Bump and Run
Football Terms – Bump & Run Coverage
Bump and Run coverage is often used in football by defensive backs hoping to disrupt the wide receivers ability to cleanly get off the line. To accomplish this, the defensive back takes up position directly across from the receiver at the line of scrimmage.
Since contact is legal for up to five yards (under NFL rules), the defender can use his arms to push and bump the receiver at the start of the play. He cannot, however, hold the receiver, as this will draw an Illegal Contact penalty. In college football, contact is allowed anywhere on the field as long as (a) the ball is not in the air, and (b) contact is made in front of the defender.
This defensive technique can be especially effective at disrupting pass plays which require the receiver to be at a certain spot on the field at a specific time. The drawback to this type of coverage is that it gives the receiver a chance to get behind the defensive back and gain huge chunks of yardage.
For this reason, many standard defensive formations require the defensive back to line up five yards away from the line of scrimmage. This is known as giving the receiver a cushion, and it makes it far less likely that the wideout will be able to get behind the defender for a big gain.