Throughout the 2017 season, the UCF Knights primarily used their cornerback Mike Hughes in a hybrid of man and zone coverage. Hughes would line up on the right side of the field in the area between the numbers and the sideline boundary. As a result, Mike isn’t going to follow a receiver all over the field; he will just defend the receiver who lines up within his area. Once the play begins, he will follow his assignment all over the field for the duration of the down unless the quarterback throws the ball immediately. For example, there are instances where Mike Hughes will line up eight to ten yards away from the line of scrimmage. When Hughes lines up eight to ten yards away from the line of scrimmage, he will either look directly at the receiver; or open up his hips towards the middle of the field to look at the quarterback. If Mike looks at the receiver, he will backpedal because he does not know the receiver’s direction. Once the receiver chooses a route, he will stop back peddling and go towards the path. On the other hand, if Hughes looks at the quarterback, he will laterally move his way downfield until the receiver chooses a path.
However, there are instances where Mike Hughes will line up one to three yards away from the line of scrimmage. When Hughes lines up one to three yards away from the line of scrimmage, he will look to guide the receiver in one direction. For instance, Mike will put his right hand on the left shoulder of the assignment. The technique allows Hughes to push the receiver towards the sideline taking away his ability to move horizontally while simultaneously giving the quarterback a smaller window to throw the ball.
As a result of this, the NFL team who selects Mike Hughes should primarily use him as a hybrid cornerback. This is because Hughes has played as a hybrid for so long that it is the fastest way for him to be successful. On the other hand, if the NFL team wants him to transition into playing man coverage, they would need to give him anywhere between a couple of games to a full season to adjust to opening up his hips in both directions.