There have been a lot of questions on the board lately about the Belly Series, D ouble Dive and

so forth. I have some experience with this play, so I thought it might be helpful to share what we do and what we know about it in this article f ormat. "Double Dive" is a generic term for what we call the "Belly Series" in our offen se. It is a cousin of the Wing-T Belly Series, but is somewhat different. What W ing-T coaches typically refer to as their Belly Series is really the Outside Belly Series. The play otherwise known as a Double Dive is typically referred to as t he Inside Belly Series (for instance, by Rob Reade at Augustana), and that series is the focus of this article. I guess the real reason we don t call it a Double Div e because to us 36 Belly is easier to say than 36 Double Dive and 18 Belly Keeper ch more manageable than 18 Double Dive Keeper Less syllables is always a good thin g. The play has its origins in the 1950 s and 1960 s, where it was predominantly run fr om full-house 3 RB attacks such as the Straight-T or the Wishbone. It was very p opular in Texas during those years, particularly with coaches such as Emory Bell ard from Texas A&M and Darrell Royal, both of whom made a living off of wishbone option attacks. The Belly was an excellent fit for those teams, because most of the ball handling skills necessary for the option game were transferable to thi s play. One of the only books written on the subject was titled The Belly Series a nd was written by former Yale coach Jordan Olivar, published in 1958. There was also a more recent publication put out by thingy Tighe titled The No-Frills Belly I Power Offense in 1997. The Belly is a play that threatens 3 separate points of attack all to the same s ide of the defense, very similar to the triple option, except without the pitch and read issues. Although the play originated from the full-house 3 RB systems o f the 50 s and 60 s, it has since evolved and been adapted to fit many different sty les of offense. Our base is typically a 2 RB set, and you can run the Belly Series out of any 2back formation (or any formation where you can motion to 2 RB's, like flexbone, DW, etc.): The first back (closest to playside) dives straight ahead, usually off center or guard depending on his alignment. The QB sticks the ball in his gut and rides i t in either a give or a fake (we make this as a pre-determined call). The second back (furthest from playside) drives laterally for a step, and then drives hard to the offtackle hole, coming downhill. The QB will ride him with either a give or fake as well. Finally, when the QB has disengaged from the second back he wi ll fake or run keeper around the end. All 3 points of attack are on the same sid e of the defense. Some teams run it as an option, like midline or veer with the first ride. We pri marily run it as a predetermined call. We feel the Belly Series give us the following advantages: 1. Very difficult play to defend because finding the football is difficult 2. Puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense to the playside 3. Relatively easy to install and teach (much more simple than triple option, wi th the same benefits) 4. Involves all backfield players as possible ball carriers 5. Base plays can be blocked multiple ways

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6. Can be run out of a ton of different looks, formations, and motions 7. There are a ton of possibilities for complimentary rushing and playaction pla ys 8. It gets back to the old "game of chess" in terms of having different answers to various defensive adjustments, all within the same series We run this play as a series concept, and it represents the primary series in ou r offense. The rushing plays in the series are as follows: BELLY- Base play, pre-determined give to either the first back or second back BELLY KEEPER-Fakes first and second back, with QB keeper around the end, playsid e G pulls BELLY COUNTER-Fake first man, hand outside to WB running backside counter (trap blocked), fake 2nd man BELLY OPTION- Midline or IV blocking scheme, with option as to who gets the ball (1st or 2nd man) BELLY HANDBACK- A crossbuck, fakes the first man one side, hands back to the sec ond man opposite side BELLY TOSS- Fakes the first man, then option pitch toss to the second back follo wing a pulling guard to the outside. We then have a variety of play action passes off of the base play, which we will discuss later in the article. We use man and inside zone blocking for the base "Belly" (depending on whether o r not we are being shaded, etc.) to either back. When we say inside zone we are re ally talking about a vertical push combination, for example, from a 3 tech DT to a stacked LB. The zone rotates very quickly. We can use a variety of blocking modifiers from there to change up the way we ar e blocking the base play: Belly "Trap" tells our OL to block the 1st man play like FB trap to the backside , so it's like a FB counter Belly "G" tells our OL to block the 2nd man play with the playside TE and tackle in a down scheme, and the guard kicking out EMOLS. Belly "Zap" is a play we use against defenses with 3 ILB's (43, or any stack loo k). We block it like "iso" and have the Z in the WB position loop through C gap and block the SILB for the second back. Belly "Bingo" is cross-blocked between the playside OT and TE, with the same gen eral effect as the G scheme. From a formation standpoint, we are very multiple, so we run off of the followin g rules: 1st man- you will run directly to the playside hip of the OL directly in front o f you. If we are in a set where the 1st man is on the midline (I formation FB, e tc.), then this will be the C's playside hip. If we are in an "offset" position (splitbacks, offset I, etc.), then it is the outside hip of the guard. 2nd man- you will always take a timing step to the playside and drive off of tha

t step to the outside leg of the OT, reading the blocking scheme and hitting it as downhill as possible. We run Belly from the following backfield sets: I formation split backs offset I offset HB (think wing-t 100 and 900 formations) We run Belly from the following receiver formations: 2 TE and "sniffer Z" 2 TE and "wing Z" 2 TE and "flanker Z" 1 TE and all of the same Z alignments SE 'over' unbalanced with X split out on same side as Y and Z We are probably 40% give to the first back and 60% to the second back. We have f ound that the first back can be a devistating play if the defense is over commit ted to stoping the second man. We don't run a lot of Keeper, because we've had a fairly immobile QB the last few years. We adapted by adding the Belly Toss play , which essentially accomplishes the same things as the Belly Keeper within this series. FIRST BACK STRATEGY: We used to not really focus on the first back fake up till about 2001. I mention this because other coaches mentioned using the "proximity fake" that wing-t tea ms use to the FB in their buck series. In 2001, we changed our QB steps from a r everse pivot to a direct open (exactly like veer option or midline option, depen ding on the backfield alignment) and dictated a long ride in the belly of the 1s t back on a give or fake, much like an option ride...very patient and very deadl y. It was a HUGE factor in the productivity of the play. We are very serious tea ching, timing, and selling that first back fake now. I would say that if you hav e the time and resources to devote to it, it is worth every second. When you are talking about where to attack with the first back, there are basica lly 2 different choices. You can have the first back hitting the "A" gap or firs t back hitting the "B" gap (with either a fake or give). Both have their purpose s. We, for example, will rarely run the first man in A gap against a 4-4 defense on the base play. It's just not a good numbers advantage. We may fake it up in there to hold both stack backers, however. When handing off, though, we'll try t o get outside the 2 or 3 technique against this look, out into B gap behind the vertical push combination we discussed earlier. If we feel like we need to hit t he A gaps against a 4-4 stack look, we are better served running Belly Trap. However, against an odd front (like a standard 5-2 or 3-4), we will run tight at the A gaps with the first back, right into the bubbles. This puts a great deal of pressure on the 2 ILB s and also serves to slow up the rush of an over-active N G. Many 52/34 teams will attack our Belly action downhill to playside. As soon a s backers see it, the playside ILB will come downhill hard to C gap to take away the second back. The backside ILB will plug hard into A gap to take away the fi rst back. When we see teams doing this, there are a variety of answers, but the simple handoff to the first back, if properly coached, can be as good as any. We work hard on coaching guards and our FB up on this type of defensive reaction. The playside guard essentially just rides his ILB out into C gap where he wants to go. That effectively eliminates him from the play. The backside G will block the backside ILB anywhere he wants to go. Typically this results in the G washin g him down to the inside. We coach the FB to read this block and make a small li ttle inside cut past the midline after he has cleared the line of scrimmage, jus

t enough for him to slip in behind his backside guard as he walls the over-pursu ing backside backer off. The result is usually a big gainer. We have scored 3 TD s from good distance on this simple adjustment. Teams that slant their NG really hard can be hurt with what we call Belly Read, wh ich is a first-back play, best run with the FB on the midline (like in the base I for instance). We will dive the FB straight at the butt of the C,and simply let him read the block. We have had success against hard slanting 50 teams, as well as 46 Bear teams with active NG s. It nearly always results in the defense returni ng to a more traditional 2-gap look with their nose. SECOND BACK STRATEGY: The second back is who we want to get the ball to in our offense. But, it can t wo rk without the defense respecting the first back. That s why it is important to sp end so much time on making that play successful (and even more important to teac h and practice the faking techniques). Timing is very critical for the approach of the second back. If the second back rushes his approach, the QB will not have time for a completely effective mesh w ith the first back, and the result is that you lose a good deal of the deception inherent in this play. The second back s first step is a lateral step where he pi vots playside, pointing his nose, nipples (yes, we say nipples) and toe to the s ideline. He must keep his leg coiled in a good power position as he steps. His s econd step is to drive directly to the off-tackle landmark, coming downhill with shoulders square. He must attack this way whether he is receiving the handoff o r faking. The key to maximizing the effectiveness of the second back play is to understand what the best blocking method to use will be at the point of attack. We always start by looking at our TE against their DE. Our base attack is to have the TE m an block the DE. We want to hit the ball up into C gap and drive the DE out of t he hole. We teach our TE to take the DE down inside, however, if he shoots C gap hard. The RB, who should be attacking downhill with square shoulders, would rea d this and take it tight off the outside hip of the TE. This is one of the first skills we try to teach. A very active DE can be dealt with by using the G blockin g scheme, or the Bingo cross block, whatever you prefer. The next thing we look at is whether or not the defense plays 3 LB s inside the TE box. If they do, this can present a problem. They will typically have the advan tage against a 2 RB set and can play true assignment football, with the backside ILB sitting on misdirection, the MLB playing your first back and the playside I LB looking for the second back. We have adapted to this several different ways. The best way is to align a WB / Z-Back type to playside (or motion him there). W e tell this player that anytime there are 3 LB s inside the TE box, he automatical ly has a Zap call. This results in our OL blocking that play like an iso, and the near ILB is blocked by isolating him with the WB, who loops through the off-tack le hole. The last thing you need to look at is which defensive back / invert / OLB is goi ng to be responsible for supporting off-tackle. This is where you will make your money with scouting the personnel and responsibilities of your opponent s defense . First things first, if you can control the invert with your QB Belly Keeper th reat, you should be in great shape. A true threat of the QB keeping the ball aro und the end will keep that extra defender out of your hair all night. However, i f your QB is not a huge threat, most teams will use that invert to help plug the second back play. If we play a team with a good invert in a 2-ILB defense (like a 5-2 Cover 3 Mons ter or a 4-4, for example), we will nearly always run with a Wing to that side.

The wing s primary responsibility is to block that player. So, between the WB bloc king him and the threat of the QB Keeper, you can at least slow that player down . Most of the time against any defense that has one deep safety, we are going to see an invert to playside. Another way to keep an invert in check (and get out of the necessity of having your Z as a Wing) is to have an effective quick passi ng game. If you can run quick slants, hitches, and outs to your Z who is now fla nked out, the defense will be forced to either move the invert into the passing lane OR role the CB up to jam, in which case the invert typically re-aligns as a high safety in a 2 safety look. If we see a team with 2 deep safeties from the beginning, however, we will flank that WB out as a wide receiver and move the CB out of the box. A team that play s with 2 high safety is then essentially reduced to having only 7 in the box, wh ich gives us the advantage, we feel. For this reason, we do not see many teams p lay a 2 deep look against us (which is yet another great advantage, because it l imits the coverages we see for our passing game). Another great way to get the advantage against to go unbalanced by putting the SE on the same he CB from the box automatically. Then, if you e your WB on the wing and use him to Zap. If you are trying to control, you can widen your nd force him to widen out of the box. an active defensive secondary is side as the TE. This eliminates t have a 3 LB defense, you can leav you have a 2 LB defense and an invert WB out into a twins / slot look a

In short, if you are multiple enough, you have a ton of different options you ca n use to keep that hole clear for the second back. It s just a matter of finding o ut what the defense is going to try to do to take it away, and NOT LETTING THEM DO IT TO YOU! BELLY KEEPER and BELLY TOSS STRATEGY: Belly Keeper is a play that is great to have as a legitimate threat, because it really will help you control the invert / OLB and keep him honest from plugging the heck out of C gap on your bread-and-butter second back play. The QB must be patient and fake well to both backs. We pull our playside guard, so that the pla y looks identical to the Belly G play. The important coaching point here is that t he second back hits no wider than the outside hip of the offensive tackle and ta kes his fake straight up the field. This play is best called when you have an invert or OLB who is filling C gap har d on the second back play. If you are very effective with your keeper, it allows you to get the Z out of the WB look fairly easily as well. For those of us who are not fortunate enough to have a good running QB, the Belly Toss serves the same function as the Belly Keeper, and is blocked exactly the sa me way. The difference is that after faking to the first back, the QB delivers a n option style pitch to the second back who is running hard to the outside. We l ove Belly Toss to the unbalanced look we described before, because you have a go od chance of outflanking the defense with blockers. The SE takes the CB, the Z t akes the invert player, and the inside fake to the first back holds the pursuit. The pulling guard is typically free to clean up any missed blocks or go directl y to the FS. Either way, you can get some big gains from this play if the defens ive scheme has committed that invert to helping stuff the second back play. COUNTER AND MISDIRECTION STRATEGY: When teams are playing the base Belly plays hard, it is time for your misdirecti on. Belly Counter is our primary answer in this situation. This is particularly effective against 2 ILB teams who plug downhill as we described above.

We dive the FB through the A-gap and have him fake as the first man. The HB take s his steps and begins flow as he would for the second man play. The Z (WB) open steps and comes down the line of scrimmage, between the QB and the backfield. QB fakes first back, gives an outside handoff to the Z, and fakes the HB offtack le on the "second man" play. We trap with the backside G, usually the DE, but al so could be the DT in an odd look (like a 30 or 50 front). Play has been very su ccessful for us, but you need a good runner at the WB position to make it go. As for the Belly Handback, we will line up and fake the FB in the A gap. The HB takes one step toward the FB fake side, just as he would if he was going to be t he second man. He then squares his shoulders to the opposite A gap and heads str aight up the field. The QB fakes the FB, then "hands back" to the HB on the oppo site side. You can block it straight up or just like the counter play with a tra p block. Out of the I-back looks, it is like the old crossbuck play, and from spli tbacks it is more of a true handback. RUNNING BELLY TO A MOTION BACK: We have gotten into this concept more heavily the last few years. We've had some exceptional Z-backs (as we call them...kind of our multiple flanker dude) and w e wanted to find some creative ways to get them the football in the run game oth er than the standard counters and reverses. We took a nod from the wing-t folks with their 3-to-4 step "orbit style" motion to get him into position to run any of the normal plays our RB's would run. We m otion him to about 5 yards depth at the backside B-gap on the snap of the ball. We then fake the first man up the gut. The motion back squares his shoulders to the playside offtackle hole, and comes downhill for the second man play. It takes a bit of timing to make sure the motion back isn't rushing the QB throu gh a great fake to the first back, but it comes rather quickly. We've been fortunate enough where our Z's have been some pretty special athletes over the last 3 years, and they are typically very dangerous and explosive, esp ecially on this kind of play. We have found that some of our opponents will focu s on them so much, particularly if we put them in this kind of motion, that we c an use it as a decoy and pretty much run ANYTHING to the backside and have it be like a misdirection play. We just have him motion and at the snap, he rolls his arms like he is getting a handoff (we don't even fake to him!) and I swear he a lways has SOME kind of effect on the LB's. PLAY ACTION PASSING: It is a thing of beauty to have an effective play action passing game that comes off of the Belly Series. When you add dangerous play action to a series that al ready has the ability to answer defensive adjustments and put defenders in confl ict, you have the ability to make some great plays. Our base play action scheme for the Belly Pass is to slide-protect aggressively to the backside (away from the backfield action) and fill with the faking RB s. Th e first back fakes hard to the butt of the guard, and handles any A gap to B gap penetration. The second back fakes to the outside hip of the offensive tackle, and is responsible for any C gap to D gap rush. The QB gives the FB a long ride fake, stabs the second back fake, and typically sets up over the offensive tackl e. Our favorite route combinations come from the alignment with the Z in the WB pos

ition. The SE on the backside runs a post right down the middle of the field. On the playside, the Z runs a corner route at 7-9 yards. The TE runs an out route at 5-7 yards, breaking underneath the Z. It s an effective combination that allows the QB to make a simple read. We will alter the SE s route to a post-corner look, particularly against 2 deep safeties. We will also have him run a very patient s talk and go route if we find that backside DB to be lazy. We have hit some homeru ns on this adjustment. We will sometimes run a nice TE delay pass from a pro look, with the Z flanked out as a WR. Fake the Belly as we described above. We ll run both the SE and the Z on the stalk and go routes. The TE will delay for a 002 count, faking a block. He wi ll then release into the flats at a smart angle. If the flat defender does not b ite, he releases shallow and tries to escape underneath. If the flat defender co mes up, he can take a more severe angle. Bottom line should be: if the flat defe nder (typically the invert you are trying so hard to keep out of your face) is N OT biting, then you shouldn t have to run this play. This is also a VERY effective play against the 3 ILB defenses. A 4-3 in a 2 deep safety look or a 5-3 will be particularly vulnerable to this pass. We will also run a very simple TE pop pass. We will fake the first back up hard in side, and quickly throw to the TE releasing right down the seam behind the react ing ILB. The QB simply rides a great fake and throws off the ear hole of the rea cting LB. We run a number of route combinations from our unbalanced SE look as well, but t he simplest and perhaps most effective is the Belly Swing Pass. We ll unbalance as described earlier, with the SE out wide on the same side as the TE. We ll put the Z on the wing on that side as well. As we catch the outside invert cheating to plug C gap for the second back play and working to quickly avoid the Z s block, we will call this play. It is essentially a bubble screen to the Z after faking th e Belly to both backs. The Z delays for a quick 002 count, and swings out while the CB is blocked by the SE. Hopefully this helps answer some of the questions coaches have had about this se ries of plays. Lots of coaches contact me for more information like playbooks or videos, and I d be more than happy to help. Please understand that right now, dur ing the holidays, I doubt I will get around to getting something together for yo u. However, if you want to send questions or talk on the phone about something, let me know. I ll be happy to help you out. Read more: d=948#ixzz1KpwO6BYr

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