Ken James Northwood High School kenjames@northwood.k12.oh.


Two crucial elements in installing any program: Staff organization-be sure coaches know their roles, responsibilities
Drill notebook-be sure coaches at all levels know how to teach the fundamentals that you want them to teach.

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Any good offense must be able to run the ball. The option allows you to gain yards on the ground again a superior opponent. It can be incorporated into any offense or run out of any formation (Shotgun, I, Double Slot, or Wishbone). It allows for simplicity and repetition. It allows your athletes to win for you. It is easy to sell to your players because they see big plays on film.

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It uses defenses natural aggressiveness against them; they must learn the opposite of what they’re being taught. It’s great on the goal line (QB gets lost). It sets up other players in your offense: counter, boot, reverse, option pass. It is not a turnover offense if QB and RBs are trained properly (call for the ball). It creates problems for man coverage. There is no perimeter run support.

You must have answers for anything the defense can throw at you.
◦ Example Answer Sheet:
 Man Coverage:
 Bunch, in formations  200 (7 cuts); 200 Fade Stick  Crack on wide running plays

 Cover 3:
 Run away from formation  5 cuts, 43 routes, 81, 17 flood routes

You must be flexible – the ability to change plays is essential. Make your QB check plays early in the week. You must be able to attack where the number advantage is. The QB is key-point guard-every school has one. If not, you won’t be any good anyway. The QB must be able to:
◦ Make good decisions, ◦ Handle pressure, and ◦ Accelerate off the mesh point.

You must run into the LOS – toughest thing to do is keep QB from looking at the dive back. Good defenses will try to dictate who gets the ball or confuse the QB. Have different blocking schemes or formations available to allow your playmakers to carry the ball.

◦ Load block the DE so QB can get the ball on the perimeter. (This also helps QB stay healthy)

Between the tackles – go where you have a dent in the defense. Example:
◦ Inside Veer

On the perimeter – go where you have a number advantage. Be sure blockers are in an advantageous position. Example:

Whoever does not get the ball must carry out fakes past the LOS so the defense has no idea where the ball is. You must be able to run midline, inside and outside veer. The defense can take one away, but they can’t take them all away. You must be willing to throw play action passes; this puts the secondary in a bind and slows down run support. You must learn to create interior space with line splits.

Blocking Rules
◦ Hole Numbering and Line Splits

1. Center-guard splits are 2-3 feet

2. Guard-tackle splits will be 2-4 feet

3. Tackle-TE split will also be 2-4 feet. 4. Splits will vary based on the defense we are facing. 5. Split ends will also vary splits according to the play we are running and our position on the field. 6. The fullback will line up with his feet at a depth of 4.5 yards. (In the shotgun, the fullback will be 5.5 yards deep behind the guard; the QB will be 4.5 yards deep.) 7. The halfbacks will line up one yard outside and one yard behind our offensive tackles. If we are in a tight formation, they will line up one yard behind and one yard outside the Tight End.

8. In a wishbone formation, the halfbacks will line up behind the guards at a depth of 5.5 yards. 9. In an “I” formation, the TB will line up at a depth of 6.5 yards. Play Calling 1. Each running play has a two-digit number. 2. The first number describes the backfield action or play series. 3. The second number tells the hole to be run. (Exceptions will occur on option plays.)

Line Splits
◦ Widen if covered by a Down Lineman on your outside shoulder ◦ Tighten if uncovered

Offensive Line Play
◦ Area Blocking:
 We do not block specific people. Each lineman is assigned to block the defender in his particular area. Defensive stunts will have no effect on our blocking assignments. If there is ever any doubt as to who to block, just remember In-On-Off (man inside, man over, man outside).

This creates running lanes without having to move anyone.

◦ Numbering of areas:
 Each area will be given a specific number. However, the definition of these areas will shift depending on the point of attack.  0-1 hole plays

 2-3 hole plays

 4, 5, 6 & 7 hole plays

 8-9 hole plays

Perimeter Blocking schemes
◦ Option Blocking Schemes
 Load
1. FSH blocks FSDE. 2. FS wide receiver blocks secondary force.
Example: 10 Load

 Seal 1. FSH blocks primary force. 2. FS wide receiver seals FSLB. If FSLB is taken, work up to free safety. Example: 13 Seal

 Arc: This is the standard blocking scheme for all inside veer midline, and trap option plays. 1. FSH blocks primary force. 2. FS wide receiver blocks secondary force. Example: 12 Arc

I Formation



Why different formations?
◦ It allows you to handle problems with different fronts. ◦ It also allows you to dictate coverage and put your players in a position to block or run pass routes more effectively.

Example: A 43 with 3 techniques creates a problem with the Inside Veer. You have two Options: run midline from under center or IS Veer from the gun. So you check to midline if you are under center; keep the IS Veer if you are in the gun.

This is the base play of our offense. Play action passes and counters all operate off of this play. We begin our game plan each week by finding a way to run this play. We’ll use motion or formation adjustments to give us a chance to run it. If it isn’t possible, we’ll move to midline or outside veer.

The direction we run it will typically be determined by the coverage we are getting, specifically, can we block the primary force. Whether we run midline, IS or OS Veer is usually determined by the front we see. Ultimately, it all boils down to a numbers game. For example, if the coverage is balanced, we run to our strength. If the coverage has rotated to our formation strength, we run weak

From the gun, it is difficult for LBs to read the play properly. It could hit backside because the RB is starting on the guard’s outside shoulder and attacking FS A gap.

Coaching point: If the dive back sees an opening in the frontside or backside A gap, he hits it at full speed with his pads down. If not, he bends out behind the frontside tackle’s block.

Must be run from under center, but from a variety of backfield alignments. Splits are crucial. Go as wide as you can and still get to the Inside LB We run it a bit differently in that we have our tackle wall the playside LB just like he would on the inside veer. It is more simple for our tackles and allows us to double the playside LB against a 44 front. If we want the QB to keep it, we’ll call “Out” and the FST will pass set on the DE. BST must protect QB’s back

It is also crucial that the FB stay on the midline until he penetrates the LOS. If he doesn’t, he’ll bend out into the defender assigned to tackle him. Examples: I Formation

Double Slot


Like midline, must be run from under center. Can also be run with a load block from the wishbone. Great in short yardage because it is a safe, quick-hitting play with two lead blockers

I Formation

Double Slot


I Formation



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