Option Football Fundamentals

Mark Cannon

What is The Option?

‡ Simplest definition ± A play during which the offense observes the defense and modifies its attack appropriately.

Key Points
‡ Rules-governed. Improvisation = turnover ‡ Always outnumber defense at point of attack (POA.)
± 3 offensive players vs. 2 defenders, etc.

‡ Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
± Practice really does make perfect

‡ You¶ll never be consistently successful using the Option as a ³gimmick´ play

Option Realities
‡ Reading both the ³dive read´ and the ³pitch read´ on the same play opens up the offense for potential big plays as the defense will finds themselves short defenders at the point of attack. ‡ Using ³man´ or ³base´ blocking techniques eliminates most of the advantages of an option attack.

Where Does the Option Start? LT LG C RG RT .

Three Types of Option ‡ Dictated by Fullback path Veer/´G´ Dive Midline Dive Veer/´G´ LT LG C RG RT QB FB .

This is especially true for Quarterbacks and Offensive Linemen.Offensive Line ³Techniques´ 5 4 4i LT 3 2 1 LG Shade 0 C Shade 1 2 3 RG 4i 4 5 RT It is extremely valuable if all players can articulate how the defense is lining up. .

Terminology and Coaching Points .Offensive Line Basics.

5¶ ± 3¶ 3¶ ± 5¶ TE LT LG C RG RT TE .5¶ ± 3¶ 1.Offensive Line Splits ‡ The wider the better for running plays ± Wider splits create natural running lanes ‡ Tighten down slightly for passing plays 3¶ ± 5¶ 1.5¶ ± 3¶ 1.5¶ ± 3¶ 1.

I think this is an excellent practice.Offensive Line ³Techniques´ 5 4 4i LT 3 2 1 LG Shade 0 C Shade 1 2 3 RG 4i 4 5 RT Some coaches insist that linemen identify how they are being played prior to a play by calling out the number. . It makes in-game adjustments easy when the guard can tell you he is seeing a 1 and a 4i. for example.

the rule is: GAP. ³Who is most dangerous to this play?´ Then block him! .Offensive Line Rules ‡ For basic running plays. counters. ON. OVER ± GAP: Play side gap ± ON: Defensive lineman lined up anywhere from your inside shoulder to your outside shoulder. etc. powers. leads. ± OVER: Linebacker lined up from your inside shoulder to your outside shoulder ‡ Think.

Uncovered player should initiate contact. . allow covered player to control the defender and then release to backer.Offensive Line Blocking Calls Double-Teams Charlie George Tom C RG RT TE Double-tem block is employed to assist covered player in blocking his man.

If both are covered. then outside man crosses in front .Cardinal C RG RT C RG RT C RG RT Cardinal: Cross block between Center and Guard. man blocking down lineman crosses in front of inside man.Offensive Line Blocking Calls Cross Blocks . Generally.

Gray C RG RT C RG RT C RG RT Gray: Cross block between Guard and Tackle. If both are covered. then outside man crosses in front .Offensive Line Blocking Calls Cross Blocks . Generally. man blocking down lineman crosses in front of inside man.

Tan C RG RT TE C RG RT TE Tan: Cross block between Tackle and Tight End.Offensive Line Blocking Calls Cross Blocks . Generally. then outside man crosses in front . If both are covered. man blocking down lineman crosses in front of inside man.

Often used in short yardage or goal line situations for dive and sneak plays .Offensive Line Blocking Calls Gap Blocking .Apex TE LT LG C RG RT TE Apex: All linemen crash down into inside gaps and block forward.

Hinge C LG LT RG RT Play-action passes are designed to mimic the option look. guard and tackle fire out and are aggressive without going down field. The backside Guard and Tackle fire out one step very aggressive. To the play side. .Offensive Line Pass Blocking Play-Action . the center. Their defenders should be forced around the outside. but then hinge back to protect the QB¶s back side.

All linemen fire out one step aggressive. rather than a specific defender. but then stand their ground to protect the QB. slower developing pass routes. .Offensive Line Pass Blocking Drop-Back or Pocket Passing C LG LT RG RT Drop-back protection is designed for deeper. Blocking assignments are based on area.

Terminology and Coaching Points .Fullback Basics.

Fullback Paths Veer/´G´ Dive Midline Dive Veer/´G´ LT LG C RG RT QB FB .

Straight up the Center¶s back ‡ Dive.Option Targets ‡ Midline.Outside hip of the Guard ‡ Veer.Inside hip of the Tackle .

If you¶re not tackled. toughest player on the field. ‡ Stay on your track ± Do not bend your angle. etc. ‡ You are not a decoy. then you block someone (LB.) . ‡ Get through the hole quickly.Fullback Option Rules ‡ You are the nastiest. No one brings you down by himself. ‡ Don¶t pull the ball away from the QB. FS.

´ ‡ Keep moving.Tips to Good Fullback Play ‡ Use a stance with weight forward to allow for the quickest exit possible. ‡ Always have your inside elbow up when you are in the ³mesh. the QB will push the ball into your stomach if he wants you to keep it. ‡ Step straight to your target with your play side foot first. . it sells the option and keeps you quick. ‡ Stay low with your head up.

Terminology and Coaching Points .Half Back(s) Basics.

Halfback Option Rules
‡ Always, always, always maintain the proper pitch relationship with the QB
± 5 to 7 yards apart, slightly trailing the QB.

‡ Expect the ball at anytime.
± The pitch can come immediately after the dive mesh or ten yards down field. Be ready.

‡ Once you get the ball pitched to you, get to the corner.
± Cutting back inside will only get you tackled.

Tips to Good Halfback Play
‡ Use a balanced stance to allow for movement in any direction. ‡ Eliminate any false steps coming out of your stance.
± For many, a three-point stance helps eliminate this problem.

‡ Always run the option (or any variations) as if you know you are getting the ball. ‡ No one player should ever bring you down

Quarterback
Basics, Terminology and Coaching Points

Quarterback Option Rules
‡ Prior to the snap, quickly find your dive read.
± Look to both sides so you don¶t give it away.
‡ Besides, the other side may be the better choice. You never know if you don¶t look.

‡ Don¶t worry about the pitch read, he¶ll be there when you get there. ‡ Don¶t be afraid to change the play to the same play on the other side.

. ± After the mesh. find the end man on the line of scrimmage. cont. keep the ball.Quarterback Option Rules. Attack his inside shoulder to make him commit ASAP. ‡ If the play breaks down. ‡ Never bow or bend your angle down the line. turn up field and get what yardage you can ± Never pitch when outnumbered.

. ‡ Eliminate any false steps coming out from under center. ‡ Your footwork is key to success. ± With proper footwork. you¶ll be ready to pitch immediately upon clearing the mesh.Tips to Good Quarterback Play ‡ Study the option and know every assignment for every player on every play. ± Ask questions so you understand the concepts ‡ Use a balanced stance for quick movement in any direction. Don¶t let it get sloppy.

. etc. ‡ For 11 and 12 year-old teams. QBs under the age of 13 or 14 will not be able to effectively make the dive and pitch reads on the same play. leads. but keep it simple (dives. Use the formations. skip the option altogether. you are better off running 32/33 (for the dive) and 36/37 (for the outside option.) ‡ For all ages ± quicker offensive linemen are more important than bigger linemen. 9 and 10-year old teams.) ‡ For 8.When to Implement the Option ‡ Typically. Don¶t be fooled by size.

Shade or 0. 1. ± On Veer or G option.Running the Option ‡ First Step ± Identify your two basic reads ‡ Dive read: First defensive lineman lined up in a ³3´ technique or wider ± Linemen inside a ³3´ technique are blocked or ³washed down. the read shifts to ³4´ or wider.´ » Note: Midline Option is generally not run against a play side 2. ‡ Pitch read: End man on the Line of Scrimmage (LOS) .

Dive/Midline Read Identification Rule: First DL in a ³3´ or wider C RG RT C RG RT C RG RT .

G (Veer) Read Identification Rule: First DL in a ³4´ or wider C RG RT C RG RT C RG RT .

± The OLB/SS is the pitch read C RG RT C RG RT C RG RT = Dive read = Pitch read .Pitch Read Identification Rule: End Man on LOS ‡ Exception: When EMLOS is ³Dive´ read.

Sample Option Plays vs. Defenses .

4-3 variant F Cardinal or Charlie LB C DE WR RT NG LG C QB Backside Cut block FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL LB LB S C .Midline Option vs.

Dive Option vs. 4-3 variant F Charlie (if necessary) LB C DE WR RT NG LG C QB FB Backside Cut blocks HB DT RG RT DE TE FL LB LB S C .

4-3 variant F Tan Charlie (if necessary) LB C DE WR RT NG LG C QB Backside Cut block FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL LB LB C S .Veer or ³G´ Option vs.

Midline Option vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB DT RG RT DE TE FL Backside Cut block FB HB .

Full Playbook .

Formations .

I-Right WR RT LG C QB FB HB RG RT TE FL I-Left TE FL RT LG C QB FB HB RG RT WR .

Slot Right TE RT LG C QB FB HB RG RT FL WR Slot Left WR FL RT LG C QB FB HB RG RT TE .

Tiger Right TE RT LG C QB FB HB RG RT TE FL Tiger Left TE FL RT LG C QB FB HB RG RT TE .

Tight Trips Right TE RT LG C QB FB RG RT HB FL WR Tight Trips Left WR FL HB RT LG C QB FB RG RT TE .

Trips Right WR RT LG C QB FB RG RT HB FL WR Trips Left WR FL HB RT LG C QB FB RG RT WR .

Ace WR HB RT LG C QB FB RG RT HB WR Twins WR FL RT LG C QB FB RG RT FL WR .

Five Wides Right WR FB RT LG C QB RG RT HB FL WR Five Wides Left WR FL HB RT LG C QB RG RT FB WR .

Blue I-Right (Brown/Blue = Shotgun variation) WR RT LG C RG RT TE FL QB FB HB Brown Slot Left WR FL RT LG C RG RT TE HB QB FB Brown = Shotgun. FB on the right side. FB on the left side. HB opposite or in appropriate position for the formation . HB opposite or in appropriate position for the formation Blue = Shotgun.

30 Series ± Option Plays 40 Series ± Play-action right 50 Series ± Play-action left 60 Series ± Drop-back passes . Leads. etc.Offensive Numbering System ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ 10 Series ± Misdirection and Counters 20 Series ± Powers.

Running Play Names ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ 10/11 Trap 12/13 Counter 14/15 Counter-Trap 16/17 Counter-Option 18/19 Counter-Reverse 20/21 Iso 22/23 Lead 24/25 Blast 26/27 Power 28/29 Sweep ‡ 30/31 Midline Option ‡ 32/33 Dive (Predetermined give) ‡ 34/35 Dive Option ‡ 34-G/35-G Veer Option ‡ 36/37 QB Option (Predetermined outside option) ‡ 38/39 Speed Option .

10 Trap vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

11 Trap vs. 5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .12 Counter vs.

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .13 Counter vs.

14 Counter-Trap vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE TE FL DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE WR .15 Counter-Trap vs.

16 Counter-Option vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE TE FL DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE WR .17 Counter-Option vs.

4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE TE FL RT DT LG C QB FB DT RG DE RT WR Tighten split down to 2 yards from TE HB Tighten split down to 5 yards from Tackle. Crack on OLB/DE .18 Counter-Reverse vs.

19 Counter-Reverse vs. Crack on OLB/DE HB Tighten split down to 2 yards from TE . 5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB RG DT RT DE TE FL Tighten split down to 5 yards from Tackle.

4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .22 Lead vs.

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE WR FL .23 Lead vs.

24 Blast vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE TE FL DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE WR .25 Blast vs.

26 Power vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE TE FL DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE WR .27 Power vs.

28 Sweep vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE TE FL DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE WR .29 Sweep vs.

30 Midline Option vs. 4-4 F C LB DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB S LB DT RG RT LB DE TE FL C .

31 Midline Option vs. 5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

32 Dive vs. 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB Flow C DE WR RT DT LG C QB DT RG RT DE TE FL Backside Cut block FB HB .

33 Dive vs. 5-3 F C Flow C LB LB LB DE TE FL DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE WR Backside Cut Block .

34 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

35 5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

36 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

37 5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

38 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

39 4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

4-4 F C LB LB LB LB C DE WR RT DT LG C QB FB HB DT RG RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

5-3 F C LB LB LB C DE WR DT RT LG NG C QB FB HB RG DT RT DE TE FL .

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