New Mexico's Offense in High School

LOBO'S Option Offense

Today we are going to take a brief look at New Mexico's version of the triple option as it is leading the NCAA in rushing in 2016.  The cool part about this is that it is done from the Shotgun which leads me to believe it can be incorporated into an Up Tempo Spread offense.  It isn't rare to see a triple option team leading the country in rushing, Navy and Georgia Tech are always high up the ranks.  What is unique is that it is being done from the true shotgun depth of 5 yards.  Combine that with the ability to use simple zone schemes and spread the field and i think you create a monster.

Nice Eye Candy
The offense itself is generically 3 back in nature which is similar to The Flexbone approach to triple option.  They will use some wrinkles like the Maryland Stack I, and some motion adjustments.  Its all really about changing the presentation not the play.  Typical to triple option schemes they will have a dive player(zone), the QB keep option, and a pitch phase.  So while this is hardly revolutionary its their approach from the shotgun that makes it unique.  By being in the shotgun every snap I think it makes this offense more spread scheme friendly.  You will help your High School QB or Middle School QB a ton in the passing game by being in the shotgun, especially when they are not all 6'5!!! You also add in the element of Run Pass Options which is also option football in it's most basic form.  Let's face it, in High School football the talent level between two teams can make it extremely difficult for most teams to compete.  I'm not sure about your area but where I am the playoff teams are usually the same about 75% of the time.  There are really only 4-6 teams that have a chance to win the state title each year.  So how do we level the playing field?  By reading more players which means blocking less players.

How Much is Too Much
The real question at hand here is how much can you actually do and be successful.  Most option teams can never really throw the football.  They spend so much time perfecting all the phases of the triple option and the blocking wrinkles that there is not enough time to teach a successful passing game.  There is also a certain skill set that comes with being a triple option QB, and that skill set usually sacrifices the ability to be an effective passer.  Also let us not forget the protection part of the passing game.  Throwing more may effect the types of Offensive Lineman option teams recruit.   Enter the era of the modern day "Dual Threat" QB.  More and more colleges are playing Dual Threat QB'S.  They are asking these QB'S to be runners and throwers while also being guys that can read defenders in the option game.  It is making the game more 11 on 11 now than 11 on 10 in the run game.  So can you take the best elements of the Spread game(RPO,Zone Read,Jet Power Read, Screens, Air Raid Theories) and mix it with the New Mexico triple option offense to create the ultimate "FACEMELTING" offense?  Only time will tell but I am willing to bet there will be some people trying including MYSELF!!!!!  It's a copycat game so take from everybody.


High School Kick Return


Today we are going to talk about Kick Returns for High School Football.  This is a scheme I have developed after coaching 20 years of High School football.  It was developed not as a superior scheme that I learned at a clinic or college visit, but as an alternative approach to Kick Returns to maximize the potential of my current players.  Over the years I have watched the front line of kick return players in High School struggle to turn and sprint the distance required to execute traditional kick returns.  What you normally see is Kickoff guys running right by the front line of your return team and blowing up the returner.  For years I tried to find players that could run 20-25 yards and set up wedges, talking about angles and leverage.  We tried crossing front line players to create angles for kick out blocks.  After years of what I thought was sub par performance in the return game I decided to make a change.

What we do now is not going to be a new trend in Kick Returns or a revolutionary idea that changes football, but it works for us.  We now use a 6-1-2-2 kick return alignment that is a straight man blocking scheme.  The 6 front line players are only going to drop 8-10 yards before engaging their blocking assignment.  Now I realize that with these short drops if we miss or don't maintain our blocks we are giving clearer paths to the kickoff team and better angles to the ball. But I also believe I am giving my kids an assignment they are better able to execute.  I am basically turning it into a WR stalk block with leverage.  I am asking guys to block a man in a certain direction and win with that leverage.  They don't need knockouts or pancake blocks, they need to occupy a body as long as they can and win with leverage.  We now only need to drop 8-10 yards before picking up our assignments so I think the task is physically more conducive to my players talents.  We now have made it more accountable for our players.  It's simple, don't let your guy make the tackle.  Now it has become easier to identify where the mistakes are in the return.  The middle guy in the scheme is there to protect against ambush onside kicks, help adjust to sky kick schemes, and be a 7th blocker to get a body on a body as quick as possible.  The 2 upbacks are always in position to receive pooch or sky kicks, and then are usually used to double team the best player on the kickoff team. Sometimes they will be used to trap or kick out a player based on the return.  The 2 deep players are just your traditional return home run threats.

We are going to use all skill players on this team.  We want WRS, DBS, and RBS.  We will sacrifice size for the ability to field kicks.  When you look at our return team on film it is hard to pick out a weak link for onside kick opportunities.  Now the perfectly executed onside kick may still give us trouble but I feel like I have 11 players on the field that can field kicks.  To me the most important aspect of Kick Return is not giving up your possession of the ball.  We never want to lose a possession in a game.  We can recover from a poor return or a missed blocking assignment, but it is very difficult to recover from a lost possession.  We see so many sky kicks and pooch kicks in High School.  If you can handle these situations you will generally start with decent field position.  Our alignment helps us adjust to sky kick formations because according to game plan we can use the middle player in our 6-1 alignment to help field sky kicks.  Our alignment also helps us get bodies on bodies sooner which helps prevent the kickoff team from free runners at the returner fielding the sky or pooch kick.

All in all it is a very simplistic approach to the kick return game.  We have not lost a possession yet this season with our return team and our average starting field position is the 31 yard line.  To me that is just as good as a 25 or 30 yard return.  We have brought 2 returns past our 40 yard line as well and last season returned a kick for a TD.


One Formation Football


Today we are going to talk about One Formation Football.  This does not mean staying in one formation the entire year or the entire game, but getting your kids to see pictures clearly and understand assignments by making things simple.  The number one mistake coaches at younger levels make is they confuse kids with multiple assignments and changing pictures.  I often hear coaches say "our kids cant do this" or "we don't understand assignments."  But immediately after saying that they change the assignment or the formation or the play.  If you want your kids to master certain techniques within a scheme then keep it simple.  Changing rules or assignments every other play causes confusion which leads to the ever popular coaching phrase "block somebody!!!"  The same is true when it comes to formations.  If you constantly change formations then you are constantly changing the picture your kids are looking at.

If a picture is "Worth A Thousand Words" then in my opinion that's a pretty powerful picture.  If that saying is true then in football terms how crucial is it to get your kids to understand the picture they are seeing? If you stay in one formation for a series or two or three series you have a chance to keep the picture clear and consistent.  If the picture is clear then you have a chance to teach your players the assignments they need to execute with more clarity.  When you can rep 4 or 5 plays vs. the exact same look you have a chance to achieve mastery.  When the defense changes every time you run those 4 or 5 plays now that creates confusion.  Let's be honest, at the lower levels of football when you line up in a formation the defense usually only lines up 1 or 2 different ways.  If you line up in 15 formations then they technically may line up 30 different ways.  If you want consistency with technique and execution then keep your assignments simple and keep the defense you work against simple. Now instead of yelling "block somebody" you might actually be able to tell your kids who to block. 

Multiple Options to Attack
One of my favorite formations is 2 Back 20 personnel Twins Open.  This set gives you power run game, option run game, ability to get 3 routes to a side, and the ability to isolate a stud receiver.  If I had one set to choose to play football out of this would be it.  I can attack inside and outside in run game.  I can attack coverages horizontally and vertically. I can max protect my QB if I need to.  I can get 5 receivers in a route if I want to.  This set for me gives me every answer I need to effectively move the football.  It also gives me a chance to play at a faster tempo if I stay in this set for an entire series.  But ultimately what it does is it gives me a clear picture of the defense I want to attack.  I will usually only see 2 or 3 different looks in this formation and sometimes I will see the same look all game.  When it comes time to practice we can rep the things we want to attack with clarity and confidence knowing the picture we will see.  Your lineman will understand their run blocks and protections easier.  Your QB and WRS will have simpler coverage structures to understand.  And most important your Offensive Coordinator can feel confident executing a simple game plan.

It's not about the types of plays you run, it's how you run those plays.  It's about getting your kids to understand the game plan and their assignments. It gets down to simplifying what you do and creating stress on the defense.  Play to your strengths and attack their weaknesses.  


Making Blitzes Multiple



Today we are going to take a look at using the same blitz tracks and making them multiple by changing the coverage behind them.  We will be talking about sending 5 and 6 rushers and the coverages we can use behind them to make them look the same but play differently.  By keeping the blitz tracks the same our guys involved in the pressure can get better at playing their assignments in that pressure.  The guys behind them will have to learn more because the coverage changes but it protects the blitz by making it more multiple.


What you have to take into account when using blitzes is how the offense will react and respond to counter those pressures.  In the game today at the high school level most of your opponents will have almost all of your games on film.  With that being the case there really are no more "secrets" or "surprises".  After watching 5 or 6 of your games they will have a pretty good idea of your blitzing tracks and blitzing tendencies.  In order to protect those blitzes you need to change up the coverage behind them, not necessarily create new blitzes.

Move Counter Move

If you are going to have to teach new things sometimes its better to only have to teach a few players instead of all 11 players on the field.  By keeping the blitz tracks the same you will have 5 or 6 guys that have the same assignments and you are only making adjustments with the players behind the blitz.  Now you can have 3-4 blitzes with multiple coverages behind them instead of 12 different blitzes.  You have to understand how the offense will counter your blitzes and where you are strong and weak.  Once you evaluate that you can build an answer to counter the way they attack your blitzes.  Usually when offensive coaches study blitzes they are looking for plays they can run against those blitzes to exploit them.  For example if they see a tendency that in short yardage you like to use a certain blitz with man coverage behind it, they will have a few things they want to do in those situations.  By altering the coverage and using the same blitz track you may get them to play right into your hands.  Remember coaching football is really like a physical version of playing chess.  Its a move, counter move game.

So what I will discuss in the video is a way to play different coverages behind the blitzes so you can protect yourself.  For instance you may be using a zone blitz concept with a 3 under and 3 deep coverage.  If your opponent sees that on film they will probably have some route concepts designed to beat that coverage.  Maybe they try to exploit the flats.  By employing a 2 Deep 4 Under coverage with that same blitz you now get stronger in the flats and might bait the offense into running a concept right into your strengths.  Add to that a man concept and now you can keep that OC and QB guessing all night long.  I always emphasize putting one thing in first and getting good at it, then adding to your package when your kids and coaches get more experienced. 

Remember the whole purpose to this website is to be able to get guys to play fast and play confident.  Only add to your package when you think coaches and players can handle it.




Today we are going to talk special teams play and specifically The Shield punt.  The Shield in my opinion is the most efficient way to protect your punts and cover your punts at the Junior High and High School level.  It gives you the ability to get 7 guys in coverage very quickly, and by alignment alone makes punts very difficult to go after.  Although most people will tell you they love it for the coverage aspect, I love it because of its simplicity in protection.  Because of this simplicity we can spend adequate time on protection and coverage and then have slight wrinkles to our alignment each week that keep opponents off balance when determining how to come after our punts.  In 5 years of using The Shield punt we have had 2 punts blocked and 1 returned for a touchdown.  We are talking 200 reps of punt, very efficient in my opinion.

The biggest key to Special Teams is field position and game changing plays.  The punt can change field position either way in a hurry, and a blocked punt can be absolutely demoralizing.  Let's look at some field position statistics and how they relate to points.  We are going to talk about TD'S only in this study because I feel it is a much more important metric in Junior High and High School ball because of the lack of effective kicking games.

GL to OWN 20-5% Chance of TD
OWN 20 to OWN40-15% Chance of TD
OWN 40 to OUR40-23% Chance TD
OUR 40 to OUR 20-35% Chance TD
OUR 20 to OUR GL-66% Chance of TD

This is basically a rough estimate taken off the last 3 years of our games played.  There are several different field position charts out there for College and NFL teams that are way more detailed than the one I am showing.  The simple point of the matter is even in High School football starting field position has a direct impact on the percentage of TD'S scored.  So if our punt protection and coverage can be solid then we can give our defense a better chance to be successful.  Now I want to look at some positive and negative game changers I will be looking at this up coming season with my punt team.  I am going to give these plays a point value to determine if we are winning or losing the Game Changing plays category with our Punt Team.
POSITIVE                                                 NEGATIVE
39 Yard Net(+1)                                          20 Yard Net(-1)
Inside the 10(+1)                                         Penalty(-1)
Successful Fake(+1)                                    Unsuccessful Fake(-1)
Turnover(+2)                                               Blocked Punt or Safety(-2)
TD(+3)                                                        TD Allowed(-3)

So after each game I am going to look at our punts and chart each one to determine if we are winning or losing the explosive play category in the punt game.

So let us now take a look at the actual operation of our punt team.  We will have 2 Yard splits between our guards and tackles and 3 yard splits between the tackle and TE.  The idea is to get everybody wider so they do not have a chance to get to the punt unless they choose to put 4 on the shield.  So now we need to look at our operation time and see if we can handle double a gap pressure and 4 on the shield.  The normal operating time for punts is .8 seconds from snapper to punter's hands.  It's 1.2 from punter's hands to his foot which makes your total operation time around 2.0 seconds.  We have found that if you can operate in 2.0 or less then 4 on the shield will almost never be an issue.  I say almost because you have to take into account bad snaps, mishandled snaps, and poor steps by the punter.  If we can operate in 2.0 or less we will man block both sides man which means we will account for the 3 widest rushers from outside in.  We will start our count from the outside every time.  With this scheme we get guys out and in good lanes relatively quickly.  We realize though that if they bring 10 with 2 in each A gap we have to be real sound with our operating time. We are only trying to redirect our man for 2 steps and then releasing.  We will drop step with our outside foot then run aggressively through the inside number of our man.  If he crosses our face we will release him to the shield and their alignment and angle will not allow them to block the punt. Our shield will have their heels at 7 yards and they are standing on a cliff and cannot get knocked backwards.  They will protect everything from their inside out trying not move from the shield.  The bigger the bodies the better because they will create a better pocket for the punter forcing rushers wider.  Bigger bodies will not cover as well though so its a trade off.  If you use smaller bodies you may want your shield in more of a man concept.  The first adjustment we will make if we have trouble with 4 on the shield is blocking zone on the backside protecting our inside gap first.  Our splits will be cut in half from normal distance and we will have our inside foot back.  The guard has the A Gap, Tackle has the B Gap, and the Tight End has the C Gap.  This will be more of an aggressive style trying to stone our defender and stop his inside movement.  This will only allow them to get 3 on the shield and sometimes when you have a good physical guard on the zone side he will take care of both players in the A Gap by knocking one into the other. Again your operation time needs to be real good because you are unchaining the widest defender to the zone side.  With good splits and proper timing he will never get to your punter. If your punter is good with directional kicks you can choose which side to zone, while always punting towards the man side who releases outside.

When All Else Fails

One new thing I will try this year is the use of the Rugby Punt.  This changes the launch point of the punter which keeps your opponent guessing with which type of block they want to use.  If they want to put 4 on the shield with double A Gap players the Rugby Punt will not only be safe but it will get them out leveraged real quick and give your punter a chance to run for a first down.  Because you are punting from the same alignment your opponent cannot tell which punt is coming.  When we Rugby Punt we will roll to the side of the Punter's Leg and that side of the protection will be responsible for the inside 3 rushers or number 3, 4 and 5.  It is similar to the zone protection and we will keep our inside foot back.  We need to redirect that rusher for 2 Yards inside before we release.  The Right Shield and Personal Protector are now responsible for #1 and #2 coming off the edge.  The left side of will be using their zone technique protecting their inside gap first.  The left shield will protect left side A Gap first to outside pressure second.  Remember we are rolling away from him so inside is a priority.  

Add to this your ability to wrinkle formations while still using shield principles, and carrying a couple fakes and you have a multiple yet simplistic punt scheme.  You will keep the heat off with your diversity and The Shield will help you get more guys in coverage almost immediately.  Remember special teams are 1/3 of the game so don't neglect them.

Be Who You Are, Protect Who You Are


One of the biggest problems in coaching today is that there is more information than ever before.  With the internet and social media a coach can get his eyes and hands on almost any piece of football knowledge he craves.  All you have to do is go to you tube and search "inside Zone", or "zone blitzes", or "3-4 Defense" and a world of knowledge is at your fingertips.  While I love to study the game of football and it's constant evolution, this information can set you back more than it can actually help.  You can get flooded with information and lose sight on the techniques and fundamentals that your Offense and Defense need to succeed.  Remember every scheme needs to hang its hat on something.

We have all used the term Bread and Butter before.  It is your go to move.  For Mariano Rivera it was the cutter, for Drew Brees and the Saints its the spacing game.  Joe Gibbs had his 1 Back Counter Trey and Stone Cold Steve Austin has "The Stunner".  When in doubt this is what you do.  The same is true for running an offense or defense.  You have to know exactly who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  There are so many great ways to move the football on offense, just like there are so many ways to stop people on defense.  But in an attempt to do them all you just water down your system and end up ineffective.  The offseason is a great time for Football Coaches,  you have clinics and webinars and college visits.  There is a wealth of information out there just waiting for you to explore.  The problem is if you explore it with the idea of using it all, you will end up hurting your production more than helping it.

So what is the point of all this?  It's simple, figure out who you are on offense and defense and do things to protect your scheme.  Now keep in mind that doesn't mean running brand new schemes, just wrinkling your own schemes to keep teams off balance.  I'll give you an example of this.  I use an Up Tempo offense that never ever snaps the ball on 2.  We snap the ball on 1 or first sound all the time.  Now you may ask why in the world would you do that?  Well its simple, of the times we snapped the ball on 2 we went offside 25% of the time and the defense only jumped 10% of the time.  So i thought to myself why snap the ball on 2 if there is a greater chance of a penalty on my offense?  With that being said I also need something to slow down the defensive line and their get off.  So what i do is I use freeze tempo as a way for the offense to "Check With Me" and I try to screen and draw real early in the game.  This way i never snap the ball on 2 but i also protect my offensive line. I live in an up tempo world.  That is how I like to play offense.  So I need to know my limitations and where I should invest most of my time to be effective.  We are going to work a ton on Pre and Post Snap reads for the QB and his decision making process.  All of our answers need to be built into the play if we truly want to be up tempo.  That means I can't spend a ton of time on shifts and motions to out leverage the defense.  I also cant try and run Power, Counter, Toss, Trap, Dart, Belly, ISO, Zone, Stretch, and Scissors.  To truly be a Tempo team you will cut down your playbook, formations, motions, trades and shifts but you will protect yourself by varying the tempo and building multiple options into each play call.

The same can be said for defense.  It really does not matter if you are 4-2-5, 3-4, 3-3-5 or "46" just play the scheme that you know best, that fits your personnel, and that you can fix.  But with that being said be able to protect the things you do with other things.  The easiest example of this is watching even front teams use an odd front on passing downs or Vice Versa.  These teams do not magically morph into the other system, they just use the fronts as a protection to their Base Defense.  It adds to the preparation of the offense during the week and makes them a little less effective VS. the base front.  You see the same thing with Single High Defenses having some sort of 2 High coverage structure in their defensive package.  Offenses are going to prepare to beat all the 1 High looks so having a 2 High look protects your 1 High package.  With that said you probably will not be a great 2 High coverage team so use it only as a changeup.  If you are a pressure team then by all means pressure.  But figure out if you are a zone pressure team or a man pressure team and live in that world.  Which ever it is get really, really good at it then use the other as a changeup for protection purposes.  

At the end of the day figure out who you are and get really good at the things you do.  Your kids will respond better and you will understand how to prioritize your time better to be more effective.


Sequence Series For Tempo Teams


Today we are going to talk about sequencing plays to start a drive and individually attack certain defenders on the field.  This idea can be used in any offense, but it can be really effective in Up Tempo Offenses.  A sequence is basically an order in which events are going to occur.  Many people think of sequence play calling when referring to the Wing T.  Usually Wing T play callers will have an understanding of who is making plays for the defense on a play and then have a play to counter act the player making the play.  What I want to talk about today is using a sequence of plays in an Up Tempo philosophy to attack 1 player on the field.


There are many reasons to run an up tempo offense.  For me the biggest reason is my practices are extremely more effective with way more reps.  I really got tired of stopping after every play to coach or huddling up after every play and only running 8 plays in a 15 minute period.  The second determining factor for me was my schedule.  We were playing a lot of defensive lineman and linebackers that we just couldn't consistently block.  So my mindset was if I try and wear them out early, we can block them later in the game.  Lots of people talk about conditioning being a factor and 4th quarter strength and conditioning programs.  I was smart enough to figure out if I was losing 35-0 in the 4th quarter, conditioning won't be a factor so let's make it a factor early.  When going up tempo you have to buy into the whole mindset.  For example, screens for us will never be a bad call as long as we do not turn the ball over.  We want to make interior lineman and linebackers have to run early and often, and then limit their rest time in between plays.  If we can get a screen play to the perimeter we feel it serves it's purpose for us.  Even if we do not gain substantial yardage if we make the big guys run we feel good.  Early in the game we will also try and get the ball to the perimeter as much as possible to make the interior guys run side to side.  This combined with running plays as fast as possible was part of the plan to mentally and physically chop down our opponent.

In a sequence you are now going to focus on one particular player and attack him on consecutive plays if we can.  It will usually be a secondary player and generally a corner, but you could attack multiple players this way.  For example if you were facing an even defense you could decide to attack the 3 technique if you know where he will be set.  Your first play will be a physical double team like a power play.  Your second play can be a quick throw with your lineman aggressively cut blocking him.  Then you can finish the sequence by reading him on a midline.  The sequence could also be a screen first to his side to make him run.  Then come back and run power at him with a physical double team.  Then finish the sequence with a quick game concept and cut him.  The idea behind all of it is taking advantage of your tempo and play calling knowing that the offensive coordinator controls it.  

The corner is a player that can really be affected using the sequence theory.  You can get him isolated, you can control the distance he has to run, and you can make him make tackles.  The best thing about attacking the corner is you can attack the corner to the boundary and bring in fresh receivers while he stays on the field.  Keep in mind these sequences are only going to be 3 plays maximum and usually start a series.  It is something you will do along with your tempo to try and create a competitive advantage.  As more and more defenses are trying to play more people up front to stay fresh, the back end stays relatively consistent.  At our level of football we do not have to worry about substitution rules, we can play as fast as the referees will let us.  If we can get a corner to our sideline exposed we can exploit him with fresh legs on offense.  The typical sequence would probably look like a run play to the perimeter with crack blocking trying to make that corner have to tackle.  Then come back to some type of vertical route down the field to force him to cover a lot of grass.  Then end the sequence with a quick game or screen concept to a fresh receiver.  Now keep in mind you can stop the sequence at anytime.  If you get a penalty on first down or its 3rd and 12 and you don't want the quick game or screen you can kill the sequence and get into a good play.  If the sequence is successful you can come right back at that cornerback with other play calls.

If you truly plan on being an "Up Tempo" team and not just a No Huddle team you will have to incorporate different ways to maximize your ability to play fast.  Remember that part of your offense is wearing down your opponent mentally and physically.  You are going to use the pace of the game to do that.  Having multiple ways to use your tempo will only help the process.  Using ideas like repeat plays, or automatic fire calls, or sequences will help accentuate your up tempo package.  Keep in mind you control the tempo and can speed up or slow down the pace of the game at any time.  If you are choosing to be Up Tempo make sure you use all the tricks of the trade to make your offense as effective as possible.


Defending RPO'S

RPO'S, That Dirty Offensive World

Today we are going to talk about adjustments to your base defense that can help you defend vs. the run pass option plays on offense.  First we need to define what run pass options are.  For me there are 2 different run pass option theories the offense can use.  The first one is based on numbers and leverage and is more of a pre snap read. I want to focus on the second one which is a post snap decision which puts the conflict on a defender with a run and pass responsibility.  These are usually better vs 2 High safety structures and zone concepts.  I will talk about some of our adjustments because we base out of 2 high looks and zone theories.

Defender's With 2 Jobs
The thing that makes defense a little tougher to play than offense is the fact you may have a run assignment and a pass assignment to execute, and you need to read the offense before figuring out which one you will be executing.  Offensive players usually know their assignment when the play gets called so they play faster.  Now within the rules of the game the RPO is making it even tougher on defenses because they are executing run plays with the oline and throwing passes at the same time.  In the old days you used to be able to tell players to read high hat or low hat for run or pass.  Now you get hard aggressive low hat run reads and the offense is throwing the ball behind you.  Lets face it, the 3 yard downfield rule for lineman is such a grey area you can not fully rely on officials making that call.  We need to structure some things into our base package that helps us defend these concepts. If you are a split field coverage team like we are one of the adjustments you can make is playing man to the side of the RPO, and zone away from the running back.  Man concepts certainly restrict the RPO theory because the man player is not conflicted with a run pass assignment.  In other words your safety playing man on a slot receiver will not be tied into your run fit.  This means there is no true "CONFLICT" on that player.  But you don't want to always be in man across the board because it will lead to giving up bigger plays.  If you want to stay in true zone concepts you can use line stunts to gap exchange your run fits and leave your apex lbers closer to their pass assignment.  You can also go to 1 high structures which will make it tougher on the offense to block the 6 players in the box. 

The last thing i want to discuss is using pressure as a changeup vs. RPO teams.  Adding a 5th rusher and changing the coverage behind the pressure can really muddy the waters for RPO teams.  I really like pressuring from the side of the back vs. RPO teams.  Im hoping to get the player they want to conflict a free run at the QB.  Let's remember that RPO football is really option football so they are going to leave somebody unblocked.  If its a second level defender they are reading then adding that player to the rush can get you a free run at the QB.  Now you can change the coverage looks behind the pressure.  It can be 3 Under 3 Deep, 4 Under 2 Deep, or Man Free.  Those are 3 very nice change ups that can mess with the QBS ability to process where to distribute the ball.  

Keep in mind that these are only slight wrinkles that can help you slow down the RPO teams.  If they have the marker last they can draw up other things to beat these wrinkles.  It is a constant chess match between the offense and the defense.  Have your adjustments, fit runs, get off blocks and make tackles. There is no magic dust.


Versatile Dart Play

The Tackle Wrap Dart Play

Today I would like to talk about the tackle wrap or "Dart Play" for offensive coaches.  The play is very similar to an isolation play with your BST acting as the ISO blocker.  It is a man scheme on the front side with a Center/Guard combination to the BSILB and the pulling BST iso blocking the PSILB.  It is a great 1 Back play because you have the ability to block a 6 man box with only 5 offensive lineman because the QB will read the backside DE.  You can also make it a little bit of a misdirection play by having the QB fake to the TB who will then kick the end vacated by the pulling tackle.  Now the QB will be the ball carrier following the pulling tackle.  The only downside to the Dart Play is the fact that its a man scheme.  You will need to win one on one match ups, and sometimes DL Movement and Pressures can cause some issues.  The beauty of the play is it is another way to make defenses defend option football and be sound in their schemes and assignments.

DART tagged With Jet Sweep

The next idea i want to share with you will show you how you can make the Dart scheme more flexible by adding variety.  You can run a regular Jet Sweep with one of your slot players while blocking Dart in the opposite direction.  For example you would combine Jet Right with Dart Left.  Your front side perimeter players and your TB will execute their assignments for the Jet Sweep play.  Your front side slot will block the overhang, while your TB leads up through the alley, while your WR stalks the corner or push cracks the safety.  The backside slot will execute the Jet Sweep.  Up front your Oline is blocking Dart Left which means the right DE is being left unblocked.  Your QB will now mesh with the Jet Sweep and Ride and Decide for 2 shuffle steps.  If the DE widens at all, your QB will pull the ball and run the Dart Left play.  If the DE crashes or squeezes off the inside release of the tackle the QB will give the Jet Sweep.  Now you have a chance to get the ball to one of your best players in space, or have a misdirection play with the QB keeping away from the Jet Action.  The pulling tackle will also slow the flow of the LBS down so they cant play the Jet Sweep as a full flow outside run.  This is a great way to get the ball to the perimeter without having to reach the play side DE.  This theory works real well against aggressive squeeze and spill teams that really take the air out of any inside releases by the tackle.

Just Throw It Where They Leave

The last thing I want to talk about today is the Dart Play as a run pass option.  This theory is going to allow us to conflict a 2nd level defender and take advantage of the fact he has 2 jobs to do on every play.  This in my opinion is truly only good against zone coverage defenses where we can throw the ball to voided out areas on the field vacated by a defender fitting in the run game.  If you get man to man it really just becomes a version of a play action pass and your receivers have to win 1 on 1 scenarios.  Now if you get teams that play 2 high safeties and give you a 5 man box then you are in business.  With a 2 high safety structure defenses are trying to give you the appearance of a 5 man box, then add outside LBS as fold players on the run.  It is these fold players that we will take advantage of with the Dart RPO.  Because we will read a 2nd level defender, we must block all the first level defenders.  This play will work better away from the A shade or 1 TECH.  To the side of the pulling tackle your guard will block out on the defensive end, and your center will block back on the 1 TECH.  You will still be man on the front side with the pulling tackle becoming the ISO blocker on the ILB left in the box.  Now your QB will read the overhang defender to the side of the pulling tackle.  If he has the open B Gap and he thinks it is run he will have to fold inside to get involved and eliminate that gap.  If he is a zone player than he also has some type of hook drop in a 2 high defensive concept.  What we are going to do is replace him with routes by wide receivers.  We can run snag by #1 and corner by #2.  We can run Vertical by #1 and hitch by #2.  We can run 5 yard in by #1 and Vertical by #2.  We are trying to occupy the grass that he is responsible for in the passing game while taking the top off the deep coverage to keep safeties and corners off the underneath routes.  This theory takes advantage of a defensive player with an immediate run/pass responsibility.

As you can easily see the Dart play is very flexible, and you can use it several different ways to stress a defense.  It can be a deadly inside run with option principles, you can attack the perimeter by tying it to the jet sweep, and you can use it as a Run/Pass Option vs 2 High structures with overly aggressive fold players.  Remember the execution of the play is the most important thing.  This simple package can diversify your attack while still allowing your kids to PLAY FAST.