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tcu option attack

tcu option attack

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Published by Michael Schearer

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Published by: Michael Schearer on Nov 16, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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On behalf of Texas Christian University,

Head Coach Gary Patterson, and the entire offensive coaching staff, I would like to say that it is a great honor and privilege to be included as a contributing member to the 2003 AFCA Summer Manual.


Throughout the course of my coaching career, I have been fortunate enough to have extensive exposure to the option from several great football minds. This exposure began with my father who worked under Bill Yeoman at the University of Houston during the time that the split back veer was first designed and introduced into college football.

I was next allowed the privilege of work- ing for 11 years under the tutelage of Dennis Franchione (currently the head coach at Texas A&M University) who has successfully used the option at seven dif- ferent schools. It is necessary that I men- tion these names to you because it is essentially many of their ideas that I have adopted and am sharing with you today.

Why Option

There are four main reasons that I believe in the option and have chosen it to be a staple of TCU\u2019s offensive attack. First of all, it is a unique play. It is something that allows our offense to be different, and it forces the defense to prepare for some- thing that they do not see every week. Next, the option provides us a simple way to deal with a blitzing defense.

The option has become an active part of our blitz menu and, as a result, has greatly reduced the amount of blitzes that we see. Third, it forces a defense to play assign- ment-oriented football on every snap. Finally, it allows us a way to attack the perimeter while eliminating one critical block at the point of attack.

Which Option

Throughout my career and continuing here at TCU, I have been a big believer in the double option. Here at TCU, we have implemented a way to build the double option so that it complements our inside zone, another staple of our offense. It is also a play that does not require as demanding a time investment as the other forms of the option, such as the inside veer. Thus, we can avoid becoming one-dimen- sional and can still focus on developing the other facets of our offense.

Lead Option

While there are different forms of the double option (loaded option), and while these different forms can be run out of many formations, backfield sets and motions, the focus of this article will be on running the Lead Option out of a one-back, four-wide out, balanced formation.

When I talk about the Lead Option, I am referring to the double option (quarterback pitch or keep) where we read the five-tech- nique as our pitch key. We run this play for two primary reasons. First, it provides us a way to diversify our offense with play that complements our inside zone scheme. Second, the Lead Option allows us to attack the perimeter without blocking the five-technique, which is generally one of the defense\u2019s better players.

Teaching the Lead Option
Quarterback: To run the Lead Option, we

ask our quarterback to first identify the pitch k e y. It is crucial that he understands he is only to pitch the ball off of this defender. Pitching off of another defender can compromise the play and can lead to negative yardage. An example of this would be pitching off of a line- backer who has run through a gap. T h i s would allow the pitch key, who is unblocked, to run free and prematurely tackle the pitch man behind the line of scrimmage.

The next point of emphasis for the quar- terback is his footwork. He will reverse out taking his first steps (working off the clock) at six o\u2019clock, seven o\u2019clock and pivot (the first two steps are identical to our inside zone play). The pivot should bring the shoulder pads around until they are squared to the pitch key. Now the quarter- back should attack, using the pitch key\u2019s inside shoulder as his aiming point.

By attacking the inside shoulder, we are forcing the pitch key to make a decision to take either the quarterback or the pitch. The quarterback must be prepared to run the football if the five-technique has com- mitted himself to the quarterback, then the quarterback will attack hard enough to

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