Ke e p t h e “ D ” on T h e ir He e ls : B o bc a t P la y A c ti on A tt ac k

n behalf of West Virginia Wesleyan College, I would like to thank the Summer Manual committee and the AFCA for the opportunity to contribute to the 2003 Summer Manual. West Virginia Wesleyan is a proud charter member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which participates at the NCAA Division II level. This past season, the Bobcats finished as the WVIAC champions with a 6-1 conference record. Many factors contributed to our team’s success from our players’ extraordinary effort and a group of outstanding assistant coaches; Paul Price (defensive coordinator), Ron Boyd (offensive line), Andy Upton (wide receivers), Adam Martiny (defensive line), and John Fey (secondary). During my 20 years as a head coach I have always strived to have a balanced offensive attack. This year, our offense finished 22nd in the nation, averaging 417 yards per game (4,588 total). We were 15th nationally, rushing for 221 yards a game (2,431 total) and averaged 196 yards a game passing. Playaction yardage accounted for 45 percent or our passing attack production. Benefits of Play-Action 1. Gives the offense an effective pass play off of their own strong run action or run tendencies. 2. High yardage production on each completion. 3. Most play action passes open up cleanly making an easier throw for the quarterback. 4. Gives the defensive personnel inconsistent reads that will make them guess and will take away their attack mentality and aggressiveness. 5. Will help open up the running game against a defense designed to stop the run. 6. Can incorporate different positions (wide receivers, tight ends and runningbacks); spread the wealth and keep everyone involved. 7. Players without burning speed can be effective. Fundamentals Necessary for Effective Play Action Offensive Line 1. Be consistent on selling run to the defensive line and linebackers with drive block mechanics firing out hard with an aggressive first step. Man on, stay low, maintaining blocking surface keeping the


defender’s hands down, move feet. Man off (linebacker), first step aggressive to draw linebacker up take second step for balance being prepared for blitz or hard fill then ready to help other offensive linemen. Coaching Point: Make sure your men up front understand the rule for illegal lineman downfield. If uncovered we want our offensive linemen to sell linebacker by going no more than 1-2 yards, if covered block aggressively maintaining blocking surface, if you move the defender downfield after 3-4 yards stay down! Backfield 1. Simulate the run action (Iso, Power, Dive etc.) at the same quickness of an actual run play. 2. Maintain a good mesh point with the quarterback so the fake does not occur on air but in the pocket of the runningback. 3. Make pocket with arms as usual rolling over top with shoulders and upper arm at mesh point with quarterback to hide your pocket. 4. Sell run into the line of scrimmage keeping shoulders down to be able to hide your pocket as long as possible making the defenders think you have the football. Quarterbacks 1. Use two hand fakes whenever possible, never fake on air. Make sure quarterback uses quick steps to get to mesh point with runningback. 2. Look runningback into the line of scrimmage with your eyes to help sell the play. Depending on play design, some looks can be longer than others. 3. Have the quarterback hide the fullback in the “V” of his crotch in a vertical position so the defenders cannot see the ends of the ball. Your most effective play-action passes will come from the run actions that your offense is most successful with, at West Virginia Wesleyan they are (Iso, Power, Dive and Counter-Tre). Diagram 1 shows our Iso Pass from an I-Pro formation. This is a pass that we have had a lot of success over the years using on the first play of the game or on a first and 10 situation when the Iso run play is used most frequently. If we notice a real active free safety on run support we will use this to try and get behind him. It is a big yard gainer or touchdown. And if incomplete, it will help keep that free safety more honest and slow run support when he sees the Iso action.

Diagram 1

is our primary receiver but with both the Z and X wide receivers easily incorporated. Assignments Quarterback: Open at (5-7); use quick steps to get proper mesh with the tailback. Use two hand fake placing ball in “V” of crotch and a quick off hand action following tailback. Use a quicker look with your eyes and start boot action. Use guards block to break contain and find the tight end on his route. Coaching Points: Don’t throw over linebackers, find tight end in open voids, throw on run attacking line of scrimmage, run for positive yardage if tight end is not open.) Fullback: Fill for pulling guard, block first man that shows that side of the center. Tailback: Use power steps going off tackle. Make good mesh with quarterback rolling over top of the quarterback’s ball fake, keep shoulders down and block defensive end. Flanker (Z): Vertical outside release fade route (possible post tag). Split End (X): Vertical outside release fade route (possible post/corner tag). Tight end: Inside release run route (715); look for ball in open voids. Front Side Tackle: Aggressive inside lead step. Front Side Guard: Pull and sickle, block defensive end through the outside thigh. Center: Aggressive front side lead step. Back Side Guard:Aggressive front side lead step. Back Side Tackle: Aggressive front side lead step. Diagrams 3 and 4 show play-action passes to the tight end and wide receivers off of fullback dive action. In going to the tight end we want to hit the tight end in the vertical seam just as he is clearing the front side linebacker. The slant routes to the wide receivers have been effective particularly against two deep cornerbacks with limited underneath support.

Assignments Quarterback: Open opposite at six o’clock, work depth to tailback. Two-handed Iso fake placing ball in “V” of crotch to hide from defense, use off hand to extend out towards the tailback as separation develops. Slightly hesitate and freeze eyes on tailback then take a gather step and make read: 1. Read free safety, if he is reacting and attacking the run throw post to Z. 2. If free safety sits in third, look for X on the deep out. Good safe throw. Fullback: Attack and block area outside of the front side tackle (C gap). Tailback: Use Iso steps and make fake with quarterback attacking into the line of scrimmage. Be ready to block after selling fake! Flanker (Z): Run eight-yard post, cut, get behind free safety and look for ball. Be ready to run to it. You are primary receiver. Split End (X): Run 18- to 15-yard out. Look for ball. Tight End: Aggressive inside lead step protecting the quarterback’s backside. Front Side Tackle: Aggressive inside lead step (B Gap). Front Side Guard: Sell Iso block (double team with center) versus an odd front, block man on. Center: Aggressive front side lead step (double with guard vs. odd front), check for A gap blitz. Backside guard: Aggressive inside lead step. Backside tackle: Aggressive inside lead step. Diagram 2 shows our power or off tackle play-action pass. On this play, the tight end

on ball and get quick delivery. Hit the tight end just as he clears the linebacker. Fullback: Take dive steps attacking into the line of scrimmage selling the run. Roll over top of quarterback’s fake. Tailback: Block defensive end that lined up over the tight end, get his hands down. Can be from offset alignment or I Pro. Wide Receivers: Gain inside position on cornerbacks showing stalk block to sell the run. Offensive Line: Aggressive front side lead steps. Coaching Point: Uncovered backside guard or tackle is responsible for edge rusher).

Diagram 4

Diagram 3

Assignments Quarterback: Open (5-7), quick twohand mesh with fullback, keep two hands on ball and get quick delivery. Hit wide receiver on slant route. Check front-side wide receiver then backside if needed. Fullback: Take dive steps attacking line of scrimmage selling the run. Rollover top of the quarterback’s fake. Tailback: Attack and block area outside of tackle (offset alignment). Wide Receivers: Both run slant routes Tight End/Offensive Line: Aggressive inside lead steps, get hands down! Diagram 5 shows a very successful play action pass for us off of our tailback countertre run action. This is a progressive read for our quarterback looking at our flanker (Z) first on the fade and then reading the underneath coverage looking to the fullback in the flat and then the tight end up the seam.

Diagram 5

Diagram 2

Assignments Quarterback: Open (5-7), quick twohand mesh with fullback, keep two hands

Assignments Quarterback: Opens at (5-7), fake dive

to fullback, gain depth and fake the counter-tre to the tailback. Boot off fake read route progression in this order: 1. flanker (Z) on fade, 2. Fullback in flat, 3. tight end up the seam. Fullback: Make dive fake, get out run arrow route (5-6 yards) in flat. Tailback: Make counter-tre steps and sell fake into the line of scrimmage draw attention! Flanker (Z): Use a slow release selling

stalk block then accelerate by cornerback on fade route. Split End (X): Clear cornerback with outside release (fade). Tight End: Control outside lead step blocking defensive end, encouraging him inside, release up seam when fullback clears. Look over outside shoulder for the ball. Offensive Line: Use same counter-tre blocking scheme with the guard and tackle pulling.

Again, on behalf of the West Virginia Wesleyan football program I would like to thank the AFCA for the opportunity to contribute to the 2003 AFCA Summer Manual. I hope that some of you will find use with what we do here and our play action. Everyone on the offense must sell the play to make it be most effective! Please feel free to contact our staff or me if we can be of assistance in any way.

AFCA Guidelines Regarding Probation
(Note: These guidelines have been prepared III. The coach who leaves an institution in in conjunction with Article Nine of the AFCA Code good standing and moves to another instituof Ethics. It is meant to clarify the actions that are tion which has “major” probation problems taken by the AFCA when a member’s institution not brought about by the new head coach: is on NCAA or NAIA probation). The first two restrictions listed in Section I will apply to the head coach, since any success his I. The coach that creates a “major” proba- present team enjoys will be due in part because tion problem at his present institution: of advantages gained by breaking NCAA regulaThe coach must abide by the following ruling tions before his arrival. until the major probation is lifted: The head coach can take part in the following: 1. His institution is not eligible to be voted on in 1. The coach is eligible to serve on the panel the USA Today/ESPN weekly football poll. that does the voting on the USA Today/ESPN 2. The coach is not eligible for AFCA Coach of weekly football poll. the Year honors, and his name will not appear on 2. The coach can serve on AFCA committees, such ballots. speak at the AFCA national convention and con3. The coach is not eligible to serve on the tribute to AFCA publications. panel that does the voting for the USA 3. The coach can take part in all-star games. Today/ESPN weekly football poll. 4. The coach cannot serve on any AFCA comIV. AFCA probation is not affected by mittee, speak at the AFCA national convention or delayed probation. contribute to any AFCA publication. If an institution cannot take part in televised 5. The coach cannot take part in any all-star games, but gets its television penalties delayed a games. year because of a previous television commitment, there will not be a delay from the AFCA. It II. The coach that creates a “major” proba- is our feeling that a coach would be punished tion problem at his present institution and instead. Therefore, the AFCA will have the televimoves to another institution which is clear of sion penalty go along with the probation period. that status: The restrictions listed in Section I will follow the Failure to adhere to these standards shall coach to his new institution, with one exception. be grounds for probation, suspension or His new institution is eligible to be voted on in the expulsion from this organization. USA Today/ESPN weekly football poll.

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