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BYU Passing Game

BYU Passing Game

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Published by: mwuw on Dec 21, 2010
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e want to express our gratitude tothe AFCAand the program commit-tee for the chance that we have to spend afew minutes with you. We have a very goodfootball staff and you will meet our offen-sive guys, but we also have a very gooddefensive staff with Ken Schmidt, TomRamage, Barry Lamb and Brian Mitchell.We have been together a very longtime. We have competed against a lot ofyou and we are friends with a lot of you, soa chance to spend a few minutes with youis very gratifying to us.Lance Reynolds, who is the running-backs coach, Chris Pella, who is the tightends and special teams coach, RogerFrench, who is our offensive line coach andmyself will each spend a few minutes withyou.I know we don’t want to spend a lot oftime on philosophy, but I think if we expressour basic tenets as the hour goes on, it willmake a little more sense.Number one, we are going to protect thequarterback. If you decide to rush seven,we will block seven. If you decide to rush10, we will try to block 10. We are going totry to protect the quarterback. Lance andRoger spend a lot of time picking up blitzesand that is the basic tenet that we have.You may be better than we are, butschematically we will try to protect thequarterback.If we do decide to run a hot route, itbecomes very simple because what we tryto do is incorporate the unblocked defend-er in the play call. Whoever the unblockeddefender is, we will simply call that player’sname in the play call. That way the quar-terback, receivers and offensive linemen allunderstand that is the guy we cannot block.We actually point to him and we say wecan’t block him. If we don’t call him out,then the receiver progression is one, two,three. But, if we call out the unblockedd e f e n d e r, then the quarterback under-stands that his responsibility now in receiv-er progression becomes blitz one, two,three. We try to keep it as simple as that.Number two, we like to think we cancontrol the football with a forward pass. Iknow that is something of an anomaly, butwe want to do that. We played a game acouple of years ago, and we threw consec-utive 18 completions. The only reason wedid that, in my mind, is because they weresimple throws. Throws that were eight and10 yards that we thought we could make.We like to think that we can control the foot-ball. No one is more aware of possessiontime than we are. We understand that weneed to watch the clock and control theclock a little bit.Number three, we always try to incorpo-rate the run and the pass. That is obvious,right? You aren’t going to win footballgames just running the ball and you aren’tgoing to win football games just throwingthe ball. We like to think we can do both.We try to make it as similar as possible.Lance will talk to you a little bit about thepath of a halfback on a run that is the samepath taken on a throw that we have. We tryto incorporate both running and passingand make it look as similar as we can tocause a little bit of confusion.Number four, we are going to take whatthe defense gives us. I know that is simple,but it is very true. We are going to try totake advantage of what the other team isdoing on defense. During the course of agame, with the sophistication of defenses,coverages are disguised and the use ofzone blitzes and fire blitzes become veryhard to beat. We’d be lying if we said wesat up in the box and knew what coverageswere being run. What we try to do is take aportion of the football field, the weak flat forexample, and we will attack that until wecan figure out what the defense’s intentionsare. Then we try to attack the coverage thatwe see. It is very difficult to cover the wholefield. We are not going to try to fool any-body. We are going to take little portions ofthe field and try to attack them until thedefense declares what it intends to do.Number five, we feel very strongly thatyou need to KISS it. You need to KISS youroffense. You all know what that acronymmeans, you need to Keep It Simple, Stupid.I think the biggest mistake we make ascoaches is that we try to do too much.Lance does a great job of always remindingus, “Hey we are doing too much, we’redoing too much.” If you walk out of herewith nothing else but the idea that we try tokeep our offense as simple as we can, Ithink we have gotten the point across.Afew years ago, I was talking to a for-mer NFLcoach who has since retired. Hesaid, “What is the comfort level of yourquarterback in a critical situation? Thirdand four situation, what is the comfortlevel?” I was trying to impress him and actlike I knew what I was talking about so Iasked him what comfort zone meant andhe said, “Simply, how many throws doesyour quarterback feel confident making
BYU Passing Game
Norm ChowOffensiveCoordinatorBrigham YoungUniversityProvo, UtahLance ReynoldsRunningbacksCoachChris PellaTight Ends andSpecial TeamsCoachRoger FrenchOffensive LineCoach
when it is third and four and you have tomake the first down?” I said, “Maybe sevenor eight.” Then I turned and asked him,“What about you and your quarterback?”He said, “Two.” This is an NFLcoachcoaching an NFLquarterback. That hasalways stayed with me. We really feelstrongly that we need to KISS our offense.We will show you some diagrams andtranslate how we try to develop a footballplay. We like to think that you need a five-step game, a three-step game, you obvi-ously need to run, a play pass, a screengame and be able to move the quarter-back. If you can’t handle the pass rush, thequarterback needs to be able to move. Thatis what we have incorporated in our game,a three-step, a five-step, runs, play pass offthe run, screens and movement of thequarterback. That is simply how we try toput our offense together.The way we like to attack a defense iswith the passing game remaining curl, flat,four verticals and creating triangles andmismatches against man-to-man cover-age. That is a basic strong-side pattern forus. We try to create triangles. Everybodyunderstands horizontal stretches, routes,and vertical stretch routes. At BYU, we liketo develop oblique stretches. They are alldone to create stretches involved in a passoffense.Our quarterback’s progression nowbecomes a cover three read. One is if thecorner rotates over, throw the deep ball. Ifwe can’t throw deep, we will look for thetight end and that is called a sail route. Wetry to put him in that imaginary spot wherethe three deep zones meet. Our backchecks the protection and then goes to theflat.Now the quarterback reads one as there ceiver, two as the tight end and three as the back. All we have done is try to createa triangle depending on how the defensecovers. The quarterback’s read is to lookfor the go route and we tell him that twobecomes both X and the tight end. As myreceiver progression takes me to numbertwo and the defense is in a strong zonewith the strong safety trying to take awaythe tight end, we call this color flash. Wesee someone coming over to take the tightend away from his backside, who is proba-bly a guy from the deep third, then we tryto get the ball in that open area. We havetried to create a triangle. If, for some rea-son, they play route recognition and bringthe stud linebacker to seal, we tell ourquarterback to throw to the runningback.Now we want to present something dif-ferent with the same idea. If your opponentis rolling the zone over to the right side ofthe field and they bring in a linebacker tocut off some angles. What we try to do iscall play and use girl’s names for the hotlinebackers. We call the play and we end itby saying Wanda. We cannot block Wandaif he decides to come. Wanda hits it, nowwe become hot. The look now becomesblitz one, two, three.The reason we have done this isbecause we see that this linebacker is get-ting back into the tight end hole and wecannot get the ball to him like we want to.See, we have the tight end in a deep route,we have one back in the flat and we havethe halfback right in the spot where the studlinebacker left. That is how we try to attacka route depending upon the coverage wesee from the defense. If we see man-to-man coverage and think we can get by witha back against a run support guy, then whatwe try to do is get that guy on a get-awayroute. We call a get-away an option route.If the stud linebacker hits it, we turn it out.If the stud linebacker plays him man-to-man, then we give him room. If the studlinebacker is outside, we break in and justplay with the option game. We have takenone route or one pattern, if you will, and wetried to devise things to take advantage ofwhat an opponent does defensively.It is an honor to be with you. I am goingto try to emphasize most of my time on try-ing to utilize the runningbacks in the pass-ing game.The runningbacks have several key rolesin the passing game. One is protection. It isa big responsibility and anybody who coach-es runningbacks should take a lot of timeand effort to try to make sure that they filltheir role in that protection scheme, whetherit be blocking guys or hot releases or dealingwith the blitz in some kind of screen. Someway, we have to either block the blitz orattack the blitz. Some of it is in two-backsets, some of it is in single-back sets.The backs are critical to obtain the“stretch” that the quarterback guys arealways talking about. You needn’t do anattack zone cover whether it be in somekind of horizontal fashion, some kind of ver-tical fashion, or where we get a triangle tostretch a defense in an angle. Again, weare involved in all of those. We are going totalk about using tailbacks in man-to-mancoverage because most tailbacks are greatathletes.We are going to learn how to use screensand hot routes to attack a blitz. Most of ourfive- and seven-step routes read from deepto short. Since I have never met a quarter-back who didn’t like to throw deep, or didn’tthink the deep guy was open, we addedsome terms to some of our throws to helpget the ball to the backs and tight ends. Aterm like H-option will reverse the quarter-back reads, instead of going from deep toshort, he will go from short to deep.For example on the strong throw, if we just added the term F-option, what happensis the back becomes one, the tight endbecomes two and the post becomes three.What that does is make the quarterbackfocus his eyes on that option of the blitz. Ifthe blitz comes, he will throw it hot and theidea is now we can get our quarterback’seyes and attention on throwing a shorter,higher completion percentage throw. Wechange terms to get attention back on theshorter route, both with the quarterbackand the runningback. Some terms willchange the quarterback’s reads from deepto intermediate to short and some will not.
Lance Reynolds, RunningbacksDiagram 1Diagram 2Diagram 3
Another option we can talk about is theangle. We will take the back and roll himout, plant his foot and return it into the hole.Sometimes that stud linebacker will getback to take away that intermediate ball.We will start like we are going to the flatand roll back quickly. I think these readschange into a real high percentage throwand you can utilize your backs to beat mantwo coverage and also get into seams ofzones. We will call a play then add a termto it. The back is on a delay route, a termwe call rip. When the quarterback drops, heis going to go through his reads, high tointermediate to low, but it emphasizes inthe quarterback’s mind that if this line-backer drops to take away a sale, then heis going to throw the delay.The first one we will start with is our half-back option game. It is probably one of thebest ways to get the ball to a good receiveror a good runner.The first thing you needto do is evaluate your personnel and pick aguy who can run the H-option vs. man-to-man so that he can separate from people.Some players have a feel for that and someplayers don’t and it is very difficult to get aguy that doesn’t have much feel to run itcorrectly. I think it can be a real equalizersometimes. The option now being with thehalfback, we can run this off the strongroute or the weak stretch. In a normalroute, a receiver would be one, tight endcross two and the back would be three.When we add the term option in the half-back option, he becomes one. The tightend becomes two and the receiverbecomes three. So we will go from short todeep. First, he needs to align. You can’t runthis very well from the backfield unless youget the back over behind the tackle. Youcan’t run this play from a split backfield orthe offset I, but he needs to be where hecan get a quick release. This release needsto be an arc that gets a little bit of width. Wecan be no tighter than the inside leg of thetackle and there needs to be a little bend tothe release. It needs to be the same as ifyou were running a draw-trap. We want tomake it look the same to the defender onthat side of the field so he cannot recognizethe difference between the option or acomeback.Norm spent a minute on hot routes, thatis the term we use to discuss when we arenot going to block somebody, and on thisplay, we do not block the weakside line-backer. Depending on protection, we aregoing to adjust in one or two ways. With theback stretch release, the quarterbackchecks that if the linebacker comes, we willeither turn or we will swing. We plant ourfoot and push hard for two reasons. One,the way people play now, you have to getaway from the zone blitz. If they zone blitzan end to try and bring that weakside line-backer, make an adjustment and turn thatend and push hard to the sidelines and stayaway from the bad guys. Second, we needto be able to get ourselves in a positionwhere we can get rid of the ball quickly,because we don’t want the free safety to beable to disguise and stay high.The precision between the quarterbackgetting that ball to the backs in a hurry andthe width of the backs is critical. If the backgets the ball before the free safety getsthere, we think he can make a play on thefree safety or on the end. The timing andrecognition of it is critical on the hot ball. Ifwe are attacking a zone, then it is almostlike playground football. We will tell him torelease and he sees people drop, we tellhim to go get the hole with your feet. So, ifthat linebacker drops wide and a cornergoes deep, then the hole is going to beright between the weakside and middlelinebacker.The second we plant our foot,we need to throw the ball so we can exe-cute the play before the defense has anability or has time to close on us andsqueeze that route down.If you fish hook, it makes it real difficultfor the quarterback. So we want him to runright into the hole, plant his foot and get theball right now. If they do squeeze us, thenwe have the tight end coming over the topin the off curl and we will throw behind theguys that are squeezing. Now if they playus on another kind of zone, let’s say thewidth drops straight, the corner pressesand they have some kind of two deep andthere is a big hole. As we release and thatwidth drops, we say go get the hole. Weteach our players to crouch and becomevery small after they catch the ball so theyare harder to tackle. You can do someother things like turn your protection sothere is no hot guy.The only disadvantageis when you turn protection, you have topeek on the other side to watch out for newhot guys. So there are some things you cando with it by changing your protectionaround. If you have the right kind of backand you do it enough, the players get a lotof confidence and they love to be one-on-one with some grass out there. Usually thedefenders work like crazy to get nine guysaround the ball all the time. Especiallywhen you are running the ball.When you release and you see man-to-man coverage, you are going up andputting a move on and working it inside oroutside. When they release, they need toget up to that move point, shake, push, puton a definite move and then plant a footand now accelerate and use speed. I tellyoung players to take their time and reallymake a hard push. Now, at the move point,freeze the defender and go inside or out-side. Make the defender run. Now to getthis to where you are comfortable, youhave to be able to release, having in yourmind what you are going to do before youget there. You need to get the quarterbacksin a drill everyday with the runningbacks sothey can learn to recognize quickly andmake precision moves with good timingbetween quarterback and runningback.Coach Reynolds mentioned that I havebeen at BYU for a little while. I’m the newguy on the staff. This is my 14th season. Ifeel that it has really been a privilege towork with the offensive coaches at BYUand to work with the tight ends. During ourbest years, the tight end was a valuablepart of this offense. We are always trying tofind ways to enhance our offense, as a lotof teams have done. Sometimes you seean empty backfield, five wide receivers inthe game and people dislocate out of thebackfield. Traditionally, for our tight ends tocatch many passes, it creates a bit of aunique scenario in trying to recruit tightends that can fill a different role other thanline up, block a few times and run down thefield and catch a lot of passes.In recruiting, people ask me, what is yourprofile of a tight end at BYU? I would like torecruit 6-6, 265 pound guys who run 4.5. Ithink everybody in the country would like torecruit guys like that, unfortunately, we’re notable to do that. So, I’d probably settle for 6-5, 260 pound guys who run 4.6 and maybeonly have a 38-inch vertical jump instead of
Diagram 4Chris Pella, Tight Ends

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