sible in order to make the linebackersexpand which will open the windows for theYand X to mesh.The quarterback always reads high tolow while taking a three-step drop from theshotgun formation(Diagram 1).Note: If the Yand X read man coveragethey will continue to run after the mesh pointwith a slight bend up field (Diagram 2).
II. Shallow Cross
The complimentary pattern to the meshis our shallow cross. The objective of thispattern is to give the mesh look but have ahigh-low read on the linebackers.The Yruns the crossing route by replac-ing the heels of the defensive linemen. Hemust continue to run no matter the coverage.The H pushes at the outside number ofthe flat defender and runs a 10-yard digroute. As he runs up the field, we prefer forhim to get over the top of the flat defender.However, if he cannot, he will stem theroute back inside as he continues to hisproper depth.The F runs a shoot route graduallyworking to three yards once he reaches thenumbers.The Z will run either a go route or a 15-yard curl while the X runs vertical.The quarterback reads the cross (Y) #1,dig (H) #2, and the shoot (F) #3 while tak-ing a three-step drop from the shotgun for-mation (Diagram 3).If the Z runs the curl route, the quarter-back will then read the cross to the curl-flatcombination (Diagram 4).This pattern can be run different waysby changing the receiver who runs thecrossing route. For example, if Z goes onthe cross, then Ywill run vertical. All theother receivers will stay the same. Theonly change for the quarterback’s progres-sion is now Z becomes his first look(Diagram 5).
Implementing the Plan
No matter what offense you run, yourpractice routine is crucial to your successas an offensive coach. Our schemes arevery simple, but we work hard to becomegood at the few things that we do. Ourpractice plan is concise and emphasizesgetting as many repetitions as possible in avery short period of time. Our best practicedrill is called Routes on Air. We do this drilleveryday during preseason practice andtwo times a week during the season. Also,remember that time is one thing that cannotbe replaced.
I. Routes on Air
This particular drill involves everyoneexcept our offensive linemen. Ourreceivers and runningbacks line up in abase formation. All five of our quarterbacksline up side by side in a pre-snap position.Across from the line of scrimmage (35 yardline), seven dummies are aligned to repre-sent a particular coverage that we will seein the game that week. The extra receiverswill line up behind their respective positionsand wait for their turn to run the route.Once everyone is lined up correctly, thecoach will then call a play.All the receiversrun their routes while all five quarterbackstake their drops. Each quarterback willthrow to one of the five receivers. Eachreceiver will catch the ball; turn straight upthe field and sprint to the end zone.During this drill, the receivers will workon proper alignment, stance and starts, andrunning good routes. Also by making themsprint to the end zone, the receivers arebeing conditioned. The quarterback’s playis probably one of the most importantaspects of this drill. The quarterbacks willread each route in a certain progression.For example, the quarterback with the firstread will throw his ball once he hits his laststep. The quarterback with the fifth readwill look at the first four receivers before hereleases his ball to that receiver. Inessence, the balls will be released in atypewriter fashion. After this play is com-pleted, then the next group of receivers willline up and replace the receivers who justparticipated. The quarterbacks will rotateand throw to a different receiver.Thisprocess will be repeated five times so thateach quarterback will throw all five routes.If the balls are not being released in theproper order, then we know there is a prob-lem with one of the quarterbacks knowinghis progression of reads.This is just one example of a drill thathas been very important in developing ourpassing game. In fifteen minutes, we canrun every one of our plays at least fivetimes. Again, this drill allows us a lot of rep-etitions in a very organized short period oftime (Diagram 6).
II. Scramble rules
At least once a week we work on con-tingency football. We like to practice situa-tions that crop up during the course of thegame. By doing this, we give our players aplan of action in case a play does notexactly work according to plan. One suchsituation that presents itself at least once agame is the quarterback scramble.Basically, we give everyone on the fieldlandmarks to reach in case a “broken” playarises.Our “scramble” rules tell the deepest
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