to the AFCASummer Manual. Throughout my career, I have been blessed throughout my career to work with some outstanding coaches. Ron Randle- man\u2019s present staff is no exception. We have a great chemistry on our staff and share ideas on a regular basis. The con- cepts discussed in this forum are an aggre- gation of shared strategies and techniques from various sources. I wish to thank every- one who has contributed to my develop- ment as a coach.
Defensive coordinators present chal- lenges from a multiple array of packages. Stemming the front; jinking linebackers and secondary up and back, in and out to cre- ate confusion; pressure from stunts, dogs, full blitzes to zone blitzes all attempt to dis- rupt the continuity and flow of offense. We see more pressure/attack styles of defense today than ever before.
Even though we consider ourselves a passing offense, we realize that we would have to run the ball effectively to be a con- tender in the Southland Football League. As a one back team, to be able to run the ball against eight man fronts, we originally thought we needed to utilize either two tight ends or two back formations. Defenses adjusted accordingly, and we still had to run the ball in situations where we were outnumbered and outflanked. We decided to fight fire with fire. Our thought process was to expand the field with multiple for- mations to expand the defense to create running lanes and personnel mismatches.
The first formation we presented was quads, our four wide receiver set. We were able to split out our tight end who is a unique individual. At, 6-6, 260 pounds, 4.72 40 yard dash, he possessed the skills to play in space. This luxury allowed us to move back and forth from traditional tight end sets to four-wide sets without tipping our hand prior to deployment. While eight-man front teams were unaffected, seven-man front teams had to decide to sub a nickel back or let a linebacker play in space against our tight end. The defense also has to decide how they want to place their safeties.
Since we throw the ball very effectively, most teams utilized a two-high safety con- figuration that allowed them to play three on two in coverage. However, they realized this weakened the front\u2019s ability to play the run. They cannot effectively play three on
two and keep six in the box. Predictably, they tried to cheat the outside linebacker\u2019s in towards the box and still be able to drop into coverage (Diagram 1).
We present this as a weakness to be exploited by the quarterback. If the outside linebackers are not playing honest, he should attack immediately. We use several methods to achieve what we consider to be quick, easy yardage. The first method is to run the bubble screen to the inside receiv- er. We seldom make this a huddle call. We want the quarterback to check to this type of play when the opportunity presents itself. Depending on the huddle call, the play may be an audible in the traditional sense, or it may be a sight adjust between the receivers on that side with the quarterback using hand signals (Diagram 2).
able leverage on the outside linebacker. If he does not, this will not be an efficient play. (gain of four yards or more).
as he can straight away from the quarter- back. He should be looking over the inside shoulder. We do not want him to lose any ground and make this a lateral throw. We want him to get outside the numbers and up the sideline. We strive for the inside receiver to get 8-10 outside of his original alignment when he catches the ball. In order to do this he must be sprinting in an effort to maintain leverage.
first threat. We place the burden of success for this play on the shoulders of the block- ing receiver. He must have the complete
trust of the receiver if the bubble is going to expand quickly. He must eliminate the big hit on the play.
we want the offensive line to use an aggressive zone block to the playside (our three-step pass protection scheme). The tackle is responsible for getting the hands of the defensive end down so we can make the throw. If the quarterback is in the shot- gun formation, we may or may not alert the offensive linemen. We feel that we can get the ball off without interference from the defensive end because of the change in angle of the throw.
get the ball out of his hands as soon as possible. He should make a throw directly to the receiver. Do not attempt to lead the receiver. The quarterback\u2019s aiming point is to the hands of the receiver at the height of his numbers.
This play enjoys a two year average of 6.79 yards per catch with an 87 percent completion ratio. When the play is not suc- cessful, it is usually because the quarter- back is trying to get an easy play when the defense is playing honest with the inside receiver. We practice these throws from under center and in the shotgun every day during one of our special team periods. We only rep this play in scrimmage situations.
When confronted with defenses utilizing a single safety, we feel the need to extend the defense in a vertical manner. One of our primary weapons of choice is to attack the defense with the four vertical passing game. Last year we completed 45.5 per- cent of our attempts down field with an average of 34.7 yards per catch. We do not consider ourselves a long ball team. However, we realize the necessity to take our shots down field to loosen the defense. In 33 attempts on the year, we completed 15 strikes with the four vertical game which resulted in seven touchdowns.
The teaching progression begins with the receivers running their appropriate landmarks. We attempt to isolate the single safety with a high horizontal stretch with the inside receivers running down the seams of the three deep zones (Diagram 3).
persed two yards outside the hash marks. We give them a priority release, meaning they can release inside or outside of the
defender playing them. Obviously they would prefer to release inside. The key is clear the underneath coverage as soon as possible.
to the outside and run to their landmarks which is two yards outside the bottom of the numbers. We emphasize the outside receivers must give the quarterback a five- yard margin of error to their outside. We call this the quarterback\u2019s grass. T h e y should enter the quarterback\u2019s grass only to catch the football; never to get open. When faced with hard corner coverage the receiver should attempt to stack the defender. If the receiver can get the defender on his back, he allows the quar- terback to throw over the outside shoulder, throw to the hands or even slightly to his inside. If the wide receiver cannot stack the defender then the throw must be over the outside shoulder or slightly behind and out- side ( the under throw).
linebacker and the runningback is respon- sible for in the protection scheme. During the first two steps of his drop he will know if the runningback is engaged in protection or is releasing to his route. On the third step of the five step drop, the quarterback directs his eyes to the single safety. The move- ment of the safety will determine the side the quarterback will throw to. The quarter- back will use his eyes to move the safety if he remains in the middle of the field. We stress that the ball be place in the receiv- er\u2019s hands in the 18 to 22 yard range down field. Throws over 25 yards usually results in a lower percentage pass. He must be prepared to make his throw when the inside receivers clear the underneath cov- erage. If the defense seeks to involve the cornerbacks help on the inside receiver, then the throw should be to the outside receiver. We maintain that a higher per- centage throw will occur if he hits the out- side receiver in the 35 to 40 yard range down field.
on an option route. If his protection duties allows him to release, he must be a viable receiver for the quarterback. We never complain when the quarterback checks down to the back. We completed two pass- es to the back for gains of 15 and 28 yards.
When faced with a single high safety that has exceptional range, we may twist release the receivers to one side. This fre- quently will place the inside receivers on different planes and creates an oblique stretch on the safety which strains the safe- ty further. Versus man-to-man coverage, this technique allows the receiver second in the release progression to rub or bounce his coverage off. The read will remain the same or can start outside in for the quar- terback (Diagram 4).
Another variation to combat man-to- man coverage with an exceptional safety is to stop the outside receivers at 12 yards. This allows the inside receivers to widen their landmarks creating a larger stretch on the safety. This stratagem is also effective against zone coverage where the corner- backs are attempting to make plays on the inside receivers (Diagram 5).
Once we extended the defense, our run production increased from 3.5 yds/rush to 4.3 yds/rush. Our run game consists of the inside zone, outside zone, draw, speed and load options. In shotgun formation, we uti- lize the inside zone scheme with a read concept by the quarterback. This gives us the best chance of having an explosive play without the risks inherent with the option scheme. We can effectively control
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