Tony DeMeo

Coaching Pattern-Read Coverage by Tom Olivadatti

Tom Olivadatti is a coach’s coach. He has coached at every level of football from high school to the NFL. I’ve known Tom for many years and he always has great insights into the game. In the 80s when he was with the Browns, he spoke at my clinic at Mercyhurst College and did a great job. He not only made a great presentation but stayed to the early hours of the next morning talkin’ ball. I learned a ton of football that night.

Recently I spoke at Chet O’Neill’s Big New England Clinic and Tommy O was also speaking. He was as good as ever and did a great job discussing “Pattern-Read Coverage”. That presentation inspired me to read his book Coaching Pattern-Read Coverage and I thought it was great.

Whether you coach offense or defense; this book should be on your summer read list. It is very well written and does a great job of taking the mystery out of pattern read coverage. Because Olivadotti started out as a high school coach; he does a great job of simplifying the teaching and I have always believed “Simple is best”.

Tommy O. explains why dropping to a spot style of coverage is obsolete. Option routes and air raid style passing attacks have made playing zone difficult. There is simply too many windows. Quarterbacks are more accomplished passers than ever before and receivers are more talented as well. Add to this legalized holding and it’s clear you better be able to use pattern read coverage.

Tommy starts the book teaching the base pattern read techniques and explains the concepts of closing the passing windows created by playing conventional zone defenses.

Then Olivadotti takes the most popular patterns in today’s football and details how to play pattern read against these patterns. The first pattern he defends is Crossing Routes. Every passing offense has learned the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach use of crossing routes to cause problems to the defense. Tom shows how to attack the crossers without opening the deeper route behind them.

Next he goes into covering the vertical game. The seam route has become a staple of the downfield passing game. I am a strong believer in the vertical game so I really found this chapter interesting.

Olivadotti explains how to teach your players how to understand pass concepts. This is the key to pattern read coverage. The defenders must be able to recognize, read and react.

Tom plays the Pattern-Read Coverage out of a five under- two deep look, a four under- three deep look and a three under -four deep look (quarters). So there is a plenty of variety to give an offense. He also gives you some zone dogs to provide some pressure.

Finally Olivadotti also discusses the problems with Pattern-Read Coverage. Not many coaches will actually discuss the problems. This is unique. As an offensive coach by nature I always look for conflicts to throw at a defense. He also does a good job at the end of the book with some great thoughts on coaching.

I really enjoyed this book and would strongly recommend it to both defensive coaches and offensive coaches alike. Coaching Pattern-Read Coverage is available through Coaches Choice.