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The Pistol Offense The two most popular schemes in both high school and college football are

the inside and outside zone sets with the play action that follows them. Combined with an element of misdirection and you have an offense that potentially has “No Limits”. This is exactly the type of offense Chris Ault has implemented with the Nevada Wolf Pack when he transformed the “I” formation into his own creation. Chris Ault was in a major need of an established rushing game to compliment his pass happy Wolf Pack. He was never one to settle with “Traditional” and didn’t want to use the same zones and gaps schemes that most other teams implemented in their offenses. He wanted to be more innovative, thus the Pistol was born. Let’s just say that his little invention netted the Wolf Pack over 200+ rushing yards and the 3rd ranked rushing offense for 2008 and 2009. The Concept The Pistol Offense is a variant of the traditional “I” formation, except the FB is not used. The offense focuses on spreading the defense using 113 personnel. The QB lines up 4 yards behind the center and the HB is 3 yards directly behind the QB. His positioning is the key for this offense. He is hidden behind the QB making it harder for defenses to “key” in on him. Also, due to his positioning, he only has to take 1 lateral step before running downhill, allowing him to hit gaps faster and at greater speed, which throws off any defensive line. The QBs position allows him to read the defenses easier than the Spread, and have the added protection that his depth provides. The ball is snapped to the QB faster, which changes the timing of formations or multiple TEs combined with a fullback for added pass protection. Also, handoffs occur 3 yards shorter than SG sets, providing faster timing for a more effective run game. Like with most Spread based offenses, the Dual Threat QB is dynamite in this offense, using his legs in options and keepers, and his arm off of PA Boots. The Run Game The Pistol was designed with the rush in mind. Every scheme involved is very simple, but through motions and multiple looks, the rushing game is effective. Chris Klenakis, Offensive Coordinator for the Wolf Pack, believes in using motion, pre-snap, to throw off defenses, but keeps everything simple post-snap for his players. This allows the rushing to very effective. Klenakis emphasizes three main schemes in his attack: the inside zone, the outside zone, and the horn play. Concepts Slice (the Inside Zone) The Slice is the bread and butter of the Pistol, being ran often due to its quick hitting nature. The Slice is like most other inside zones, but Klenakis focuses on 2 double teams at the point of attack allowing the HB with many different options of which gap to hit. The TE is responsible for shifting off

In order to escape the congestion. with the DE blocked inside and usually hindering backers to flow to the carrier. When motion isn’t used. and the backers are flowing outside. You have to read the DE and the flow of the LBs. The QB reverses pivots and the HB takes 2 steps inside then runs across the QB. they provide you with a distinct numbers advantage. or coming across of the formation to seal the backside DE. feel free to cut it up the B or A gap and take it up the middle. do not be afraid to cut back. Your goal is to play off tackle. Always remember to only get enough room you need to turn the corner and head up field to pick up yards. take the ball outside and hit the C gap. do not be afraid to look to the backside B and A gaps. The play comes in many different sets and size from the Strong Power. The Horn is much like your Counter or Power O of tradition offenses. The TE is responsible to gap the backer and seal the C-Gap. The choice point of attack is the B gap. but you are not limited to any gap. or even reverse slams. However. View the play diagrams: View the play in action: Stretch (the Outside Zone) Many teams will start sending a variety of inside heat to slow down the Slice. if the center comes off and checks up the MLB.the LOS to check down the backer. the run is typically called from a Trips formation with the TE play side. This will be the play that you will use very often in your offense. The Stretch is generally run off the TE. but if the defense overplays the Trips. but again is the B or a gaps opens up. then cut up the A gap behind him. Not only do you create matchup problems in the passing game. Klenakis will run the Stretch. The backside tackle is responsible for cutting off any backside pursuit. you will see pre-snap motion to disguise the run and provide extra protection for the HB. The front side tackle pulls out and acts as the lead blocker. If the backers crash in. and the backers are holding ground. Now the play is designed to run off tackle. If the DE is blocked outside. If the DE is blocked inside. Your main concern is the DBs playing the outside. The . if the DE is blocked outside. Counter. and Klenakis will often use motion to gain an extra blocker on the edge. the cut up the B gap. Watch your double teams. You would treat this much like the Stretch. you’ll be surprised by the room that the line creates. Often times. Lay off the turbo until you make the turn. and will be the running play called 90% of the time when you’re coming to the line to read the defense. View the play diagrams: View the play in action: Horn (Misdirection) The element of misdirection is achieved through the Horn. The Horn is always used to the TE side in the Wolf Pack’s spread sets.

turn the ball up field and get as much as you can. if the DE is undisciplined and rushes to stop the HB. Get used to the feel of this play. At the snap. Thankfully. If the DE stays home. or become the leading rusher with designed sets for him. the read-option again comes into play with the Pistol. because it is a big part in our offense. In previous years. but the PS DE is left unblocked and becomes the main threat at shutting down the option. then stay on the perimeter and take off down the sidelines. If he is held. the QB hands off to the HB and lets him shoot for the gap. this year EA has heard our prayers and the RO was fixed*. the QB fakes the handoff and takes off the play side with plenty of grass ahead of him.Backers are generally behind the pulling tackle and are of little concern. as he can take off and scramble from any point. The hand-offs were god awful. View the play diagrams: View the play in action: The Option The Pistol thrives with a dual-threat QB at the helm. never were fast enough. View the play diagrams: View the play in Action: . His depth really makes him the biggest threat on the field. The play runs exactly the same as in real life. and you must read the opposing DE. If he comes after the HB. and the DE would react perfectly every time. The Read-Option Typically the BnB of the Spread Offense. the offensive line cuts away from the play side sealing any backside pressure and creating a hole for the HB. then keep it and find daylight. Let’s take a look at these sets. the Read-Option out of the Pistol has been considered broken. The offensive line seals the backside. The QB takes the snap and reads the DE. If the DB cuts loose. if he stays put hand off the HB.

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