parallel to or toward the line of scrimmage (never retreating). When the quarterback leaves the pocket, these are the basic rules that the receiver must follow:
If they are on opposite sides, the receiver on the side of the quarterback must run to the deep third (1/3) on that side; whereas the receiver on the opposite side of where the quarterback is forced to, must work for an open area through the middle of the field at a depth of about fifteen (15) yards coming towards the quarterback.
If they are on the same side, the receiver who was on the shorter route must run to the deep third (1/3) on that side, and the deeper route must work back toward the quarterback three (3) yards from the sideline.
The inside receiver will always work back toward the line of scrimmage to the side of the quarterback is forced to, attempting to create a visual, clear lane between themselves and the quarterback. If the quarterback runs with the ball, they must be in a position to block chasing defenders.
Middle Receiver, in a 3-Receiver Set or Backside Slot Receiver
If a quarterback is forced to them, then work parallel to the line of scrimmage (at patterns depth) between the sideline and hash marks. If the quarterback turns up field to run the ball, then be prepared to block defenders allowing the quarterback to get to the sideline; i.e., turn toward the middle of the field to block.
If the quarterback is forced opposite their alignment or route, then run up the middle of the field keeping seperation from the receiver running in the deep third (1/3).
Backs work their regular pattern depth and flow with the quarterback, underneath the support. If the quarterback turns up field to run the ball, then be prepared to block defenders allowing the quarterback to get to the sideline; i.e., turn toward the middle of the field to block.
Regardless of the play called the rules stay consistent. Nobody puts their hand up and waves to the quarterback. The quarterback can see the feld better than anybody – let him make the decision!
Facts to Remember:
Schemes vs Running Game; The following information is used when explaining schemes that deal with the running game.
Type of block used on plays away. Take an angle at the deep middle 1/3 of the field and get in a position to block the defender responsible for that area. If the receiver cannot block man responsible for this area, turn back and block first wrong color you see. Avoid clipping the defender. If defender fills quickly, the receiver may use quick technique. Always eyeball the defender because he will tell your receiver where the ball is being run.
Type of block to be used when you want to prevent a defender from getting inside. A receiver will generally use this type of block on run plays hitting between tackles. The receiver will drive the defender off, aiming at his inside shoulder. Because this type of play hits quick, the receiver cannot maintain a cushion on the defender. Must be able to attack the defender with the intention of running through him. Might have to block the defender 3 to 4 times as the receiver makes contact and recoils. Must be able to keep your feet as long as possible.
Type of block used on plays coming outside and towards you. Must push the defender over you and down the field until he reacts to the run. Let the defender pick a side, screen him off, hit and recoil. The running back will read your block and will cut accordingly. The receiver must keep a 3 to 4 yard cushion on the defender. Receiver will break down once the defender comes out of his back pedal. Stalk and harass the defender until the whistle blows.
Type of block used on option, sweep, and toss plays vs. a hard corner. Outside release or arc around the hard corner, this will force him to widen. Try to avoid contact, but be able, slam the corner and continue upfield for the safety.
The following information and terms deal with the release off the line of scrimmage by receivers. Receiver releases are very important to the success of the passing game. Releases will vary at times according to the type of coverage the receiver faces.
Release vs Zone:
A receivers release vs zone coverage is a aiming point to the outside shoulder of the defensive back. This will force the defensive back to widen, creating separation in the seams of the underneath coverages.
Release vs Man:
When facing man coverage the aiming point will be the inside shoulder of the defensive back. This squares the defensive back and gives you more field to work with.
Escaping a Hard Corner:
Once the receiver recognizes a hard corner, he should initially adjust his split depending upon an outside or inside release.
As the receiver explodes off the line of scrimmage, he will attack the outside shoulder of the defensive back. Once the receiver is within 1 1/2 yards from him, dip your outside shoulder, allowing the defensive back to touch only the backside of the receivers shoulders. After contact is made, the receiver will simultaneously rip the outside arm through, with shoulders and weight geared upfield. (Work to get vertical after releasing from the defensive back)
As the receiver explodes off the line of scrimmage he should attack the middle part of the body of the defensive back. Once the receiver is within 1 1/2 yards from the defensive back, grab his outside hand with your outside hand. The receiver should then force it across his body as quick as he swims his inside arm over the top of the defender. (Work to get vertical after releasing from the defender)
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.