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the clemson shotgun quick game passing attack

the clemson shotgun quick game passing attack

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Published by Michael Schearer

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Published by: Michael Schearer on Nov 17, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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First of all, let me say what a great honor

it is for the Clemson offensive staff to speak to you today. On behalf of our head coach Tommy Bowden we would like to express our gratitude to the AFCA and the program committee for this opportunity.

Rick Stockstill, who is our wide receivers coach, Burton Burns who coaches our run- ning backs and our offensive line coach Ron West along with myself will each spend a little time with you this morning.

As with any offensive system, several aspects must be executed with consistent precision in order to effectively move the ball and score points. One of the most important aspects that we feel is crucial to our success is the quick passing game. Because we run about 80 percent of our offense out of the shotgun, we must be able to execute the quick game out of the gun as well.

As everyone knows, you must have crisp timing in your execution of the quick passing game. We feel our timing is often better in the shotgun than it would be under center. We will still go under center on occasion with the traditional quick three-step drop (one big and two gather steps), but we prefer to be in the shotgun and use a catch and throw with our quick game route packages.

The components of our quick game
include the following facets:
The Snap

One advantage of the shotgun game is that the zone dropping linebackers or sec- ondary won't get as fast a read that a quick pass is coming as they would if the quar- terback went under center and did his quick three-step drop. So instead of buzzing flat underneath routes, the linebackers/defen- sive backs must hesitate a little longer to clear the run or drop-back passing game. Another advantage of the shotgun is that the quarterback (especially if he is under six feet tall) can get a better pre-snap read of the defense because he is lining up five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Our pre-snap read will determine which side of the formation the quarterback will work after snap. If the snap is poor (extremely high or low) then the shotgun becomes a disadvantage because the quarterback has to shift his eyes completely to the ball and he will lose his pre-snap read.

We want our centers to snap the ball firmly around chest-high and preferably to the right side of the quarterback's chest (if the quarterback is right-handed). The

important thing with the center snap is that it is firm and consistent. If the snap is con- sistently to the left of the quarterback, then you can move the quarterback\u2019s stance to the left to compensate. It is also important that the centers work diligently on their snaps while taking their protection steps (either man or gap protection). It helps to have a flexible center and he must be able to sit on the ball to be effective. A high snap is often the result of a center's rear end raising up to soon.

Our quarterback will line up five yards from the ball with his arms out (but elbows bent) to receive the snap with a slightly staggered stance (right foot to left heel) with the feet underneath the arm-pits.

The Catch and Throw

The quarterback will get a pre-snap read before the cadence and then prepare himself to catch and throw the ball as quickly as possible. We use the analogy that he is a shortstop in baseball preparing to turn the double play as he will move his hips and his feet while his hands work to get the laces on the ball. It is important that the quarterback work his hands and feet quickly and that he is surveying the cover- age as he gets the laces. The quarterback (with a decent snap) should be able to catch and throw in 1.4 seconds or less. We work on this technique more that any other in practice and the best drill we do for this is when we feed a quarterback five balls from a bag as quick as we can and he must catch and throw them with accuracy.

Because we will determine what side of the field we will attack with our pre-snap read, the quarterback's eyes can focus on the ball with peripheral vision on that half of the field as he readies his feet, hips, and shoulders for the throw. And we remind our quarterback's, timing and accuracy are more important than velocity.

The Routes

All of our quick game routes (except the fade) have pre determined steps so it is important that our wide receivers get in a good stance and do not false step. They must be physical and quick versus press man and they must attack the defender's outside shoulder on the snap (slot receivers will attack over their alignment in zone coverage).

It is very important in our many forma-
tions that our wide receivers have the prop-
P r o c e e d in g s
7 8 th AFCA Convention
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The Clemson Shotgun
Quick Game Passing
Br ad Scott
Coor dinator
Clemson, S.C.
Rick Stockstill
Wide Receiver s
Burton Burns
Ron West
Offensive Line

er alignment on all of our plays and spacing is very critical in our quick game. Our base alignment in our four wide receiver set has our outside receiver to the short side (X) five yards from the sideline; our outside wide receiver to the wide side (Z) is five yards outside the hash; our inside receiver to the short side of the (H) splits the differ- ence between the X and offensive tackle; our strongside slot (Y) lines up one yard inside the hash. As a general rule, in near- ly all of our formations the wide receiver will always have five to six yards between them and the nearest offensive player. Our receivers have their inside foot up in their stance.

Our quarterback is five yards from the ball in the shotgun, with our tailback also at five yards directly behind the tackle.

The Protections

We will use either a gap or man protec- tion-based on our formation. However, occasionally the protection will be based on the defensive scheme we are attacking if the formation allows for either man or gap protection. In both cases, our offensive line will be aggressive on the line of scrimmage and will attack the mid-section of the rush- ers to keep their hands down and not allow penetration.

The Read

Most of our quick game route packages are mirrored routes so we can work on either side of the defense. This allows our quarter- back to have a helpful pre-snap read and to force the defense to balance their coverage from sideline to sideline. Our quarterback will always locate the free safety before each snap and then take a quick pre-snap read of the coverage before having the ball snapped. With the many disguises, rolled coverages and variety of coverages that are employed with today's defenses the quarter- back must not rely solely on the pre-snap read to determine where to throw, it will, how- e v e r, help him to pick a side to work.

The post-snap read depends on the route package but most of the time it is the flat defender (a corner with a two-safety look or a Will linebacker/strong safety with a sin- gle look).

Quick Game Route Packages

We have four quick game route pack- ages that we will use in every game. We like to use a multitude of formations with each package, particularly with all of our

spread formations. We feel that the execu- tion of these packages is vital for us in order to have an answer for the many dif- ferent defenses that we could face. T h e s e four packages include:

Wide Receivers: Run five step hitch

(sell the fade); inside foot is always up it the stance; snap head and elbow back to quar- terback on fifth snap.

Tailback: In backfield, block protection
in no-back formation, run hitch.
Offensive Line:Man or gap aggression
Quarterback: Pre-snap read for softest

coverage; if the coverage is equally soft, then work the shortest throw; post-snap read the flat defender to the side you pick. Catch and throw as quickly as possible.

N o t e s :We like to throw the hitch pack-

age out of many formations and the wide receiver's will not convert their route on the run if the corner squats or lines up in press. We will, however, change to another pack- age (slant or fade/bow) before the snap if we think it is a hard, two-deep corner or if we like one of our match-ups in press coverage.

Wide Receivers: Run three step slant

(attack outside shoulder of defender) and in at about 45 angle. NEVER go behind the d e f e n d e r. Inside (slot) receivers should break flatter verses press coverage.

Tailbacks:Block protection of play fake
in front of the quarterback. (Diagram 4).
Offensive Line: Man or gap aggression
Quarterback: Pre-snap read the cover-

age; post-snap read the flat defender. Catch and throw (you may need to squeeze the trigger and hold the ball for a fraction of a second if it is Cover 3 and the flat defender sits in the throwing lane).

Notes:We like to throw the slant ver-

sus a two-deep safety defense and we will sometimes have the back fake a run play before he protects to hold the out- side linebackers.

Wide Receivers:Outside receivers (X

& Z) run a fade route (must outside release); inside receivers run a four-step speed out. (We call this a bow route) The X & Z must fight to stay at least three yards in bounds.

Tailbacks:Block protection or play
Offensive Line:Man or gap aggression
Quarterback:Pre-snap read the cover-

age; post-snap read the flat defender or find the best match-up versus man cover- age. Catch and throw as quickly as possi- ble. Versus hard corner two-deep stick the ball in the hole to X or Z. When throwing the

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7 8 th AFCA Convention
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