How Chris Ash Will Go About Teaching Press Coverage to His Corners

By Ross Fulton on June 24, 2014 at 1:04p

Doran Grant and his fellow corners are ready to press.


Last week we discussed why new Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Chris Ash likes putting his corners in press coverage. Today we look at how Ash trains his defensive backs to play up tight.

Getting Ready to Move

Ash aligns his corners 1-2 yards from the receiver. The corner takes an inside or outside stance – depending where his secondary help is located. The corner gets in an athletic stance.  Feet shoulder-width apart, knees flexed and hands up and ready to use.

Ash keys his defenders to watch the receiver's leverage-side hip. The corners are drilled to find a spot and keep their focus on it, as the "key never lies."  Problems arise when the corner loses focus or gets sucked in watching the action.  

Footwork is Key

After the snap Ash's focus is upon the corner's footwork. Ash stresses the corner cannot lunge at the receiver. Instead, they must be patient and stay square.

Ash wants the corner to force the receiver to release around them. The corner's goal is to keep the receiver in front using quick six inch lateral steps. Ash's biggest coaching point is for the corner to never cross over their feet. The first drill he works on is a mirror drill, where the corner moves laterally mirroring the wide receiver.

When a receiver releases outside the corner's frame Ash's manta is to kickstep. The corner must open their hips at a 45 degree angle and gain depth; again taking pains not to crossover. The corner's goal is to maintain lead position and stay on top of the wide receiver.

At the same time, the corner does not want to open to vertically. That allows the receiver to also get vertical. The 45 degree angle forces the receiver to go around the corner. 

After focusing on mirroring and kickbacks, Ash next works footwork with a direction change. When a receiver attempts to work back across the corner's body the defensive back must again flip their hips at a 45 degree angle and not crossover. The corner wants to maintain a good base and force the wide receiver around them.

Ash's footwork drills have a consistent theme. Ash wants his corners to stay on top of the receiver and force the receiver to redirect his route. 

It's All in the Hands

Once footwork is established, Ash incorporates the corners' use of their hands. For Ash, the key is for the hands to work in conjunction with the feet. If a receiver tries to release through the corner, Ash teaches the corner to execute a two-hand jam

The corner punches thumbs up through the shoulder pad breast plate. The goal is to lock out the elbows to create power and maintain separation. The corner should continue to long arm the receiver as he releases up field.

Once a receiver releases outside the corner's set-up the corner executes a one-arm jam. The corner dead arms with the near hand while using the long arm technique with the opposite arm. Critically, the jam must occur with the kick step. As such, Ash repeatedly drills jamming while making the 45 degree drop.

In and Out

Once these fundamentals are mastered, Ash addresses specific techniques for inside and outside releases. This is based upon the knowledge that an inside or outside release signals the type of route being run.

With an outside release, the corner is taught to stay on top of the receiver and hug the receiver's inside hip. From there, the corner's reaction is based upon analyzing the receiver's actions. If the receiver begins to chop his feet, the corner prepares for a comeback route. If the receiver does not break stride, the corner plays a vertical route.

With an inside release, a crossing or post route is more likely, Ash instructs his backs to jam the receiver as he tries to cross the corners' body. Once he gets outside the body they must execute a kickstep and one arm jam. The corner again stays on the receiver's hip, watching his stride to read the route.

This provides a basic overview of Ash's techniques. Ash and his defensive backs repeatedly drill these techniques and work on reading an opponent's patterns. It is this attention to detail that makes playing press coverage possible.


Comments Show All Comments

woodi19's picture

Who will be the starting secondary? Predictions ....

otrain2416's picture

Boundary Corner- Doran Grant

Field Corner- Gareon Conley/ Eli Apple if I had to pick one Conley

Saftey- Vonn Bell

Safety- Tyvis Powell

Nickel Corner- Armani Reeves 

Cam Burrows will be the first sub at safety. I expect Erick Smith to push Reeves for his job as well as Webb and Lattimore to make some noise in the depth chart at corner. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

+4 HS
d5k's picture

I'd expect Conley, Apple and Reeves to all play a lot early in the season.  Grant and the safeties are the clear starters, in my opinion.

1MechEng's picture

With the knowledge from that article, I now feel like I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Seriously, cool write up Ross! Thanks for the insight!

+11 HS
scottyp_330's picture

Haven't been on the site long, but this is the clear cut best piece I've read yet. The best part about press coverage is it allows players to react and not think too much. Very easy reads, just comes down to fundamentals and being aggressive. Being able to practice fundamentals more so than schemes all summer should play dividends on where we are at come beginning of the season.

cinserious's picture

This new DB coverage for the Buckeyes has a twofold advantage, not only will it make our defense more aggressive and dictate the action but in training, it also allows our WRs to learn how to handle press coverage and figure out how to get some separation (an all too common problem for our WRs in 2013).

Exciting times are ahead!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

+11 HS
Buckataltitude's picture


Thanks for the great write up.

+1 HS
GingaNinja614's picture

Articles like this are why I love 11W.

+4 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

Amen!  This, and the great responses from all the Buckeye fans!  This site ROCKS!

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+1 HS
otrain2416's picture

Honestly as fun as it will be to watch the corners, it will be more fun to watch our D line and blitzing LBs get after the QB in this coverage. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

+4 HS
BuddhaBuck's picture

Hopefully this will help the WRs learn how to break press coverage too.... #ThanksCoachAsh #ThanksRoss

Don't text while driving.

+1 HS
Buckeye Knight's picture

Press coverage!



+7 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

First Shaytard reference I've ever seen on 11W! My wife loves the Shaytards...

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

FitzBuck's picture

I forgot what coverage looks like.  

So excited.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+5 HS
MikeNugents BigToe's picture

Brb... Gonna go practice my techniques in the yard.

"Remember that 55 yarder against Marshall?" -Not Mike Nugent

+6 HS
Balkestud's picture

The first half of our schedule don't expect much blitzing. Making sure our corner's are well versed in the nuisances of press coverage as well as the pass rushing abilities of our D-line will make blitzing unnecessary. The second half of our schedule, and beyond, I believe is where Ash will trot out some exotic blitz packages. This is where I believe Booker can be of some help this year. From watching tape it is my opinion that he is the best pass rushing LB we have signed for a few years now. He certainly has the size already to give some RT's nightmares. I could see Ash putting together some blitz personnel involving Booker and Smith that would be devastating

It gets kind of rough in the back of my limousine,



+1 HS
MikeTheBuckeye's picture

The caliber of this defense will be a surprise to most teams after last year. Truly underrated coming in. The Silver Bullets are back once more.

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I think there will be some early slip ups, factoring youth and/or inexperience among the unit.

But if things click, and the secondary jells - both amongst each other and with the LB's and D-line, I believe we're going to see the defense some of us have been waiting for years to return.

Man, 66 and a wake up.

+1 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

Ross Fulton is a treasure, another advantage that we 11Wers, in particular, and Buckeye Nation, in general, have that not many programs experience. I visit sites of the other major players in college football, and I don't come across this kind of in depth Xs and Os breakdown.

Damn, it's good to be a BUCKEYE!!

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

+4 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

All these guys started by playing man to man and look at the talent we have now.  Just by keeping the defense simple and aggressive we'll be fine.  When we get cute and elaborate coverage packages and the DBs have to think we get in trouble.  If they were recruited to think they would have gotten an Engineering Scholarship.  We have fast aggressive athletes I say "Fire the Silver Bullets. Launch wave after wave. Don't take any prisoners."

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

chicagobuckeye's picture

If they were recruited to think

Yeah they didn't come to osu to play school. 

+1 HS
scottyp_330's picture

Oh no not again haha

MAVBuck's picture

Great piece, Ross! Cant wait for August!

Tater_Schroeder's picture

Great piece! One disadvantage to press coverage is the susceptibility to giving up an occasional long pass.  I don't anticipate that this will occur often for two reasons: the speed of our defensive backs and more importantly, our presumptive dominant defensive line will not allow the quarterback enough time for these long plays to develop.

With all that said, I will still give up a rare long pass to prevent 14 play drives of short curl routes and wide-receiver screens!! This is a very welcome change!


+4 HS
lsjSnail's picture


+3 HS
D. Anthony's picture

I hope they are also learning how to look back and find the ball vs trying to face guard ...too many times they have no idea where the ball is. QB's love throwing when the coverage never turns around.

D. Anthony

+3 HS
Toilrt Paper's picture

The key is will Grant be able to break all of his bad habits from last year. Hold, hold, hold the receiver and still get beat, defensive holding or pass interference penalties. NEVER turn and look for the ball, always face guards, pass interference penalties. 

CPDenn's picture

This probably will be down the road a bit, but I'm really excited to see Damon Webb in this defense. He's fun to watch in press coverage, and he certainly can compete through the catch.

+1 HS
teakwood's picture

For the biggest thing was that the Qb's had, not time, but space. meaning the had no pressure because for the first ten yards the receivers were open a press coverage throws off timing and makes the qb's wait that split second to two count more.  Our D line was there so often anyway with a half count longer we probably would have had 10 more sacks a bunch more forced fumbles.  That little dump pass killed us the year before and this one.  We were just better this time around.  I can't wait, now if they get more comfortable  play that deep ball and just looking fort they'll be good.  So many times all they had to do was look for the ball.  With the run of elite Cb's we've had i wouldn't want this busted secondary play to continue!!

gljackman's picture

All those drills look great and appear to be a huge improvement over last year, but if they are not getting their heads around when the ball is in the air and they make contact, look for the flag because it's coming. I can't count the number of times the corners were flagged for that last year. Drove me nuts!

ibuck's picture

Ross, looks to me like a lot of holding & pass interference in the 13 minute video. Does Ash eventually teach DBs reduced contact with the receiver?

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.