n behalf of the University of Colorado, Head Coach Gary Barnett, and our entire offensive staff, it is a honor to contribute

to this year’s AFCA Summer Manual. We hope you will find the following article to be beneficial. Facts About Y Stick One of our offensive staples is our inside three step passing game. In our offense, the play call is Y Stick. The Stick play has been one of our most consistent and efficient plays. In the 2001 season, we attempted Stick 29 times completing twenty-four for 83 percent completion rate. We use Y Stick on all down and distance situations including both normal downs (First & 10, 2 & 4/6), and obvious downs (2 & 7+, 3 & 3/6). The Y Stick play is also a part of our red zone offense (+20 and in). Therefore, it has a universal effect on our offense. We run the Stick concept from multiple personnel groups, formations and motions. The final advantage of the Y Stick are the vast concept variations that can come from the base concept with only a protection or tag change up. By nature, the Stick concept is designed to be a very high percentage pass play. It is a half ball read that attacks the defensive under coverage with horizontal bracketing. The passing clock is quick (three and firm), which both attacks the perimeter with speed and aids protection. The Stick concept is also an all-purpose play, meaning it works versus all types of coverage including both man and zone. It also holds up very well versus defensive pressure.


Diagram 1: Strong Right Y Stick

age is to protect the flat route and pull the half field safety deep. Versus any cushion corner technique he must stem inside to get outside separation and run to establish vertical stretch on the playside deep coverage. No. 1 playside should also understand he is the alert. The alert in all of our pass concepts is the potential deep ball based upon either coverage technique or coverage concept. The quarterback has the green light to take the alert any time the situation arises over his primary read. Versus bump or press coverage with middle open man coverage (C-0) or middle closed man coverage (C-1), the receiver must create a win with his release, route technique and separation. We want our Quarterback to take the challenge versus one on one with no safety help. No. 2 to playside is the Y (tight end). On the snap of the football, the tight end must wall off the C gap. We allow him to take the best possible release predicated by the defensive player aligned on him. On the release, the tight end must get vertical to wall of the C gap. By walling off the C gap, the tight end creates outside leverage on the inside linebacker and inside leverage on the outside linebacker. The tight end should run his route six yards deep. At six yards, the tight end uses a rollover speed break to gain separation off the inside linebacker. If the tight end gets a zone drop from the inside linebacker, he will separate and settle in the seam between defenders. If the tight end gets a man drop from the inside linebacker, he will separate and run away. Another key coaching point is to get the tight end’s head and eyes back to the quarterback because of the three step drop.

Inside Three-Step Passing Game — Y Stick

Shawn Watson Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterback Coach University of Colorado Boulder, Colo.

Diagram 2: Pro Strong Right Zone Adjustment Y Stick

The Concept The offensive formation is used to set the horizontal stretch on the defense. The outside receiver to the field or strength (2) takes a wide split (16 yards). The outside receiver to the boundary or weakside takes a normal split (6-8 yards). On the snap of the ball, the number one receiver playside Z (flanker) runs a go route. He must take an outside release. We call this release a protection release. His job versus two-deep jam cover-

Diagram 3: Pro Strong Right Man Adjustment Y Stick

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •

No. 3 to the playside is the flat route. The flat control is run by the formation adjuster. In our base example it is the fullback. It is important that the flat route stay flat. We emphasize width over depth because this creates outside leverage on the outside backer which spaces our bracketing on the zone movement key and creates leverage on man coverage. The flat route receiver must get his head around quick. Not only is he No. 1 in the quarterback’s progression, but he also acts as the hot receiver in our strongside scat protection.

depth and width to create leverage on the weakside under coverage.

Diagram 7: Pro Strong Right Check Wide

Diagram 4: Pro Strong Right Flat Route

No. 1 backside is the X (split end). On the snap of the ball, the split end inside releases working inside toward the ball. The split end must cross the face off the first inside linebacker weak and leverage the inside shoulder of the playside linebacker. If the inside linebackers are zone droppers, the split end must zone adjust by sitting down with his numbers to the quarterback. If the inside linebackers move laterally in a man drop technique, the receiver pushes into the defender and strikes away.

Our quarterback has five basic coaching points on every pass concept. The coaching points are designed to give our quarterbacks a knowledge of our entire offense. We have found by concept teaching with multiple variations this kept things simple and sound for the quarterback allowing him to be the decision maker. The quarterback’s five coaching points are as follows: Concept Package: Half ball horizontal read - Read outside/in Passing Clock: Three and firm Zone Movement Key: Playside curl-flat defender Progression: (Alert) – Go vs. 1/1/ Bump technique (Primary) – Flat/Stick (Check down) – Spot Protection Rule: 1 or 2 = Hot (Flat route)

Next, we want our quarterback to check his alert route: is the one-on-one challenge available. Versus a man shell with no one on one challenge, the quarterback should anticipate throwing hot and react to his hot key. Versus no hot read, the quarterback simply plays his progression Flat, Stick to Spot. Versus zone shell, the quarterback comes to the line of scrimmage, identifies his zone movement key by defensive structure and makes him wrong with timing and the receiver’s spacing. Below are simple illustration of the quarterback’s reads. The zone movement key is identified with a square. As mentioned earlier, one of the great benefits of the Stick concept is its multiplicity. We will run stick from all of our personnel groups by using multiple formations and motions to change up the look. The only thing that stops you is your creativity. Below are just a few of our Stick variations by personnel group.

Diagram 11: U Strong Right Y Stick

Diagram 8: Pro Strong Right Y Stick vs. Cover 44

Diagram 12: Tiger Solo Right U Right Y Stick

Diagram 5: Pro Strong Right Zone Adjustment Strike

Diagram 9: Pro Strong Right Y Stick vs. Cover 44

Diagram 13: Zebra Far Wing Right Zebra Right Y Stick

Diagram 6: Pro Strong Right Man Adjustment Strike

Diagram 10: Pro Strong Right Y Stick vs. Cover 44

Diagram 14: Zebra Trey Right Zebra Return Y Stick

No. 2 toward the backside is the tailback. The tailback is the check releases back in our scat protection. The back checks his protection key and runs a wide swing route. He must gain both depth and width on his route. We emphasize both

The quarterback begins by identifying the defensive alignment: is it a man or zone shell.

• AFCA Summer Manual — 2002 •