Monday, January 3, 2011

SCIF vs. Seam

Several people have asked for a definition of a SCIF drop. I want to preface this post by saying there is no universal football terminology. The SCIF drop and technique I am going to define is based on my experience and surely will not cover all definitions. The SCIF drop I am referring to is a Seam-Curl-Flat drop which is utilized in 3 under 3 deep fire zone coverage. The 3 under structure is SCIF/3RH/SCIF. The SCIF (unlike Dick Lebeau's Seam technique) is played by collisioning the #2 receiver inside-out.

If #2 goes vertical:
  • Cover all Quick Game and Hot Routes by #2 (Hitches & Slants)
  • Collision #2 and re-route in the Seam
  • Expand Late to the Curl-Flat

If #2 goes across:
  • Cover all Quick Game and Hot Routes by #2 (Lookies)
  • Wall #2 and re-route
  • Expand late to the Curl-Flat
If #2 goes out:
  • Top the Route (Get body in window of #1's curl)
  • Be ready for the throw to the Curl or the Flat

If #2 Blocks:
  • Drop with depth over #2
  • Be alert for check release & screen
  • Head on a swivel for routes coming into the seam
  • Cannot be out leveraged to the flat
  • If no threats in the seam & no threats to the flat expand late to the curl

Simply Put the SCIF player's drop is to "Hang & Bang" in the seam, expand late to the curl, and let the throw take you to the flat.
I have seen film of both the SEAM and the SCIF used effectively. Neither is the "right" nor "wrong". Ultimately it all comes down to what can your team execute.


  1. Great explanation, this is how we teach this concept and it is one of the most important concepts in the blitz game. If you have a player that can play the SCIF technique well, you can bring all sorts of pressure. Thanks

  2. Does the SCIF player carry #2 vertical? Would he turn and run with him after collisioning him or keep his eyes on the QB and sink?

    Thanks, I really enjoy your blog.

  3. Anonymous,
    The SCIF player does not turn and run with #2 vertical. The reason being he would have his back to any threats to the flat or crossers. The Seam technique player however, can run with the vertical by #2 because from outside leverage when he turns into #2 he can still see threats from the inside.

  4. an advantage to the seam technique and a primary reason that the entire lebeau-capers tree plays it the way they do is that the seam player is always the force player...playing scif inside out allows #2 to pin the force on perimeter runs and especially quick swing routes, bubbles, etc.

  5. Would you treat a wheel route by #2 the same as a flat route?

  6. Yes, in many cases a wheel by #2 would be covered by the SCIF defender. Because the CB is playing hard 2 or aggressively on the #1 receiver, any vertical break by #2 after getting width would require the SCIF defender to follow.

  7. The Sciff-Middle-Sciff 3 deep, 3 under coverage tech works well at the high school level....Especially when there isn't an elite QB in your league who can hit routes to the sideline with precision and power.